Canada Soccer - 10 Points & a Final Request
Dear Canada Soccer Board of Directors,
Ten days prior to Xmas of 2018 I requested Bobby Lenarduzzi make contact with you to see if there was an opportunity for the associations legal counsel to engage with The Toronto Star on my behalf to offer settlement of a defamation dispute.
I was attempting and hoping I would not have to spend Xmas 2018 on the street.
Bobby's reply was that he couldn't get to any reasonable juncture in the short conversation with Canada Soccer's Executive that would warrant delivery of the request/proposal.
I appreciate Bobby's efforts on my behalf and his tactful handling of the matter. He did suggest based on the associations turbulent reaction to the name Paul J James that perhaps I write something positive.
After initial reluctance considering the injustice circumstances I am presented, here are, irrespective of that fact, Ten Points which are fair, accurate and in my opinion fully deserved:
1. Accessing the 2026 FIFA World Cup Rights through cooperation with others was an impressive (brilliant), strategic, visionary move which will be difficult for anyone - in the short term - to fully appreciate its significance. It was a watershed moment upon which Canadian soccer will never look back. Canada Soccer, as an organization, should be immensely proud.
2. The implementation of the Canadian Premier League; the Canada Cup; and the lobbying support of three Canadian Major League Soccer franchises over the last 15 years has changed the professional infrastructure of Canadian soccer at a level which gives millions of young players hope into the future; it puts Canada's legitimate footprint of credibility on the global football map and it satiates an ever growing fan base for domestic football credibility. There has been a professional development paradigm shift as a consequence when compared to pre-2007 which bodes well for the future.
3. The hiring of John Herdman was a positive, gutsy move going against general wisdom and initial public appeal. Canada Soccer cemented skilled consistency at the technical level of the association . A good educated coach can shift seamlessly no matter the level, gender or age group one coaches. Even though it will be a test like no other for John Herdman, from what I have observed at a distance - his professionalism; attention to detail; ability to galvanize; media savvy and appeal - there is a legitimate chance Canada Soccer as an organization will finally succeed with the men's World Cup team.
4. Canadian Women's Program is still consistently competitive on a much tougher international landscape as women's football develops on a global level, exponentially. The memories most Canadian sport and soccer fans associate with, when it comes to Canadian soccer, most often, stem from the successes of the Canadian women's soccer program - a credit to Canada Soccer.
5. Stuart Neely. A Positive addition to Canada Soccer's employee staff. A few years back he handled a difficult circumstance with PJJ with rigour, class and dignity which I appreciated. His passion, commitment and sacrifice to staying in the game; developing himself at significant personal sacrifice is a credit to Stuart of which the association now shrewdly reap the benefit.
6. Ray Clark - a stalwart employee whom is owed a great debt of appreciation for the amount of skilled technical work, dedication, loyalty and pride he put into his Canada Soccer position for so many years. The same can be said for others within the administrative HQ in Ottawa who are good people. Your judgment in keeping the personnel is admirable. Far too many focus on just about every aspect of football without giving a second thought to the administrative/planning side of the game. The populace take it for granted and forget that there are very talented hard working people behind the scenes who go unnoticed. But without them, the game would fall apart.
7. Canada Soccer's acquisitions and support of the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame and Canadian Soccer Alumni is a correct, positive move to engage many talented professionals who dedicated a significant segment of their lives to the nation through Canada Soccer. They are deserving of your support and I am sure they appreciate your efforts.
8. Christine Sinclair, an international soccer icon, is treated like one by Canada Soccer - as it should be and is to your full credit. She oozes class on and off the field and will be a wonderful addition in whatever capacity of the game she is desirous of, once she retires from playing. A global ambassador for women's football and Canada as a nation.
9. Rhian Wilkinson a positive, timely, correct move to hire a youthful female Canadian soccer coach at the national level. Foresight of her ability and passion for such a role was impressive. It is the destiny for a Canadian female coach to one day lead the Canadian women's program to a World Cup Championship - not a man! Looking out onto the horizon defines the move as clever and progressive.
10. Victor Montagliani's move to head CONCACAF as President and Vice President of FIFA highlights the positive political cache and intellect of Victor and Canada Soccer after such outrageous corruption within the global game. It puts Canada Soccer on the political influence map of world football. Canadian soccer fans should not underestimate the accomplishment and significance.
In addition to these Ten Points, irrespective of the negative outcome and my frustration, I do appreciate , as previously acknowledged, the time out Victor Montagliani, Peter Montopoli and Pat Santini took to visit me on two occasions when I was engaged on hunger strike social protests.
Canada Soccer interviewed Peyvand Mossavat for the U20 women's national youth team position. After providing a detailed reference letter for Peyvand - which could have so easily prejudiced his application - I appreciate the respect you showed.
Also, you should note, that my survival over the past two years through whatever subsistence, has in large part been possible due to the support of Canadian soccer alumni. As honoured and privileged as I was to represent Canada as a nation I feel equally honoured that in a time of such need of support the humanity of former Canadian soccer colleagues was a shining light.
Finally, please note, a subsequent, personal and direct letter will follow to you which will outline why the Paul J James matter is so important, with one final insistence that you respect, dignify and abide by my personal wishes to have my individual Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame status annulled.
Paul J James