It was a sunny day in Vancouver in August of 2019, and Jan Machala was upset.
Growing up in the Czech Republic, he grew to love a sport called minifootball, a variation of soccer played on a smaller pitch with fewer players. On this August day, he was trying to organize a friendly game with some friends but they told him they were unable to play because of their schedule. It’s not the first time this had happened to Machala, as minifootball fields in Vancouver were in short supply and had limited availability, but this one hurt just the same.
As he drove home frustrated, he had an epiphany. He decided that he wanted to do something to make his favourite sport more easily accessible for not just his friends, but also for Canadians across the country. He imagined creating something that would bring people together and build friendships while playing the sport he loved dearly.
It was decided at that moment that he would create a federation that would represent minifootball in Canada. But where would he start?
Machala spoke to one of his best friends about his idea and how he was unsure of where to start. As if by destiny, his friend just so happened to know the president of the World Minifootball Federation (WMF) and told Machala that he could a meeting with the president during the upcoming World Cup in Perth, Australia to discuss his idea.
This would be his chance to potentially form a unifying body for Canadian minifootball should he get the support of the WMF. Machala did not hesitate to take his best friend up on his offer and got to work on his sales pitch.
After weeks of preparing and planning, the day finally arrived when Machala would meet the WMF president. As he approached the stadium to meet the man that could help make his dream become a reality, his mind was racing at a thousand miles an hour.
Machala kept thinking of what to say to the president and how to say it; how he wanted to build a sense of community and give everyone a chance to play the sport he loved; how the time had come for Canada to have a governing body for minifootball.
He arrived at the stadium that was brimming with excitement over a game that was about to start between Australia and the Czech Republic. Although he felt anxious leading up to his arrival at the stadium, being in a familiar environment helped put his mind at ease. This was the perfect setting for Machala to meet the man who could help him on his journey.
He was finally introduced to Filip Juda, the president of the WMF.
The two met in a private suite overlooking the entire pitch. Though it was an exhibition game, the crowd was roaring in anticipation of what was sure to be an exciting game. They shook hands and began their chat as the players made their way onto the field.
Pausing only to watch the exciting action on the field, Machala told Jada why the time was ripe to grow minifootball in Canada and that he was the man who could make it happen. The meeting went as well as Machala could have hoped for as not only did Jada agree to continue talks beyond the World Cup, but the Czech team ended up winning the match 2-1.
The subsequent conversations went from a semi-regular occurrence to daily meetings, with each man expressing eagerness over the potential of this opportunity and a desire to make this happen.
Finally, after two months of going back and forth, the two reached an agreement to make a governing body for minifootball in Canada with approval from the WMF.
Machala was eager to get started on building up his newly approved federation, but it didn’t take long for him to realize that help would be needed as doing it alone was sure to be a daunting task. So he turned to Monika Viktorin for help as she was his most dependable friend.
Both spent the next few weeks carefully organizing all of the important parts of the federation, from the staff and sponsors to the teams and leagues needed to help grow the sport. They made arrangements with some local facilities to set in motion the plans for a pilot league and began work on building a website.
There was, however, one critical component that was missing: the name.
What would you be the perfect name to represent the governing body of minifootball in Canada, one that could be easily identified by people both in full and as an abbreviation? What words needed to be put together that would represent the fundamental values that Machala hoped would resonate with Canadians across the country?
After going over several name ideas, Viktorin came up with one that made Machala’s eyes light up. He knew the name was perfect and he didn’t waste time getting the rights to it.
Both Machala and Viktorin knew that the journey was far from over, but they could rest easy knowing that the identity of the brand was established.
With that, the Canadian Minifootball Federation was born.
*This is a fictionalized account of the creation of the Canadian Minifootball Federation*