A North American league wrapped in stars and stripes


The history of Canadian football is permeated with geographical complexities, infrastructural failings, and a collective exasperation amongst native fans—but has a newly-established league put an end to decades of disillusionment? In this five-part series, Ryan Murray attempts to understand whether the Canadian Premier League is the vehicle that will help to awake a sleeping giant from its slumber, and re-address the balance of power across the North American footballing landscape. Legitimate hope or another false dawn? Let’s find out.
Artwork by Onkar Shirsekar

Read Part 1 here.

For decades, Canadian ‘soccer’ fans were left frustrated by the absence of a suitable top-tier native league, their exasperation compounded by the relative successes of their cousins across the 49th parallel. Although geographical proximity opened the door of opportunity for Canadian teams, most USA-based league projects—often operating under the guise of an all-encompassing ‘North American’ initiative—were not exactly receptive to cross-border participation.

For example, in spite of its title, the North American Soccer League (NASL) was chiefly a U.S-orientated endeavour. The league, inaugurated in 1967, contained an overwhelming majority of clubs from the United States (Canadian teams were ‘invited’ to compete, as opposed to being considered as founder members), and was launched with an unmistakably American-style branding campaign, laden with commercial intent.

Not to be confused with the fleeting North American Soccer Football League (NASFL), a competition which materialised in the immediate postwar era and lasted just two seasons (incidentally, the NASFL had a Canadian participant, the Toronto Greenbacks, in its ranks), the North American Soccer League (NASL) was the United States’ first fruitful foray into the world of ‘soccer’. League creators targeted the masses, keen to facilitate a new following and fondness for the game, historically…


Source link : https://www.footballparadise.com/canadian-football-a-north-american-league-wrapped-in-stars-and-stripes/

Author : Ryan Murray

Publish date : 2023-11-09 13:30:00

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