Posted on 8/27/2009

As I watch Apoel take a 2-1 aggregate lead over Copenhagen in the UEFA Champions League the camera cuts to one of Canada’s strongest international players.  Atiba Hutchinson has just been booked.  Alright I didn’t say he was put on the screen for the right reasons, regardless, it’s outstanding to see the product of Brampton, Ontario plying his trade with Copenhagen and also taking part in the world’s greatest club competition.  He’s been with the club since 2006 and now made well over 100 appearances scoring 19 goals.  It’s unfortunate we do not get to see more of this talented midfielder.  It was a treat to watch him this past summer at the Gold Cup alongside Julian DeGuzman.  Any country in CONCACAF would be pressed to match the talent in the midfield of these two players.  Atiba played a crucial role in Canada’s run to the semi-final of the 2007 Gold Cup and even appeared to score the equalizer against the United States, but a horrible call went the Americans way and the rest is history.  Still, in 2009 I saw a different Hutchinson.  He’s improved on the ball a great deal.  His confidence in moving forward and not being afraid of taking on defenders himself instead of passing off has shown how he’s matured.  It’s probably something the fans would agree with at Copenhagen and tell you it’s no surprise either. 

 

Not many Canadians have had the fortune of playing in the Champions League.  I remember when first saw “Bend it Like Beckham” (yes I am admitting that) and in one of the opening scenes Becks scores in the Champions League against Anderlecht and sure enough there’s Canadian International Tomasz Radzinski.  I made sure I gave him the gears about it when we ran into each other after Canada played a World Cup Qualifying match in Kingston, ON.  He was just mad he didn’t receive a penny for the cameo.  Shortly thereafter not only did another Canadian born player have the opportunity to play in the Champions League, he actually won and did again his first year at Manchester United.  Yes it’s everybody’s favourite Canadian Owen Hargreaves.  Owen was with Bayern Munich for his first Champions League title and although many would argue he’s turned his back on his country, you cannot argue the success he’s enjoyed as a player.  Two Champions League titles, two FIFA World Cup appearances and one European Championship appearance is not too shabby.  Paul Stalteri has quietly become one of Canada’s most successful players at the club level and has also appeared in the UEFA Champions League.  Werder Bremen won the double in 2004, Cup and League titles, and the first Canadian to play in the Bundesliga would get a taste of the Champions League.  Even Canadian Keeper Lars Hirschfeld has some pretty good Champions League memories!  He was in goal when Rosenborg beat Valencia twice in the UEFA Champions League 2007-08 group stage, recording two clean sheets in home-and-away 2-0 wins, and made a number of saves in his side's 1-1 draw away to Chelsea, the last match in charge of Chelsea for manager José Mourinho.

 

It’s not much, a handful of Canadians, but something to be proud of at the very least.  Watching Canadians who really have beaten the odds for a chance to play with the world’s best.  For Atiba Hutchinson it looks like his Champions League dreams will end before the group stage as Apoel go away the winners, 3-1 on the night, 3-2 on aggregate.  A dramatic match, but still a bummer!

Comments

Posted by Houston Barker on
8/31/2009 1:02:31 AM
Eduardo it appears MLSE are cheap and useless (not exactly breaking news) who have no interest in re-installing Spanish audio. \n\nSomebody was able to get an email response (hard to do considering the email address listed on this site has been ridiculously non-functioning for weeks/months) and this was the response. Pretty sure this statement is BS and they are just trying to ease this situation off. Incredible if its true as they claim they didn't know GolTV had Spanish audio to begin with. The last sentence is truly telling, sounds as if they are start up company and need to raise funds to buy the equipment necessary. Barring a massive outcry I don't think its coming back.\n\n===================================\n\n"When Maple Leaf Sports + Entertainment acquired GOLTV, we were unaware of the on-going provision of Spanish audio.\n\nOne initiative we undertook upon taking control of GOLTV was to bring the operation of Master Control in-house. By doing so, it made it much easier for us to add additional football programming to the network. As you may have noticed, we recently aired the Confederations Cup, the CONCACAF Gold Cup and a number of other matches.\n\nThe creation of the Master Control did not initially contemplate a commitment to providing Spanish language audio (because we did not even know it was being provided).\n\nHaving heard comments like yours, however, we are making plans to restore the ability to deliver Spanish language. Please bear with us as we invest in purchasing and implementing the necessary technology.
Posted by Eduardo on
8/29/2009 7:09:16 PM
Hello,\n\nWhy cant we no longer get goltv in spanish.\n\nFootball is not the same without a "GOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL"\n\ncould somenoe please help?
Posted by TomP on
8/28/2009 9:43:15 PM
Also, the Honduran team has Two Tottenham players in Osman and Palacios,Wigan's Figuerio (who is fantastic) as well as Guevera in the playmaking role.\n\nThat's before we even mention Mexico or Costa Rica....\n
Posted by TomP on
8/28/2009 9:37:01 PM
B.I,No Way!!!!\n\nThe USA has a midfield with Jermaine Jones (the best defensive mid in the bundesliga) who is lightyears ahead of Canada's De Guzman at the defensive mid position.\n\nDempsey and Bradley are double digit goal scorers in the english and german leagues..far superior to Hutchinson and Johnson's output at club level. A comparison in the more attacking role between Donovan and De Rosario is another no-brainer.\n\nI'm all for Canada and Canadian soccer but as Canadians let's not fool ourselves here...The Canadian Midfield can't even qualify for the world cup in a weak region (or even win one of the six games in qualfying for that matter).\n\n
Posted by B.I. on
8/28/2009 12:55:16 AM
To TomP, since when is Blanco a regular on Mexico anymore? As a 4 man midfield of de Guzman, De Rosario, Hutchinson and Johnson - yes, no country in CONCACAF can match that. Its pointless measuring 2 midfielders as Lee has done, but he is on the right track.
Posted by TomP on
8/28/2009 12:18:55 AM
Lee,you're one of the best soccer anaylsts in the country(along with Paul James...where has he been lately?) but have you lost it?\n\n"Any country in CONCACAF would be pressed to match the talent in the midfield of these two players"\n\nHow about USA?\nJermaine Jones and Landon Donovan\nor even their second choice\nMichael Bradley and Clint Dempsey\n\nor Honduras with Tottenham's Palacio and Wigan's Figuero\n\nand Mexico with Gio Dos Santos and Blanco.

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Bio

Lee Godfrey brings an extensive amount of soccer broadcast experience to GolTV where he is the host of the station’s original Canadian news program Extra Time.