Where would today's North American soccer scene be without Canada? That's a good question and one fitting for today seeing as it is Canada Day.
Canada's soccer history goes back a long time, and its future seems bright. Yes, there have been some hiccups along the way -- most notably, Toronto FC's failure to reach the playoffs (yet) and the national team's World Cup qualifying stumbles, including last fall's 8-1 loss in Honduras that knocked Canada out of contention -- but the positives still outweigh the negatives.
For one, Toronto, the Montreal Impact and the Vancouver Whitecaps boast some of the most rabid supporters in MLS.
GALLERY: Canadian supporters
For another, Canada has always churned out a few quality international players, such as D.C. United attacker Dwayne De Rosario and Portland Timbers captain Will Johnson. But now, through the MLS clubs' academies and youth movements, there is more talent coming up, including Toronto's young foursome of Doniel Henry, Ashtone Morgan, Kyle Bekker, and Jonathan Osorio. And don't forget about Vancouver's Russell Teibert, who is fast becoming a phenom -- and not just for his hair.
Outside of MLS, there is also a great deal happening. In 2014, the Ottawa Fury FC will become the 5th fully professional club, joining FC Edmonton in the NASL, the second division of soccer in the USA and Canada. Then, in 2015, Canada will host the FIFA Women's World Cup.
The truth is, without what has happened in Canada these past few years, MLS and the entire soccer scene would not be what it is today.
Happy Canada Day!