Soccer is a beautiful game and it is the most popular sport on planet Earth, played by over 250 million individuals. International idols like Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar have captured the attention of the entire world with their magnificent performances. Now, they take their talents to the grand stage of the World Cup in Russia! Even more exciting is the fact that World Cup 2026 is coming to Mexico, USA and Canada with 10 games to be played in Canadian cities. This will popularize the game even further than currently! So, how can physiotherapists in Canada leverage this event to promote their business and take it to the next level?
1) Growing popularity of soccer in Canada
Canada is in a set of unique circumstances to keep growing and improving its soccer participation numbers. It’s a vibrant, multicultural country that is full of immigrants and Canadians who have a lot of passion for the game. The Canadian clubs continue to develop professionally by increasing their MLS involvement, with Toronto FC entering the league in 2007. Montreal and Vancouver have followed suite since. This expansion came with a good dose of success, as TFC won the MLS Cup this year in 2018 and previously lost in the finals of 2017. Fans are taking notice and popularizing the game all across the country. This is an interesting read from Globe and Mail describing the increasing popularity of soccer. Professional soccer success is causing interest among parents and children to increase. This article speaks directly to that statement.
As children and youth get more involved, there is going to be a trend of increasing numbers of soccer teams across the country. This means sports physiotherapists have the opportunity to connect with more soccer teams for work directly. In addition, private practice physiotherapists will be able to market themselves and their clinics by actively participating in community soccer events like tournaments. This will allow for increased networking, especially with the parents of the children who have nagging musculoskeletal injuries (like rotator cuff injuries and low back pain) starting showing up. This community outreach will surely improve the reputation of your clinic and personal brand.
2) Soccer is a contact sport
Since soccer is a contact sport, there is always an increased potential for injury. Physiotherapists can intervene in a multitude of ways. One of them is the desired scenario where physiotherapists participate in a team’s injury prevention protocol. One example of such protocol is the FIFA 11+ injury prevention program. Injury prevention programs have been shown to reduce the risk of harmful outcomes significantly. Alternatively, players can get injured in games and practices. Physiotherapists are perfectly positioned to diagnose the issue, treat it and provide a future management plan. If PTs find a way to collaborate with teams on a larger scale, they would be able to provide quality care to a number of teams. Certain PTs could even find a niche specializing in soccer related injuries. These would include traumatic musculoskeletal injuries of the lower extremities primarily. However, there is a growing body of research directed to concussions in soccer and this has become quite the hot topic. A very important issue to address and this is another area that will need greater physiotherapist involvement for the years ahead!
We are seeing more opportunities for collaboration between soccer players, soccer teams and physiotherapists. Let’s take advantage of the most popular sport in the world to showcase the skills that physiotherapists have and to further sports physiotherapy development. Hopefully one day, Canada becomes just as crazy about this sport as the nations that call it football!
P.S. If you would like to become a sports physiotherapist in Canada, please visit the Sport Physiotherapy Canada website on how to get credentialed.