Crawl Across the Ocean

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Importance of Perfect Pitch

I've been watching the U-20 world cup (No, I'm not going to talk about the Canadian 'performance', ugh.) and I have to say I was really impressed by the Spaniards who were playing in the group based in Vancouver. They scored (and allowed) a pile of goals playing exciting attacking soccer with a ton of skill. So it was really striking to see how much their game is being affected by trying to play soccer at Commonwealth stadium, where the ball never rolls flat for more than 5 yards at a time, and the turf seems very hard and tough to get a proper grip on.

I mean, sure, the Czechs are playing good defense, but you can see the impact of the poor surface on almost every sequence (unless you're a CBC soccer commentator of course. At least up to the point where I switched over to watching the game on Telelatino, (I can't speak Spanish but it's still a far more enjoyable experience, despite, or perhaps because of that) the CBC commentators treated every bad play caused by the lousy turf as some sort of inexplicable error).

It makes me wonder how much of Canada's inability to develop players who can pass the ball around and dribble and generally show good ball skills is a function of our players playing on terrible pitches all their lives, where you might as well as hoof it up because if you try to pass it will just get caught in the weeds or take some crazy bounce off the pitchers mound or a pile of gravel. True, the obvious counter-argument is that it's not as if the Latin American countries are filled with with pristine pitches, but I still can't help thinking this is a factor we could work on. I recall that, as a kid, we always played a much more skillful game on the rare occasions we were able to play on the town's one decent soccer pitch (built on a swamp so it wasn't rock hard like every other pitch in town).

Anyway, carry on.


  • I agree. Btw., I am very disappointed by Spain and the U.S.'s exit. Would you rather watch Austria/Czech or Spain/U.S.? As a fan it's a no brainer.

    By Blogger Greg, at 5:36 AM  

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