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Montreal Impact to officially announce MLS expansion Friday

This is the time when a columnist is supposed to coyly remind the reader he had it first.

This is the time when a columnist is supposed to coyly remind the reader he had it first.

The columnist code of ethics (of which there are none) dictates one should firmly remind the readers who broke the story, walk the readers through a tale of secret sources meetings and yet maintain a sense of decorum by not resorting to bragging.

When the Montreal Impact officially announces its expansion to MLS Friday morning, I won’t be shouting from the rooftops that I originally reported this deal in November. Instead, I’m going to sit back and smile as the Canadian soccer landscape expands.

This is a special time for those of us who grew up playing the game on rough, worn pitches and watching our teams on illegal Internet feeds. We’re now witnessing wholesale changes to the Canadian game in the blink of an eye.

It’s staggering when you look back at what’s happened in just five years.

Canada now has three professional soccer franchises. Games are televised on national networks and there is more mainstream print coverage than any of us could have ever imagined.

Toronto FC has become the talk of the city. Hockey-crazed Montreal put 50,000 plus people in Olympic stadium for a soccer game in February. And Vancouver, already established as a North American leader for its deep-rooted soccer system, is on the cusp of becoming world-class when the renovation of B.C. Place and a national training centre are completed next year.

But the game isn’t mainstream just yet. Wednesday night, unannounced, a few hundred stranded footie fans gathered electronically, squinting and straining to watch an Internet feed of the Nutrilite Voyageurs Cup game between Montreal and Vancouver.

Far from professional — hell, far from unprofessional — this game was brought to you by a webcam and a microphone pointed at a flat screen TV.

It was gritty, it was ghetto, it was Canadian soccer.

As the saying goes, the revolution will not be televised. But make no mistake, by the time Montreal joins MLS in 2012, it will be.


– Watch Ben Rycroft on the It’s Called Football show every Sunday at www.metronews.ca;
ben.rycroft@metronews.ca.

 
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