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NSCAC January 2022 Newsletter: Canada vs USA - Find out why this is the biggest game ever!


Photos courtesy of Les Jones - Covershots Inc.



Anyone attending the US Soccer Coaching Convention next week in Kansas City (January 19-23) – Please make a point to stop by and see us on Friday morning at 8:00 AM in room CC 221.

At every convention, United Soccer Coaches provides a room for us at the Convention Centre for us to meet and get to know one another. We'll only be an hour so we can get to the 9:30am sessions so if you're at the convention, please drop in.


Photos courtesy of Les Jones - Covershots Inc.

Canada vs USA soccer game could be the biggest game ever played between these two countries in any men’s team sport!

By: John DeBenedictis - Executive Director of the NSCAC

Well, that’s a pretty big statement to make, isn’t it? An upcoming soccer game between two countries where soccer has not been considered a top three major sport, instantly becoming the biggest game ever to be played between Canada and the US?

Bigger than the Canada USA Baseball game? Yes, that famous game in 2015 where Canada beat the USA in extra innings to win the Olympic Gold medal. You don’t remember that game? It was so big that I don’t remember it either. I’m pretty sure the best players in the game were not represented. The losing pitcher for the USA was a guy named David Huff who won a grand total of 25 games in 8 major league seasons. Not exactly a superstar which is probably why that game was not “must watch TV”.

Or bigger than when Canada played the USA in American Football? Umm, did Canada ever play the USA in American Football? Who won if they did? By what rules? Hmm, nobody seems to know. Wait a minute, a couple of years ago Canada played the USA in an American football match at the AT&T stadium in Dallas for the U18 International Bowl which the USA won and nobody cared about. It was definitively not a sell out nor was there much television coverage for the game.

How about that great basketball match? If we’re talking about the game where Canada lost to the USA in the 1988 Olympics in the first round, no one remembers. And besides, the USA is 5-0 against Canada in Olympic men’s basketball. At the FIBA World Cup in 2007, the last time these two teams played each other, the USA beat Canada 113 to 63. Not exactly riveting TV. I doubt that those games were sold-out.

Bigger than the gold medal hockey game at the Vancouver Olympics? That was probably the biggest game between these two countries so far, where Sidney Crosby scored in overtime to win the gold medal for Canada. The whole country of Canada was watching and went nuts when Canada won. I’m not so sure most Americans were watching the game like Canadians were. As for the rest of the world? I’m sure there were some fans from the eight countries that actually play hockey and support it.

But this soccer game coming up on January 30th in Hamilton, is potentially on another level and here’s why, in my opinion.

Both teams have played 8 out 14 games in the final round of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup and Canada sits in first place in the group with 16 points and the USA is behind them in second at 15 points. Mexico and Panama are tied for 3rd at 14 points and the 5th place team is Costa Rica at 9 points, which indicates that they are practically out of it.

It’s a sellout for a game in the middle of friggin winter in Canada!

The top three go straight to the World Cup and the 4th place team has to play another round probably against New Zealand. If Canada can get 3 points by beating the USA, then they will be clear of them by 4 big points. Barring a total meltdown, I would say that the winner of that match would be guaranteed a top three finish because a lot of things would have to go against them for them not to make it.

So, in my books, it’s going to be the biggest international match between these two countries, especially Canada, because they have not made it to the World Cup since 1986. That’s 36 years.

What’s different about this game than any other game? Let’s start with the unbelievable interest in this game due to the fact that the game sold-out in less than 24 hours. Remember, this is a soccer game in Canada, not a hockey game. But the sell-out was not for a game in beautiful 30-degree weather, it’s a sellout for a game in the middle of friggin winter in Canada! Who knows, there may be a massive blizzard that day. And the game is being played in Hamilton. Not exactly a touristy destination in the best of times. Did I mention it’s being played outdoors? Not in a cozy domed stadium. Who would have ever thought that Canada would sell-out a winter soccer game that quickly?

Canada’s last game against Mexico in Edmonton in November brought in incredible TV ratings, even beating out a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game. That’s unheard of in Canada. This game is probably going to set some more records.

$10 million for making it to the group stage.

But the main reason that this is such a huge game for Canada is that if it makes it to the World Cup it will get $2 million dollars from FIFA to prepare for the World Cup and $10 million for making it to the group stage. Now that’s a pretty nice chunk of cash and why it’s such an important game. Sorry, match.

But on a world scale, the TV audience for their games at a World Cup will be bigger than any audience that their Olympic Gold Medal hockey game ever produced. In fact, it will dwarf that game. It’s possible that their three games in a World Cup group stage, may receive close to a billion viewers combined, depending on who they should play. That’s a big number. A BILLION, not a few million. That’s if they make it.

Am I getting ahead of myself? It’s not out of reality when you think of it. Canada can score goals. We scored the most goals of any team in the world up to this point in World Cup qualifying. You read that right. Any team in the World! Maybe we know something about scoring goals in soccer as well as hockey.

Given the enormity of the World Cup of Soccer, I’m sure you can understand why this game is instantly becoming the most important game ever played between Canada and the USA in any sport. If it can get us in a World Cup, the World’s largest sporting event, Canada will be on the map not just for hockey, curling, the Rocky Mountains, the CN Tower, and Niagara Falls, but it will truly join the elite in the World’s most popular sport!

Go Canada Go!

Thanks for reading,

John DeBenedictis



Behind the Bench


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