Gambling content sites are increasingly getting mainstream attention in Canada. For example, OnlineCasino.ca recently spoke with former US Men’s National Team member and MLS veteran Brad Friedel about the current state of soccer in North America.
In the interview, Friedel spoke a bit about the sport itself, including the performance of Matt Turner, who he deemed “unflappable”.
He also had this to say about Christian Polisic:
“Christian Pulisic is staking a claim towards being the best US player of all time, although he’s got a way to go to get past Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey. Those two were at the top for a long time. Just because you have a big price tag, doesn’t mean you’ve achieved what those guys have yet, so he has a way to go. But he’s making a claim. He needs to keep scoring goals at an international level, and then we’ll see at the end of his career.”
What was arguably more interesting about the discussion was Friedel’s take on how North America can embrace its role as a host the next time the big event rolls around.
The United States hosted the event in 1994, but quite a bit has changed both in soccer and with the world since then.
“The whole landscape has changed from 1994 as we look ahead to 2026. I left in 1996 and didn’t return until 2015, and the entire landscape of everything has changed top to bottom: training facilities, stadiums, coaches, knowledge and education, youth national teams,” Friedel noted. “Everything is different for the better and in another four years, it’s going to be even better. And in another 10, 12 years we’re going to be able to compete with a lot of teams. We’re still underneath Spain, Germany, France, Brazil, Argentina, the big nations, like Italy and England, but on any given day we can compete with any of them.”
Friedel thinks every game will sell out in 2026, but is still skeptical the sport will ever reach the popularity of American football. Hosting will inevitably grow the interest though, the question is just to what level.
What Qatar has taught us too is that hosting is about more than what takes place on the pitch. If Friedel had his way, the politics that dominated the headlines the past few weeks would not make their way into press conferences or the locker room.
“I think the big lesson the US can take from the Qatar World Cup is to make the 2026 tournament about the football and not about politics,” he said. “As hosts, the message should not be political and I think FIFA should learn from this World Cup that it’s so unfair for the media to be asking all these questions to players and coaches, they have nothing to do with the politics going on in the world, the question should not be directed to them.”
“The good thing about the US is the welcoming of everybody, so if a nation wants to wear a rainbow armband, then they will be able to. So I think FIFA will learn, and what the US already knows, is that we can really try to express the kindness and good in people in the world. That’s what I think the lesson is,” he added.
“As far as the football goes, everything will be fantastic in the US, Canada, and Mexico. The facilities and stadiums, everything, is going to be first-class. So all of that will run smoothly, but I think they have an opportunity now to really help people throughout the world and send a message of peace and equality. I think they should do it more than any other nation has ever done.”