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denime
05-23-2008, 11:56 AM
Knight: TFC Academy changes the game



Tonight, at Lamport Stadium in Toronto's west-end warehouse district, a team of talented local teens will take on a gritty, semi-pro soccer side from St. Catharines. And in the short hours of the long shadow of the UEFA Champions Cup final, why are we talking about this?
Because these teens play for the Toronto FC Academy, and this may be Canadian soccer's new way forward.
In a world where player development has been uneasily carved up between local clubs with limited finances and provincial rep teams facing huge geographical obstacles, things have become stuck. The utter wipe-out of Canada's finest youngsters at last summer's U-20 World Cup essentially confirmed the worst fears.
With several of those players under pro contracts with TFC, but all struggling to move up in the pro team's plans, waiting for the current system was never going to be an option.
So hammering out a deal with the Ontario Soccer Association Toronto's MLS side has rounded up some of the more promising prospects, yanked them out of the existing system, given them former Canadian internationals Nick Dasovic and Jason Bent, and turned them loose in the tough, semi-pro Canadian Soccer League.
Since the very day this blog began, I promised it would highlight crucial changes and re-builds of Canadian soccer. I've also predicted that the kind of money and power now held in TFC, as well as the USL-1 Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact, would never wait around for Canada's creaking soccer bureaucracy to heal itself.
So here we go. ...



Read more (http://www.reportonbusiness.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080523.WBsoccerblog20080523104034/WBStory/WBsoccerblog)