Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Group C Preview/Predictions

Canada (Last year: 3rd in Group C) At this point I think we all know what to expect from Canada. They are a team that can compete with any team in the tournament and I would expect that to continue this year. Canada are usually known for their defending but last year they remedied their usual anemic offense, scoring the 5th most goals in the round robin. If Canada can put it all together I see know reason they can't go very deep into this tournament.

Eritrea (Last year: DNP) Another squad that have I no idea about. There seems to be a random African nation that pops up every year (Somalia, Sierra Leone etc.) and then disappears just as quickly. They usually don't offer much in terms of competition, unless its Sudan. I expect Eritrea to be closer to Djibouti than they are to Sudan. Maybe I'm wrong but we will see.

Jamaica (Last year: 3rd Overall) We all know I have a slight biased for Jamaican as I am 50% Jamaican. They finally managed to exceed expectations last year narrowly missing out on the final after losing to Poland in a shoot out. They have added Cesar Santamaria, Adam Rolfe, and Mitch Bauche but lost David Brown, Jonah Gardiokitis, Carson Mcdonald and myself. If they hope to improve on last years placing they will need to find a much more balanced attack and continue the defensive form they were in. Should easily make it into the knockout stages though.

Northern Ireland (Last year: 5th in Group B) Northern Ireland ended up in what was debatably the toughest group last year and as a result posted only 3 point in the form of a win over South Korea. Unfortunately Adding slightly to that point total is about the best Northern Ireland can hope for this year. Unless they have some how picked up some much better players I see no way they get out of this group.

Norway (Last year: 5th in Group C) Despite finishing near the bottom of their group last year Norway actually exceeded my expectations. They kept their games against some of the top very tight and had they had a break or two go their way they easily could have finished higher. Though Norway's wave of confidence from their great win of 2007 may be diminishing they still are a team you have to take seriously. Mark them down as a team I could see throwing a wrench into this group.

Portugal (Tied for 4th in Group D) Finishing 4th in the weakest group last year doesn't vote well for your prospects going into this years tournament. Much like N. Ireland if they haven't made any substantial pickups it will be a short tournament for Portugal.

Mike's Predictions

1.Canada
2. Jamaica
3. Norway
4. Northern Ireland
5. Portugal
6. Eritrea

We all know Jamaica's kryptonite and that's Canada. I clearly expect that continue. Though I said Norway could throw a wrench into the playoff picture I don't expect it. I do think they are clearly the 3rd best team in the pool. Northern Ireland and Portugal are a toss up for me as I think they are very similar skill-wise. With Eritrea who knows what to expect.... obviously by my prediction I am not expecting much.

David's Predictions

1. Canada
2. Jamaica
3. Norway
4. Northern Ireland
5. Portugal
6. Eritrea

Canada - Canada are always all solid team and are expected to make it to playoffs every year. They are well organized and are a tough team to break down. I think Canada will go through the group stage undefeated.

Jamaica - After playing with them last year these guys have a lot of heart. If they defend how they did last year then I see them getting through this group. With the additions of Cesar and Rolfe I expect Jamaica to be a tough team to play against.

Norway - Norway had a tough year last year but I think they will bounce back this year. Norway are usually well organized and play hard every game. I expect Norway to give Jamaica & Canada tough games but I just don't think they have the goals in them to cause an upset.

Northern Ireland - Having played Northern Ireland last year I don't see them being a factor in this group. Although I think they won't go through to the playoffs I think they will provide a challenge to some of the better teams in the group.

Portugal - An aging team that just won't be able to keep up with the teams in this group.

Eritrea - I know nothing about them but I don't expect much.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not a lot of insight offered by DB. Must be spending his time studying for KIN 122.

-Nate

Anonymous said...

This blog and this tournament have rapidly lost a lot of their appeal to me, and to many people in Regina. I remember when there was excitement surrounding the tournament and almost every game was a packed house. Fast forward to present day and you have bloated prices, a lack of new talent entering the tournament, whilst the majority of the existing talent degrades into mediocrity. My disappointment continues to mount and by the looks of the activity on this blog, and the disappearance of other blogs; I am not alone. This is a dying tournament. Enjoy the final few years while they last.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to take a moment to make a bold and accurate prediction:

Mathematical Leung will once again make a complete idiot of himself!

MathewLeung said...

hahah whatever you say annon 20:04, you are the champ!

Anonymous said...

Is he playing men's or women's this year?

Mike Collins said...

I completely agree that it would be great to see some new faces in the World Cup but unfortunately there is a real lack of talent in the youth in Regina. Not sure how you remedy that.

Anonymous said...

the last good age group for players was the 1990's. the group of players that were in that pool were very strong. after that there were sparks from each age group but nothing as good as that. since then talent in saskatchewan has gone downhill. hopefully something changes

Anonymous said...

The people in charge don't know enough and they think that they do. Quality coaches are leaving the game because of the politics and other similar factors. If Sean Riggs is coaching my child as one of the top coaches in this province, we have a problem. Nothing against Sean, as he volunteers his time to coach… but how can we expect to see results when an amateur/rec player is one of our top coaches and other provinces have much more experienced pedigree guiding their youth programs? Other coaches like Percy Hoff and Dwayne Head aren't that much better; and this may be my opinion but as well the results speak for themselves.

Anonymous said...

I can't agree more with what anon 19:16 mentioned. My son is 11 years old and has experienced a whole plethora of coaches at a young age. As a parent I can already tell you that of the 5 or 6 coaches that my son has had, only one of them had the potential to be a top pedigree coach (I am not going to name the coach as that is besides the fact). This young coach dedicated his time to not only teach my son good fundamentals, but also taught him the value of hard work and being a role model for other players. My son would come home after training sessions exhausted, but excited to go to the next session. These politics that anon 19:16 mentioned have ruin my child's experience with soccer. One of the aforementioned coaches, along with his associate coach, wanted to take over a quality team for their own ambitions. Since that change the quality of training has dropped considerable and my son is seriously considering not playing the game anymore. To make matters worse, the young coach with mounds of potential has lost all desire to coach and/or to be involved with the sport in this province.

It is a shame to see the youth players robbed of these opportunities due to the selfishness and greed of some of these senior coaches. Yet that is the situation that Saskatchewan soccer is facing and I am not surprised of the lack of talent present within the youth ranks. I am not saying that I can do a better job then the coaches that are currently present in the system; what I am saying is that this politics that exist need to be control in order to give the children of this province the chance to develop properly.

Anonymous said...

Answer: clone Holness so he can coach all teams

By miles the best coach I've ever had. Knowledgeable, experienced, a role model, has bin dur dun dat, cool dude, makes it fun to work hard, and I think the quality I noticed most in him is that I felt bad when I screwed up. Not because he rammed our mistakes down our throats or anything, but because he was someone I hated to disappoint. It felt like the equivalent of disappointing my grandma. Our whole team wanted to play well just to impress Kevin, because impressing the guy feels so rewarding.

However, it feels like he has to divide his time amongst too much to actually make a big enough impact. Therefore, the answer = clone Holness

Anonymous said...

The comments about weak coaching in Sask are wrong and misguided. I agree that the level of soccer has dropped for the older ages but if any of you have coached or watched the U10/U12/U14 ages and coached these ages would know that there is terrific talent there and fantastic soccer. So why doesn't that continue to older age groups? There is no one easy answer. Maybe coaching plays a small part but in my mind the most significant is lack of commitment by players. Older kids have so many other things to do and choose to do it rather than playing soccer. The lack of U16 and especially U18 teams is shocking. If you have ever tried organizing a team of this age you woul know what I'm talking about.

And for those of you who say there is no good coaching in Sask and criticize Percy and Riggs, man you must live in a bubble. I hate to break it to you but there are a lot of excellent coaches out there not named Kevin Holness and I'm sure he would be the first to agree.

Anonymous said...

Sask partially sucks due to the player pool. I remember when we went down to Portland, the state teams from California had something like a thousand of players to select from. I remember having a max of 40 players at tryouts when I was on the Sask teams.

Absolutely crap numbers here, so the odds of having talented youth players, or solid teams as a whole, is very low. Attribute the lack of numbers to what you will, but a lack of numbers is a main reason as to why we continue to suck.

Anonymous said...

The numbers argument is a relevant one, yet if you develop a group of 12-18 kids from the age of 10 till 18 you would be able to have 12-18 quality players. If you encourage these players to give back and coach, and encourage that they follow a similar format.... then you have maybe doubled or even tripled the quality talent available. Yet this is a process that takes time and no one has dedicated the type of time needed to be successful, and some who are willing to put that time in are discouraged by the aforementioned coaches.

Reality is that there are a few coaches that understand the demands needed to develop talent the way it needs to be developed for this sport. Are there good coaches who make a solid effort to give back to the kids? Yes there are. The question now lies if they have the experience and know how to develop top level talent. Many coaches learn from books and have never experienced the game first hand, or have never experienced the game outside of Canada... let alone Saskatchewan. Many of these coaches have less skills then the players that as the player matures they lose interest because they aren't being challenged and as a teenager they feel they know it all. Many coaches in this province, and many players with the exception of a few, lack outstanding technical skills. They lack the trickery and creativity that is dominate on YouTube today, therefore the kids don't value the coaches as much as they value their YouTube videos.

Create a challenging environment with a long term goal, and there is no doubt that you could keep a group of kids together from 10 till 18. Provide the kids with opportunities to achieve something and the kids will find enjoyment and drive to continue in the sport. Forget about winning city titles or going to nationals, have a goal to help develop these kids so they have an opportunity to have their post-education paid for or so that they may earn a spot in academies in Edmonton, Vancouver, or Toronto... and then more success will be present in this province.

The game has evolved and will continue to evolve. Young players today want to be skilled like Ronaldinho and athletic like Ronaldo. Many coaches and players past their teens don't have a concept of the new skills present in the game today.. that for the most part, there is a gap present between player and coaches. If you want there to be success within youth players in the future... go coach, but before you coach; learn new skills, learn new training methods and relate with the new generation of soccer players so that they may be challenged to be the best they can be.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the essay dwayne

Anonymous said...

I thought this was a wcp blog, correct me if I'm wrong?

Anonymous said...

Guess this blog may as well shut down do to all the other brilliant WCP related comments. Correct me if I am wrong.

Anonymous said...

Cool

Pele said...

Anonymous 19:25 you are one of those people that make everything look negative. You are already calling it quits on an event that has last 10 years. Bloated prices?

Anonymous said...

Entry fee for fans is ridiculous. I don't think it is worth having to pay such a hefty fee to watch useless talent compete. 85% of the players out there do not deserve to be playing in a competitive tournament. Look at the idiots from team Scotland who come on here and boast that they are good. Where are they during the indoor leagues? Where are they in tournaments in Regina and Saskatoon?

It is cheaper to go watch the Huskie's play vs other young talent from Western Canada that it is to watch fat slobs who think they are a lot better then they are.

Anonymous said...

no one is making you watch this tournament, if you live in Regina and drive up to Saskatoon, you already lost more money(gas/food) than watching a game (WCP), if you live in Saskatoon great, good dont come down to Regina, no one is forcing you to come down.

Anonymous said...

I think there is way too much focus on winning and not enough on actual player development. As someone heavily involved in the youth side of the game all too often I see a lot of the kick and chase game. Whether it's a team tactic to play the ball to a target man or otherwise even at the U14 Premier level most of these kids don't have the skill level to properly play a ball to a target man, or have the skill level to be a target man (just using that as an example...few of our players can play a quality possession game, or have a solid shooting game either). Teams tactics fall into the North American style of all sports....forget technical ability and get get the biggest/fastest kids and get the ball to them to use their natural ability to win games. We play FAR too many meaningless games in Regina with so many pointless tournaments where we just keep playing the same bad teams over and over again. Ask most coaches or player in regina how their game went and they will almost all just tell you the score and absolutely nothing about the game.

The lack of commitment to the game by players (or their parents) is also a huge factor at all ages. Far too many of our players don't see soccer as a number one sport so they bounce around between hockey, basketball and soccer in the winters and baseball, soccer and football in the summers. Anyone that believes a player can become a true quality player from one 60 minute practice a week is delusional.

We need a huge shift in the way soccer in this province is run. At the provincial level we are getting better...our younger provincial teams are closing the gap against the other provinces, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to get to a quality standard. I'd love to see our youth system move more towards an academy style and turf the league all together. The RSA is in a pretty bad spot right now and it's only going to get worse, so why not try to find some new solutions rather than the same old same old that has never worked? Change has to come from the top and that is not happening for the board level right now.

"The problem is, in England (and many other countries), you teach the children how to win. In Spain we teach the children how to play the game." Jose Mourinho

Anonymous said...

Change has to come, I really believe you are right.

I do have to argue with the fact that the provincial program has closed the gap as a strong argument. The only reason the gap seems to have closed is because other provinces now enter two teams per province rather than one. For the younger age groups you have BC North/South, Alberta North/South; this make it easier for SK teams to compete as now they are playing vs Team Edmonton and Team Calgary instead of Team Alberta. Look further into the provincial program and now you see the true telling facts of the lack of development that has happened in this province. No longer does Team SK compete at All-Star nationals, rather Team SKToba. What is interesting is that out of 18 players who represent this team, only 3 or 4 are out of SK. Manitoba used to be a guaranteed win for SK, now the development of Manitoba players has greatly surpassed SK.

Continue to look at SK's lack of development is the results from Club nationals at the younger age groups (U14, U16). 7th - 9th is where the club teams fall, where in previous generations 5th-7th was a typical result. U18 Club nationals are a wash as other provinces top players no longer commit to club soccer at those stages and they focus on playing at the collegiate level, academies or higher.

So yes, change needs to happen and it needs to be a full out revitalization of the program. Clean house, get rid of everyone involved and start fresh… even if that means having to pay for outside coaches and directors to bring change to the province.

Anonymous said...

To all you people going on and on about player development and coaches ... you live in Saskatchewan. Get over it. Your kids aren't going to have the coaching you keep talking about. Stop your whining. Take your kids to some place where the focus is on soccer. Try Europe. You are in the wrong country. Get over it. End of story.

Anonymous said...

Anon 20:44; with the MLS progressing and the NASL expanding throughout Canada that provides players with an opportunity for soccer that wasn't available 10-15 years ago. More opportunities are being made for youth national team players as well. Get informed before you speak. People like you are the reason why the game in this province isn't progressing in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

More opportunities to suck. MLS blows. Lets go waste money on washed up EPL players who might have maybe 1 or 2 years left. Watch a screw up of a league. It's disgraceful. The quality of soccer in North America is shameful. Come talk to me when Canada qualifies for the World Cup Anon: 22:02.

Anonymous said...

I'm sick of the high entrance fees. I don't want to sit around and watch shitty soccer. Most of the games sicken me. No one wants to watch 10-1 score lines. Get it together. Might want to think about getting throw-ins back. Not this direct everything junk.

Anonymous said...

The most underrated player in this tournament is Mathew Leung. He is a great player. He is a classy individual with a lot of skill. People like him.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Sask Soccer has to realize there are strong players and programs outside of just Saskatoon and Regina and go out to the rural clubs and provide support and equal opportunity. You shouldn't to belong to an academy in Saskatoon to have a chance of making Team Sask.