December 7, 2016
Toronto newspapers: are they the MLS MVP of soccer coverage?
By Michael Lewis
Toronto FC striker Jozy Altidore just might applaud the quality and quantity of soccer coverage in Toronto.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
TORONTO -- Way, way, way back in the day, before there was an internet and I needed some serious information on the beautiful game or a true soccer fix, I turned to the Toronto newspapers (note: for those of you who don't know what an actual newspaper is, go ask your parents).
The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and Toronto Sun had plenty of coverage of the sport, whether it was about the Toronto Metros-Croatia or the Blizzard from those bygone days, international soccer, particularly what was happening in Europe and in England or even the World Cup itself.
When I first became enamored with the greatest show on earth, I tried to read more comprehensive reports, features and columns by purchasing Toronto newspapers at a place called World Wide News in Rochester, N.Y. or even at my Wegman's supermarket, which would have a special newsstand for out of town newspapers to go with their fabulous chocolate cookies.
In other words, Toronto newspapers were always a good source of new, fresh material.
Fast forward head three decades to the age of the web, where scores and scores of stories are readily available -- for free.
Unfortunately, many newspapers have taken big hits or even dying. Some are not around. Yet, those three newspapers I had mentioned are still alive and kicking.
While it is easy enough to read stories from any of those aforementioned papers on the net, I wanted to put their coverage into context.
Translated: where stories were placed on a page.
So, this is what I discovered from those three newspapers:
Toronto Globe and Mail
The front page of its sports section was dominated by the most dominating individual in all of futbol -- Lionel Messi.
A huge picture of Messi took up about one third page with a refer to a story on page three.
The headline over the photo was:
Messi misses out
It was about the Argentine superstar scoring only once in its 4-0 UEFA Champions League triumph over Borussia Moenchengladbach. The page three story took over the top half of the page.
Right underneath that story was a jump of a story about Toronto FC as it prepares to play the Seattle Sounders in Saturday's MLS Cup. That article originated on the front page of the section.
Across the top of the front page of the sports blared the headline:
Altidore right where he belongs
That story jumped to page S6, which had a full page of MLS Cup-related stories.
That includes a story about Toronto midfielder Armando Cooper on the top of the page, an Associated Press story about Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer and a small item about Tuesday's Champions League matches.
The tabloid has a sports section right smack in the middle of the paper. On Wednesday, it was 20 pages (which can be the equivalent to 10 pages of a regular newspaper).
The front page had a huge picture of the Sounders with the headline:
Having A Look-
The next two inside pages had a story headlined, "Scouting the Sounders, a sidebar about Schmetzer and an article that claimed there was more proof that Sebastian Giovinco was robbed of his MVP honors in wake of David Villa winning the award Tuesday.
And oh yes, there was a graphic about Saturday's weather forecast: minus five degrees Celsius (that's equal to 23 degrees Fahrenheit) with a 40 percent change of snow.
Not too shabby, not too shabby at all.
I am happy to report that the three papers still got it because they get it.
The ultimate winners are the sports and soccer fans of Toronto.
Would love to hear from you and how your local newspapers cover your MLS, NASL, USL, NWSL, PDL, NPSL teams or the sport in general.
For all we know, Toronto sets the gold standard. If not, those papers definitely are in the running.