Soccer in December in Toronto -- who'd have thought?

(From its early days, Colin Jose covered Toronto soccer for Soccer America, but he is best known as the preeminent authority on the history of the game in the United States and Canada. He is the historian at Canada's Soccer Hall of Fame into which he was inducted in 2009, and he was the historian/archivist at U.S. Soccer's National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1997-2007. In 2004, the National Soccer Hall of Fame named its Media Award in Jose's honor.)

It may surprise a lot of people to realize that Seattle is farther north than Toronto. Just. Seattle (according to Wikipedia) sits on latitude 47-36 North. Toronto on 43-42 North. I live in London, Ontario, these days and we are on the same latitude as Rome, Italy.

Until Thursday, we had one snowfall that melted weeks ago. Our weather is mostly affected by Lake Huron. Both Toronto and London get lake-effect snow off Lake Huron. But it depends on which way the wind is blowing. Toronto if it is easterly, London south-easterly.

This is a mild winter and by now we would have had quite a bit of snow -- until now, just the one small drop. But the province of New Brunswick, north and east of here, has had a huge amount.

In the past -- 1920-1930 -- when Canada had a semiprofessional soccer league, the soccer season was always over by the end of October. To allow for the weather.

The final was a two-legged affair. Some years, the first leg would be played but the weather would prevent the second leg being played. Then the second leg would be played the following spring. If there is a lot of snow by Saturday, will the Toronto FC-Seattle final have to be played in the spring?

What about Sky Dome -- the Rogers Centre? The playing surface in Sky Dome is too small to allow for a FIFA-regulation size field. So soccer is rarely played in Sky Dome, unlike Montreal's Olympic Stadium, which was built to accommodate Olympic soccer.

I have been watching the weather forecast closely all week hoping that the snow stays away, but toward the end of the week, Thursday evening now here in London, 120 miles from Toronto it has started to snow.

We are supposed to get about six inches over Thursday and into Friday and maybe some on Saturday. This morning and through today, the temperature was -3 Celsius (26 Fahrenheit) with a bitter cold wind, so I wouldn't want to be playing soccer in this. The wind chill can be very bad and the wind can feel like a knife. So let's hope it warms up by Saturday for all concerned -- and that includes those going to watch.

I will not be going to Toronto. I no longer drive a car. I am 80 years old and have handed in my license. Also I have Anxiety Disorder and at times vertigo, so, it's no longer safe.

Hoping for the best, but soccer should not be scheduled for anywhere in Canada after the end of October.
6 comments about "Soccer in December in Toronto -- who'd have thought?".
  1. Randy Vogt, December 9, 2016 at 7:09 a.m.

    In MLS’s early days, the final was played in October at a site selected by the league. Unlike today with a December final being played at the higher seed so you never know what you’ll get regarding the weather. Let’s hope that everybody participating as well as the fans still keep the feeling in their toes plus the field and weather will hold out so good soccer can be played.

  2. Quarterback TD, December 9, 2016 at 11:17 a.m.

    i have been to a few NY Giants games when it was sub zero and it was fun and the memories last a long time.. for those of you going to the actual game enjoy

  3. Bill Wilson, December 9, 2016 at 12:34 p.m.

    It is nice to hear from Colin again. Those of us who have been following the game for a number of years owe a lot to Colin because of the diligent work he and others put in to catalog the history of soccer in the developmental years of the last century. Those who are not familiar with some of the books he has written should look him up. It is really a shame that he will not be there to witness the first MLS final played in Canada. In a world where people actually cared about things that happened more than a week ago, somebody would have sent a limo to transport him to the game. Alas we don't live in such a world.

  4. Wooden Ships replied, December 9, 2016 at 11:48 p.m.

    Good point Bill.

  5. Andrea Hana, December 9, 2016 at 3:34 p.m.

    Colin Jose, thank you for the wonderful article!

  6. Randy Vogt, December 9, 2016 at 9:03 p.m.

    Yes, this is a wonderful article and if I could add another point to why Toronto FC would not want to use the Rogers Centre, even if the field would have been large enough. The Rogers Centre has turf, just like the Sounders' home stadium, Century Link Field. Grass and cold weather should be more of a home field advantage for Toronto FC.

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