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“Sky Is The Limit Now”

In the words of Peter Montopoli, General Secretary of Canada Soccer, “Sky is the limit now for the men’s national team”.

Peter Montopoli General Secretary, Canada Soccer

What did the sky look like in April 1985?

Skytracker would give you the answer, but the soccer sky looked bright and a trip to the 1986 World Cup was on the verge of being booked. It was also the last time that Canada beat the United States before Tuesday evening.

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Canada at the 1986 World Cup, photo: Dan Hamilton, courtesy of Canada Soccer

A new generation of players wearing the Maple Leaf were facing the Americans for the first time. Free of the weight of the past shortcomings of this program, they took it to Greg Berhalter’s team without fear, without an inferiority complex. The little brothers from the North played the way they wanted and pressed, fouled and attacked in a way we have rarely seen from a Canadian National Team. They played today’s soccer, today’s tactics and were successful.

Scott Arfeld and Mark-Anthony Kaye

Milan Borjan, veteran goalkeeper that has seen his fair share of disappointments with the national team over the last decade and keeps answering the call, was close to tears talking about the influx of energy, positivity and enthusiasm that John Herdman is bringing to the team. He mentioned that without Herdman, this would not be possible.

John Herdman (Canada Soccer)

Last summer, Herdman was criticized after the way the Gold Cup ended for Canada. The game management was the main point of contention. Against the USA Tuesday night at BMO Field, the ingredients were present for a disaster in the game management department with the early injury to Mark-Anthony Kaye and having to use a substitution at the 9th minute, but he didn’t panic. Sent Liam Fraser in, knowing the position-for-position substitution would favor continuity and not a reshaping of the team. The bold decision paid off. This game was a test, a rite of passage not only for the highly touted new generation of players, but also for their gaffer.

Test passed.

We can safely assume emotion and elation fueled Peter Montopoli’s comments after the game, but with a group and a staff growing, learning and winning together, maybe sky is the limit now for this program.

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