Jay DeMerit Journal: Canada has room for more Major League Soccer teams

In his latest entry for Goal.com, the Vancouver Whitecaps center back says that soccer is a bigger sport in Canada than in the United States.
Hey everyone,

A lot of people ask me whether or not soccer is bigger in the United States or Canada. Well, I think it's bigger in Canada than in the U.S., and it's still growing. Up north, there are fewer pro sports to follow, so Soccer is almost as big as hockey or the Canadian Football League.

I've been really impressed with the sheer amount of knowledge that the average Canadian fan has. A really good example is when Toronto FC came into the league, their fans were very passionate from the start and that's what the game needs to be successful. I've seen in Vancouver that fans really get behind the team with chants and supporters groups. They really support the game.

Canada has room for even more teams in my opinion. Montreal coming into the league this season and selling out 54,000 seats in its first game proves that. It's showing that North America - not just the U.S. - is a hotbed for soccer. I think one of the things that helps Canada is that many of these cities are European influenced. There's an international flavor in these cities, so the fans really know about the history of the game.

I think it's been great for Major League Soccer.

In Vancouver, while I'll admit that you never want to feel overwhelmed by the attention of the fans, you also want them to remain passionate. We have signs here and it isn't uncommon to be spotted in venues at Toronto.

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It's very different from New York, where there's nine pro sports teams. In Vancouver, we have the BC Lions, the Vancouver Canucks and the Whitecaps. There's still a lot of room for people to follow us. The Lions play in a different time of the year, so that means that we have a lot of focus on us. We're on billboards, TV ads and posters all over the city.

That bring me to the topic of Canada beating the U.S. under-23 team.

It's funny because we have Bryce Alderson and some youth players who play for the Canadian U-23s. We were all sitting around watching the game in the locker room before our game against D.C. We are seeing two of our Whitecaps going at our U.S. guys. I kind of laughed that both of my teammates are responsible for the demise of the Stars and Stripes. I have to be happy for those guys who have gone in and performed well.

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It is disappointing to see what happened with the U.S., which failed to qualify. Everyone knows that we should have made the London Olympics, but it shows that you can't take anyone for granted nowadays. Anyone can beat anyone. I think if anything it shows our senior team that we have to be ready for the World Cup qualifiers starting this summer. There aren't any easy games anymore. It just shows that the Canadian national team is getting better and that it'll be a force to be reckoned with in qualifying.

Keep on Rising and Shining,