Not long after Victor Montagliani was officially elected the new president of the Canadian Soccer Association last weekend, he got an e-mail from Vancouver Whitecaps FC and then a phone call from Toronto FC.
While neither of those two clubs, nor the Montreal Impact or FC Edmonton, the other two professional clubs in the country, supported Montagliani’s candidacy, they’re on the same page with the new president when it comes to working together to improve the state of the game in Canada.
“It’s time to come together,” Montagliani on Tuesday in his first conference call with Canadian media since Saturday’s election. “People have the right to their opinion, and I don’t have a problem with that, but I think the professional clubs know that I’m in it for the right reasons and we’re both willing to work with each other. They know that this country and this game can’t afford for that not to happen.”
Montagliani said he was encouraged after speaking to people involved with running the game in Canada, even those who didn’t vote for him. The common bond of growing the game at all levels and getting Canadian teams competing on the world stage is the main building block.
In addition to forging and maintaining the relationships with his own constituency, Montagliani also spoke of the importance of working with MLS Commissioner Don Garber and the members of the United States Soccer Federation.
“[MLS] is a two-country league, so it’s not just Canadian soccer and [MLS]; it’s also Canadian soccer, US soccer and [MLS],” he said. “[MLS] is aware that they have a significant partner to the north and that our success is their success.”
On the matter of bringing more corporate partners on board to increase the CSA’s budget and help the organization become less reliant on fees paid by players of all ages across the country, Montagliani says it’ll be a process. He acknowledged that it’s a results-based business where if the Canadian national team is successful, the business dollars will flow in.
With that in mind, he highlighted how the CSA have been able to bring more corporate money in the past few years and says he sees it continuing over the next few as well.
“There’s no reason why our budget shouldn’t double within eight years,” he said. “The quickest thing that gets you revenue is results. We can put the building blocks in place to sort of put ourselves in position to get results, which is the key.”
Montagliani also spoke of an ongoing feasibility study into the potential for how a Canadian-based professional league below MLS could work. He said he believes a coast-to-coast league may not be possible, but he thinks regional leagues may be an option.