Friday, July 10, 2015

Red & White! (Getting ready for the Pan Am Games & Gold Cup)

The Men's & Women's U23 teams start their journey to Pan Am Gold this weekend. Our Senior Men's team is already one match into their march to reclaim the Gold Cup. With this many soccer players giving their all for the Red & White, I thought I would do my (very small) bit to help the cause; I found the lyrics to the long removed youtube video of the Womens' team's song Red & White. They recorded this video before the 2011 WWC in Germany. So to inspire Canada's footballers on to a Gold Cup triumph & two Pan Am Games gold medals, here are the lyrics:

Uh huh you know what it is, World Cup, Canada, handlin' their biz Uh huh singin anthems, captains meet, flip the coin, the match starts turn on your TV, on Sportsnet you will see Red and White, Red and White, Red and White, Red and White We play it hard from the whistle to the final minute Red and White, Red and White, Red and White, Red and White

Black V, red paint, the world scared of us, they might faint. Soon as I hit the pitch, Got on my game face Kick the ball once Make the score change Other teams pissed, the crowd's roarin We deserved the dub, you know we worked hard for it. And we wont settle till we medal. We work hard everyday, till we get that world title. All this hating, talk ratios 30-1, gotta prove em wrong Gonna get that job done. Back ache, sore legs, feet hurt But gotta make it all the way to Frankfurt.

Uh huh you know what it is, World Cup, Canada, handlin' their biz Uh huh our new home is Rome, Fast feet, Mario, hate that yo-yo Gotta hit 18 or the bench will be your new scene... On the bench, on the bench, on the bench, on the bench You'll hear our coach from the Catso's to the Ma Fanculos.. From the bench, from the bench, from the bench. from the bench (DIE CARM?!) Got a call from our head coach, The starting line-ups in Our team is tight cuz it's full of fiesty players.
One's babeless, she's a freak though, We dig her biceps, so we slipped her love notes. Got mama Rhi Rhi, wearing her shinnies Hope I'm on her team so she doesn't cleat me Got a body full of blue bruises, Jodi's got it covered with those dives she uses.

Uh huh you know what it is World cup, Canda, handlin' their biz Uh huh been everywhere son. Use that experience for momentum, From the outside a group of girls might be all you see Red and white But we are truly a tight knit family Red and white

This message is gonna be organic, at that 9 point one five mark, can't get close to you. And all I can do is think of food, Diet's clean, but it's super lean We want what we can't have. Ice cream, poutine, pancakes, milkshakes And that's that. Real rap If they let us eat what we wan't we'd get fat. Now back to the field, refocus, scratch that Explosion Give up Never Here we come Germany, France, Nigeria Red and White You'll be surprised by what's coming from Canada Uh huh you know what it is World cup, Canada, handlin' their biz Uh huh can u picture it? Podium, gold medal put around your neck Don't give up, play for the team, and results will be seen Red and white Give everything you've got and strive for that top spot Red and white

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Why make picks with your head anyway

The Women's World Cup starts today and I wanted to get some predictions out before the matches kick off. I went through the groups and did a quick analysis of the teams and made my predictions, then looking back over them realised that my head didn't play as much of a role as I thought it would when I started out.

Here are my predictions for the groups:

Group A
Canada - 7
Netherlands - 5
NZ - 4
China - 0

Group B
Germany - 9
Norway - 6
CDI - 3
Thailand - 0

Group C
Japan - 9
Cameroon - 4
Swizterland - 2
Ecuador - 1

Group D
Australia - 7
Nigeria - 5
Sweden - 4
USA - 0

Group E
Spain - 7
Korea - 7
Brasil - 3
Costa Rica - 0

Group F
France - 9
England - 6
Colombia - 1
Mexico - 1

Obviously Group D stands out, I do think that is the group of Death, but I think I am likely alone in people making predictions to have the USA on 0 points and not advancing even as a 3rd place side. 

For the Knockout Stages here is what I have for the round of 16

Netherlands defeating Cameroon
Australia defeating Brasil
Germany defeating NZ in Ottawa
France defeating Korea
Spain defeating Nigeria
Japan defeating CDI
England defeating Norway in Ottawa
Canada defeating Sweden

Such is the nature of knockout tournaments like this that any side which makes it hear could go on to win it all with a little luck. Now my head tells me that we will see a Germany - Japan final, this is what my head tells me even if my USA prediction is way off. However, when I was selecting the winner in these matches I went with my gut/heart and here is what I've got. 

Australia defeating Netherlands in Ottawa
Germany defeating France - This will be the match of the tournament in my mind, in terms of quality.
Japan defeating Spain
Canada defeating England

I think Canada could very easily lose this match, and believe it would still be a good tournament for us if we did.

Semi Finals 
Australia defeating Germany
Canada defeating Japan

Canada defeats Australia

So there you have it, I pick Canada to win it all on home soil over a superb Matildas side. 

Do I have it all right? Probably because I haven't put any money on it. That said I did start a Super Bru pool so test your knowledge of the outcome of each match and we will see just how smart/ridiculous my picks were. 

Here are the details for the Superbru pool:

Pool name: Pompey Canucks's WWC Pool 
Pool code: innsrids

If you want to laugh at my picks, I will be at all of the games in Ottawa or send me a tweet @pompeycanuck

Enjoy the tournament!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Finally a new Podcast

With Matt back from his holidays, along with overcoming some technical difficulties we have been able to record a new podcast. This time we discuss the Women's World Cup, the Copa America, and the Canadian Soccer League. We also have a special treat for you, an exclusive interview with Capital City FC captain Clint Irwin! If you are in the Windsor area make sure to attend The Subs Bench Derby on Saturday with Matt wearing his new Capital City shirt.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The NASL is Coming to Ottawa

The news that broke late last week is now official. The NASL has awarded a team to the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG). The yet to be named team will play at a redeveloped Lansdowne Park. They will join the league once the stadium is complete, likely in 2013 or 2014. The NASL currently has eight teams, and will stay at eight next season with San Antonio replacing Montreal, who are joining MLS. John Pugh, the owner of the Ottawa Fury and the newest member of OSEG, has been named the team's President.

I was able to attend this announcement and had a conversation with Mr. Pugh. He told me that there would be fan involvement in choosing the team's name and colours. He also spoke of his desire for Ottawa to have a supporter group similar to the Southsiders or the Red Patch Boys. He hoped the games would be fun and noisy. I asked him if he was going to move the Ottawa Fury Women's team to Lansdowne, and he said that was unlikely. He also said there are no plans to bid for a WPS (Women's Professional Soccer) team. During Mr. Pugh's statement to the press, he mentioned that Ottawa would be participating in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship, or as I prefer to call it, the Nutrilite Voyageurs' Cup. I asked him if he thought the NVC should be expanded to include teams in the CSL and other leagues across Canada. He said that is the way the FA Cup & US Open Cup are run and, though more logistically difficult, it is a great treat for fans and he wouldn't mind seeing something similar in Canada.

I also had the opportunity to talk with William Shenkman, another member of OSEG, who has previous football experience as he is part owner of Millwall in England. Shenkman talked about how Millwall came quite close to being relegated from League One in his first season at the club and of their later promotion to the Championship. I asked him if he thought a system of promotion & relegation would work in Canada & the United States. He replied that it wouldn't. He mentioned that clubs here, even established MLS ones, don't have the support to keep a club afloat if they were relegated. He mentioned that even in England some large clubs face a lot of problems if they are relegated and used Millwall's archrivals West Ham as an example. We discussed how difficult it would be for a league to lose a market like New York, LA, or Toronto through relegation. I also talked about expanding the NVC with Mr. Shenkman; he hopes it happens and would look forward to an Ottawa derby with Capital City FC. He told me he is glad there is another team in the city that is getting the community out to watch soccer. He said he doesn't think of Capital City as competition for the soccer dollar, more that both clubs are creating interest in local football and that will help everyone.

The final person I spoke with this morning was NASL Commissioner David Downs. We started by talking about stadiums. He thinks the redeveloped Lansdowne will be a great stadium, however he fears that its 24,000 capacity could be too big. He stated that somewhere between 5,000 & 15,000 seats was about right for the NASL. I asked him if he had a maximum number of teams that he would want to have in the NASL, in light of the MLS likely stopping at 20. He said that anywhere between 12 and 16 teams would be great, adding that eight is too few. Ottawa will be the ninth team when they join the league. He mentioned that the League is in talks with other cities, but wouldn't comment on who they are. He also said that it is important for his league to grow prudently. That said, he did expect there would be more growth now that the MLS is likely to add only one more side. The Commissioner said that everywhere there is a successful first tier there is also a successful second tier. He is confident that the NASL will be successful, as will a team in Ottawa.

Though I tend to share the Commissioner's fears about the 24,000 seat stadium being too large, I am excited to see what will happen next, and will be in the stands when Ottawa's newest professional team takes to the field. I should add that the City, OSEG, and CSA are in talks about having Ottawa as a host city for the 2014 U20 Women's World Cup and the 2015 Women's World Cup. Obviously, the redeveloped Lansdowne would host the matches. Hopefully the construction is finished before 2014 so we can have both NASL and the Women's u20 World Cup here in 2014.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Thoughts on Villa's manager search

Aston Villa's search for a new boss is a getting a little crazy. The news today was that Wigan boss Roberto Martinez opted to stay at Wigan rather than join Aston Villa, which it must be said is a blow to Villa and their fans. The plus side is that with the relegation of Birmingham, Wigan can step in to fill the rival void. So besides Martinez who haved Villa talked to or been linked with?

1. Rafa Benitez -I can not understand why they didn't hire him. He decided not to take the job after requesting a 30M pound transfer kitty, which was turned down by the owner. So a multiple champions league winner was passed over because he asked for 30M? Didn't Villa let Houllier spend 24M on Darren Bent? Last season Villa spent most of the season battling relegation to get into Europe this club is going to half to spend money. Especially since they are getting a rumoured 16M for the sale of Ashley Young to Manchester United. I think that Villa made a mistake by not hiring Rafa.

2. Steve McLaren - The former England, Boro, Twente, Wolfsburg boss was supposed to have an interview, but had it cancelled because of comments from fans. I think that Randy Lerner was right in cancelling the interview. It is important for the boss to get off on the right foot with fans, just ask Roy Hodgson. Also while he impressed at Boro & Twente he was a failure at England & Wolfsburg.

3. Mark Hughes - Hughes was strongly linked with the post, as he left his role at Fulham. Villa have said that they are not interested in Hughes. That said they can't talk to Hughes until the end of June. I don't think that Hughes is the right fit at Villa. He like Steve Bruce has switched clubs numerous times, just he has done it with less winning.

4. Carlo Ancelotti - The former Chelsea boss who has said that he would like to stay in England, has also said that he is planning to take a year off. Which if he means it would rule himself out of the Villa job.

So after passing on Rafa and being turned down by Martinez, who should Villa be interviewing next?

1. Louis van Gaal - I am surprised that the former Ajax, AZ, Barcelona, Bayern, & Netherlands coach has not been interviewed already I think that he would be a good fit at Villa and has been successful nearly everywhere he has gone.

2. Claudio Ranieri - His name was linked to vacancy, but that was the last I have heard of it. Like van Gaal I think that Ranieri would be a great fit at Villa park.

Both of these men are the sort of managers that would succeed at Villa and help them get where they want to go. I think that they should be the top two names on the short list now, and should have been right behind Rafa & Ancelotti in the first place.