[CANADA]Canada's national team program took another knock when 20-year-old Jonathan De Guzman, considered one of international soccer's hottest prospects, decided to play for the Netherlands instead of Canada, for which his older brother, Julian, is a key player.
Jonathan De Guzman has lived in the Netherlands since he was 12 and plays for Feyenoord. He collected his Dutch passport on Wednesday and is expected to join the Dutch Olympic team.
Previously, Owen Hargreaves of Calgary joined England's national team and now plays for Manchester United.
Canadian soccer's poor reputation is considered a major factor in the decision of these players to seek out other national teams.
At the root of the problem is the inept Canadian Soccer Association, which has endured one controversy after another.
Chief Operating Officer Kevan Pipe left in November 2006, and the CSA ended up having to settle a costly wrongful dismissal lawsuit with his replacement, Fred Nykamp, when the CSA's board of directors did not approve the deal Nykamp had with the CSA.
The same thing had happened to Brazilian Rene Simoes, who was supposed to lead the men's national team program. Simoes' contract was not approved and he ended up returning to Jamaica, which he led to the 1998 World Cup finals.
The shining moment for Canadian soccer in recent years was its organization of the 2007 Under-20 World Cup. While the tournament went off to spectacular reviews, it was a financial bath, resulting in losses in excess of $1 million.
CSA President Colin Linford fed up with the lack of support quit last August after a little more than one year on the job.
A month later, Canada played a rare home game when the national team debuted at Toronto's new BMO Field, but the match featured protesters, a group of Canadian fans who blaimed the CSA for the poor state of the Canadian game.