Is Canada Soccer's Final Frontier?

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With the FIFA World Cup expanding to 48 teams in 2026, the task of hosting the sporting festival has become a lot more difficult and, more importantly, too big for many nations to deal with on their own.

Thankfully though, as reported by cbc.ca, a united front between North & Central America means that a huge party will be coming to these shores in just over seven years, and the hope is that it gives the Canadian game a real shot in the arm. Canada is regularly a top-10 country in the Global Cup, Greatest Sporting Nation’s ranking of the world’s top sporting countries, and its best finish in the Football ranking in recent years was seventh in 2016.
 
You only have to look at the 1994 edition of the tournament for how it lit the blue touch paper in the United States, and although the likes of Romario in a Brazil shirt would have captured the imagination, there is no doubting the role that the newly created league played soon after.
One of the conditions of the USSF being granted the hosting rights 25 years ago was that a national competition subsequently followed, and with that requirement in place, Major League Soccer (MLS) was born.
 
Fast forward to the present day and now we are witnessing the birth of a new competition in Canada, one that goes by the name of the Canadian Premier League (CPL), and as reported by sportsnet.ca, many are asking whether or not this really is soccer’s final frontier.
 
When you consider that the Canadian men's national team has not appeared at the FIFA World Cup since 1986, to say they have been left in the wilderness of the international game is something of an understatement.
 
With no previous top tier to call their own, the likes of Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps have had to ply their trade south of the border, and as discussed at nytimes.com, in the case of the former, a 2017 MLS Cup victory signifies that they have quickly made themselves at home.
 However, success for Toronto FC is not necessarily celebrated by diehard fans across the country, and that is why the introduction of the CPL is deemed as vital, especially when it comes to growing the relatively small profile of the sport.
 
With previous attempts to kickstart Canadian soccer having failed, some will consider the launch of the CPL a huge gamble. However, new sports, sectors and markets have a habit of proving unexpectedly popular in Canada, with a prime example being the online gambling sector, where a massive surge in the number of online casinos at sites such as canadacasino.net occurred in a relatively short space of time.
 
At the same time, with just seven teams competing in its inaugural season, it shows that the approach to the launch has been modest, and the club owners are not looking to run before they can walk.
Like all nascent soccer leagues, this will not be an overnight success, and if there is to be real progress, it will be slow at first. At the same time, you only have to look at the US and the recent rapid growth of the MLS to see just how a long-term plan can finally pay off.
 
Even if progress is slow, it is a competition that Canada can be proud of. Not only that, but it will be the perfect breeding ground for the next generation of stars, and with the World Cup arriving in 2026, who knows what they’ll be able to achieve on the game’s biggest stage.