Archive for women’s soccer

Canada’s women: Winning one for all of us

Posted in Canada, World Cup with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2010 by squizz

There have only been two instances in which I’ve been able to see Jack Warner‘s face without feeling the bile rising up in the back of my throat. On both occasions, he’s handing a Gold Cup trophy to the captain of a Canadian national team.

Ten years ago, it was Jason de Vos. And last night, it was Christine Sinclair.

Ten years ago, it was a fortuitous coin flip that allowed the men to progress into the knockout stages of the tournament. Last week, the biggest upset in women’s soccer history (the Mexicans’ semi-final defeat of the #1-ranked USA) gave Big Red an easier path to the trophy than they were anticipating.

Ten years ago, the men’s national team had high expectations after the recent appointment of a well-regarded international manager (Holger Osieck). Today, the women have Carolina Morace.

But that’s where the similarities end. Whereas the men’s Gold Cup success never translated over into World Cup qualifying, and dissension within the dressing room helped contribute to Osieck’s departure, I can’t help but think that this women’s side may be at the precipice of a defining moment in Canadian soccer. Continue reading

Canada’s Women Top Mexico, Avoid U.S.

Posted in Canada, Women's with tags , , , , , , on November 3, 2010 by Jamie

Everything seemed pretty easy for Canada’s women’s national team in the first two matches of the group-stage round of qualifiying for the 2011 Women’s World Cup in Germany: an 8-0 destruction of Guyana followed a 1-0 scoreline against Trinidad and Tobago that belied Canada’s dominance. The real threat, we were led to expect, was to come against the host Mexican side. Three goals to nil later, Canada is through to the semifinals with a perfect record – not to mention 12 goals for and none against. Continue reading

Check Out Our Ladies

Posted in Canada, Gold Cup, International, Women's with tags , , , , , on October 29, 2010 by Jamie

Yes that shameful headline is intended to maximize hits by luring in some possibly pervy Google searchers. Sadly, such is the lot of Canadian soccer: we have to garner interest any way we can. No slight at all is intended to the wonderful gals of our Women’s national team. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Tonight marks the kickoff, literally, of the Canadian women’s quest for simultaneous Gold Cup glory and a berth in the 2011 Women’s World Cup. And it’s our duty as soccer-loving Canucks to support them, if not by shooting on down to Cancun (as if we actually needed more reason to go to Cancun on a blustery October day), then at least by watching them play. Continue reading

A Big Red sea change is upon us

Posted in Canada, Women's with tags , , , , , , on September 29, 2010 by squizz

“Why not?”

That’s captain Christine Sinclair’s response, when I ask her why Canadians should get out to BMO Field tomorrow night, to support the women’s national team in their friendly against China.

“We’re ranked (among the top teams) in the world. We’re a good team. We were just in the Beijing Olympics, lost in the quarter-finals to the eventual gold medalists, in overtime. We’re a talented team.

Talented, yes — as evidenced by their triumph in the Cyprus Cup earlier this year — but equally critical is that they are, indeed, a team. Much of that can be attributed to the infusion of head coach Carolina Morace, who took over the reins of the team early last year. Bringing in Morace was lauded as a coup for the Canadian Soccer Association, given her experience and her tactical acumen. But perhaps the biggest shift — unexpected, to some — has been in her ability to create a loose, relaxed atmosphere within the team.

“Oh gosh, yeah,” Sinclair enthuses, when asked if the Italian gaffer has lightened the locker-room mood. Continue reading

Big Red machine set to roll into Toronto

Posted in Canada, Women's with tags , , , , , on September 22, 2010 by squizz

I got into a heated Twitter debate yesterday with Rollins about support for the men’s national team versus the women’s national team. While he argued that there was a greater “potential” support base for the men’s team, I relied on the numbers. Each team has played two friendly matches at BMO Field since it opened; the women drew 13,554 and 10,225 (23,779 total), while the men drew 9,325 and 10,619 (19,944 total).

Now, he made the case that the few thousand gung-ho Canada fans at the men’s games (surrounded by opposition supporters, remember) are more “dialed in” (and therefore, more valuable?) than the largely pro-Canada crowds drawn by the women’s team, comprised as they were by screaming young girls rather than drunken chanting louts (well, except for me and a handful of others).

The debate will surely rage on, as the women’s national team (a.k.a. Big Red) is set to play their third-ever game at BMO Field next Thursday, against China. It’s unknown right now what sort of crowd will turn out for the match — but at the very least, I’ve got one person agreeing with me on the merits of packing the house with excited youngsters: veteran Canadian midfielder Diana Matheson (who, last week, won her 100th cap as a member of Big Red).

“It’s extremely important” to get young girls out to the game, she told me during a media call earlier today. “A lot of girls don’t realize the team exists. (But) being accessible to them makes them want to reach higher goals. Unfortunately, we don’t do it enough.” Continue reading

The future of WPS matters to us all, and here’s why.

Posted in Women's with tags , , , , , , , on January 28, 2010 by squizz

This was supposed to be a triumphant week in the off-season for Women’s Professional Soccer. WPS is, of course, the top-tier women’s league in North America, having started play last season to fill the void left by the demise of the WUSA in 2003. In its inaugural season, the league attracted a good amount of attention, thanks in part to the star appeal of Brazilian Marta, who scored 10 goals in 19 appearances for the WPS’s Los Angeles Sol, and went on to win the FIFA award for female player of the year.

The league also has an astonishing 250,000 followers on Twitter, showing there is clearly a burgeoning interest in the women’s game on this continent (or an awful lot of spambots who were drawn to the word “women” like moths to a flame). And, in what was supposed to be the good news story of the week, the Atlanta Beat (who will begin play as an expansion team this year) officially announced the opening of the first women’s soccer-specific stadium on the continent (they’ll share the 8,300-seat facility with the Kennesaw State University women’s soccer program).

However, all is not rosy for the league. Steve Goff is reporting today that the Los Angeles Sol are “on the brink of disbanding” after failed attempts to sell the team this offseason. The Sol made it to the championship game last season, and led the league in attendance. They also have the rights to one of the women’s game’s most recognizable players (not to mention Canadian keeper Karina LeBlanc and veteran defender Martina Franko). As Goff notes, if the Sol were to disappear, it would represent “a major setback to women’s pro soccer in America.” (Updated, 4:08 p.m.: It’s now official, the LA Sol will fold.)

I can already sense you rolling your eyes. “Who cares about the women’s game?” you’re asking yourself. “If they can’t play soccer, maybe they can get back to ironing my shirts and making my lunch. Blah blah blah.” Continue reading