by Kyler Parris
The Cascadia region has a lot to be proud of. The great outdoors, terrific cities, generous people. Here’s one more to add to that list: The Cascadian National Team.
Leonard Laymon has been leading the charge to create a Cascadian team to compete in Non-FIFA (N-F) Football. “The N.F.-Board is like FIFA but for new federations or representative teams not associated with FIFA,” says Laymon.
“I got the idea [to form a Cascadian team] from having watched two sporting events this past summer; a couple of games in the 2012 VIVA World Cup streamed online and watching the Olympics in London with a focus on athletes from Cascadia. Beyond that I talked with some people about the idea that all thought a Cascadia team would be a great thing to watch. We agreed there was a rising awareness of the Cascadian identity as expressed through people wearing Cascadia flags on their MLS jerseys and the Cascadia shirts from the Cascadia Trifecta group on Facebook.” He told me via email.
Laymon then decided to form the Cascadia Association Football Federation. He was encouraged after hearing from within the N-F community. “The N.F.-Board has been wanting to form a North America and Arctic Confederation (CNANF) similar to the South American confederation that they have (CSANF). So we received messages of support and assistance from Occitania (a region of Spain and France similar to and associated with Catalonia), Quebec, Sealand, and a guy who helped Western Sahara.”
For this to be successful, though, he would also need support from back home. “Things moved much faster than I initially thought they would. Originally I envisioned our first general meeting happening in the summer of this year as I thought it would take a lot longer to build support for the idea locally.”
The first meeting was actually held on January 26 in Seattle. “We voted in our board, then we ratified our bylaws, flag, crest, and national anthem (“Roll on Columbia, Roll on”). All these were important items that had to be included with our application to the N.F.-Board. Golazo was very generous in giving us a meeting space and assistance, true to the mission of their company. Although turnout was lower than expected due to the date conflicting with a meeting of MLS supporters groups but we had more people present than were present at the founding of the N.F.-Board itself, so that was something to be proud of.”
“We have an observer going to the N.F.-Board’s Annual General Meeting in Munich on the 23rd of this month, February, to represent Cascadia complete with a flag and scarf. We were even invited to participate in a tournament in England this summer featuring a number of non-FIFA teams but had to decline, as even the most aggressive schedule wouldn’t likely see us ready to do that until at least later this fall.”
The crown jewel of N-F Football is the VIVA World Cup. Held every two years, the VIVA World Cup is the pinnacle of Non-FIFA international play. “In an ideal world in a few years I’d imagine that we’d be deep in preparations for the 2016 VIVA World Cup. We’d likely have played anywhere from 6-10 friendlies and perhaps even in a tournament prior to that. We’d probably play an annual home and away series with Quebec. We’d also be preparing to get the women’s team off the ground if it wasn’t already by then.” Laymon also noted that hosting the VIVA World Cup would be tremendous, but may be a pipe dream due to travel times from Europe.
Probably the greatest part of N-F Football, in my mind, is how many options there are from here. They can play whomever they want, whenever they want, wherever they want. They can host the World Cup or a local PDL tournament. They could play to win the Nelson Mandela Trophy (given to the winners of the VIVA World Cup) or play for fun. They can even sell TV rights like the most recent VIVA World Cup did.
Regardless of Cascadia Football’s next step, the region will certainly have something to be proud of.
Are you still skeptical of the Cascadia Association Football Federation? Here are some answers from Leonard Laymon that may help:
I am a US National team fan, but I live in the Cascade region. Will I have to choose between Cascadia and US?
“Absolutely not. We don’t see the two as mutually exclusive at anymore than say living in Spain and being a supporter of Spain but also supporting Catalonia, Galacia, Asturias, or another regional team. Or say, supporting England and also one of the Jersey, Guernsey or other Channel Islands teams or Cornwall’s national team. Our Cascadia team is something to support in between whichever club one supports and the national team of the US and Canada.”
How will everything be financed?
“We’re looking at a number of options. I’ve already mentioned we successfully crowd-sourced the funding of our application and while that is an option there will be others as we legally become a non-profit and can accept larger donations. There are plenty of individuals and companies in the region that may be interested in this, some who have already expressed interest and we welcome dialogue with others as well. As the team actually starts to play games there’s the possibility of selling team merchandise as well.”
What level of play are you anticipating?
“When most people think of non-FIFA football they think of teams like Catalonia, or the Basque team but having watched a fair amount of non-FIFA football I can tell you that teams as stacked and as strong as they are exceptional. It should be noted that neither Catalonia nor the Basque team are members of the N.F.-Board so we’d be unlikely to face them in a VIVA World Cup (Although can you imagine what the atmosphere would be like to have either play a friendly at BC Place, Centurylink Field or Jeld-Wen Field.) The level of most non-FIFA teams varies from team to team. It is a much wider variance than, say, at the FIFA World Cup. It is not uncommon in non-FIFA football to have some wild score lines like 11-0 when there is a big mismatch but I think our region has enough talented players at all levels that we will be able to put together competitive team from the players available to us.”
Kyler Parris is a seventh-grader at Skyview Junior High (Bothell, WA). He is a goalkeeper and midfielder for his Northshore Select team, as well as the co-captain. He enjoys writing, photography, and, most of all, soccer. Kyler is a participant in our new internship program that allows young writers, photographers and videographers a chance to gain experience covering soccer online. Contact us at goalWA@gmail.com for more intern program
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