Vancouver Whitecaps president and former Canada national team coach Bob Lenarduzzi is sick and tired of watching his country fail on the international stage.
The latest embarrassment was an 8-1 drubbing at the hands of Honduras, a defeat that dramatically and emphatically ended the Maple Leafs World Cup aspirations. Lenarduzzi believe it’s time for changes.
“In my opinion, we haven’t stopped to say what we’re doing isn’t working,” he told MLSSoccer.com. “From a [Canadian Soccer Association] perspective, perhaps what they could do is coordinate the stakeholders that have a role with the elite players to figure out how we can address the problem and give our best young players the opportunity at the best development they can have.”
There is a disconnect between the youth levels — up through the U-20s — and the senior side as players leave the game or simply don’t improve. The arrival of the Whitecaps along with Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact will help, but there needs to be more coordination between the clubs and the federation.
That said, changes take time and patience. You can’t create a wonderful national team overnight, no matter how many tweaks you make.
“I’ve heard it suggested that MLS is here now, so why aren’t we seeing a difference? Well, that’s naïve,” Lenarduzzi said. “Development requires patience and time, and if in eight years by 2022 we’re not seeing a distinct difference as a result of this, then it probably means we haven’t been doing a good job of developing players — but it won’t be for a lack of trying, that’s for sure.”
Hmm, sound like anywhere else in North America?