If anyone can talk footy, it’s Steven Caldwell. With over a decade-long professional career playing for a multitude of teams from Burnley F.C and Leeds United in the English football leagues, to crossing over the Atlantic and joining Major League soccer with the Toronto FC until 2015 when he retired, Caldwell knows the game — in fact, he might even eat, sleep and breathe it. Since retirement, he’s become a valuable MLS analyst at TSN and host of Footy Talks. We caught up with him to discuss the Olympic announcement, why he loves the game and what role fans play in the experience.
The landscape of sports right now is something we have never seen before. What do you make of this?
It’s very strange that’s for sure. I do feel that this is so significant though sports really has become secondary. Once things start to get back to something near normal, sport will be front of mind again.
What do you think of Team Canada and the Olympic’s recent decision of postponement?
I thought it was absolutely fantastic. How can athletes prepare to compete in a few months with what’s going on. They made a brave decision and prompted the IOC to do the right thing. It’s the only solution that is far and right for everybody.
What made you initially fall in love with football [soccer]? What are you missing most right now?
It’s the greatest game in the world. It’s impossible to master, no two matches are the same and it truly is the global game. It’s a sport for the people and it’s played by experts who come from all walks of life however, most importantly, they look like you and me. You don’t need anything to play football. All you need is perseverance and heart. I fell in love with football when I first learned to walk. It was all I ever wanted to do. I miss the fans. Football is about people and community and belonging to something. We all miss that right now.
It might be a while until we are back to normal. Even if games resume in the future, it’s speculated it will be without spectators. It begs the question, can we have sports without sports fans?
No. They are the life blood of sport. It will be very strange that’s for sure. I think we would take anything right now however. At least people can watch on television for a period of time.
How will you and your organization stay connected to the fans/viewers during this time?
I will be ramping up my personal content. Doing some unique things through podcasts and video casts. They will be delivered through Footy Talks who I partner with on a regular basis. Details will be through all my social feeds so please keep a look out if you are interested.
We’re all going through a bit of withdrawal and are reflecting on sports moments. Can you share one of your favourite sports memories?
I’m very fortunate that I have so many. My top three, in no particular order, are playing for Scotland with my brother, winning promotion at Wembley to the EPL with Burnley and beating the U.S. as Assistant Coach of the Canadian Men’s National Team at BMO Field last October in a competitive match.