By RON FANFAIR
In her nine years with Canada’s senior soccer team, Trinidad & Tobago-born midfield player Candace Chapman has made just four – all friendly internationals – of her 85 appearances in the Greater Toronto Area where she was raised.
The 27-year-old Ajax resident is not alone in playing the majority of games in other countries or Canadian provinces.
Toronto-born defender Robin Gayle made her senior team debut in a friendly international against Italy at Centennial Stadium in June 2006. That was the last time she has played in her hometown in 38 appearances.
Should Chapman and Gayle be around when Canada hosts the World Cup in 2015, this scenario is unlikely to change.
The good news is that Canada – the only candidate after Zimbabwe withdrew from the contest because of its lack of infrastructure – has won the right to host the World Cup. The frustrating news for Toronto-based players, their supporters and fans of the sport here is that this city is not among the candidates to stage some of the 52 matches because the quadrennial tournament coincides with the Pan Am Games.
Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games chief executive officer Ian Troop said he has had several meetings with the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) since November 2010 when it welcomed participants to bid information sessions for potential World Cup host cities.
“We came to an agreement which allows both events to be successful,” said Troop. “We were told the desire was to have a national event and they did not need Toronto to win the bid.”
The bid cities are Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax and Moncton.
The CSA will work closely with these cities to prepare for the International Soccer Federation (FIFA)’s initial site inspection in the fall. The official host cities will be announced after the inspections and a thorough FIFA review.
By wining the right to stage the 2015 World Cup, Canada has also secured the Under-20 World Cup in 2014.
Previous World Cups held in Canada include the inaugural women’s Under-20 tournament in 2002, the Under-17 men’s tournament in 1987 and the Under-20 men’s World Cup four years ago.
Canada is among 16 teams preparing to take part in this year’s women World Cup in Germany from June 17 to July 2011. The tournament will be expanded in 2015 to include 24 participations and 20 additional matches.
The federal government, through Sport Canada’s Hosting Program, has committed up to $15 million in operating costs to the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015 and the Under-20 World Cup a year earlier.
“This successful bid would not have been possible without support from all levels of government and we wish to express our sincere appreciation for the role that they have played in our successful bid,” said CSA general secretary Peter Montopoli. “In particular, the Government of Canada has been a key partner from the onset of the bid process along with the respective provincial and municipal governments.”
FIFA has also awarded hosting rights for the men’s Under-20 World Cup to Turkey in 2013 and New Zealand two years later.
The men’s Under-17 World Cup will take place in the United Arab Emirates in 2013 and Chile in 2015 while Uzbekistan was chosen to host the women’s Under-20 World Cup in 2012 and Costa Rica the women’s Under-17 tournament in 2014.