Canadian Soccer Archive

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Wild night at the U-20 WWC: Canada survives, Germany and China in 10-goal thriller

Player of the match (CHINA) Beiyan Zhu, right

Player of the match (CHINA) Beiyan Zhu, right

It really is something to try and pay attention to two matches at the same time — one in front of you at the stadium, and the other on the screen.

They are both so enthralling, so wonderfully bizarre, that you feel absolutely torn in two.

That was the situation for me on Friday night. And it was a refreshing reminder of why I love this game so damn much. As I watched Germany and China contest one of the most incredible matches in the history of the U-20 Women’s World Cup at Commonwealth Stadium, I had the Canada-Finland feed up on my laptop, seeing if our national side could recover from its opening game loss.

As I got back upstairs from the coaches’ press conference in Edmonton after a stunning 5-5 draw, I was able to get to my laptop just in time to see Nichelle Prince tuck in a goalmouth rebound to give Canada a 3-2 lead over Finland. After some wonderful work down the right wing from sub Janine Beckie, who had scored earlier in the half to begin the Canuck rally from two goals down, the ball fell so wonderfully to Prince.

After an awful beginning to the game, which saw Finnish striker Juliette Kemppi punish a mistakes from Canadian keeper Kailen Sheridan and then pounce on a giveaway from Canadian defender Sura Yekka, the home side was able to rally. And the Canadians held on to that 3-2 score.

The Germans and Chinese had just wrapped their 10-goal marathon in a torrential rainstorm, as news spread that Canada had just scored to make it 2-1. No, wait, 2-2. Two of the subs brought on by coach Andrew Olivieri, Beckie and Valerie Sanderson, had scored within two minutes of each other.
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2

While Canada loses its opener, Germans send a message to U20WWC field

Theresa Panfil

Theresa Panfil

After seeing the Germans and Americans square off in the Group B opener at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium, I can tell Canadian fans this much. Now that Canada has lost its opener (1-0 to Ghana at BMO Field), the best it can realistically hope for out of Group A is to scrap its way into second place. And that will mean, unless the world turns topsy-turvy, Canada would face the Germans.

Gulp.

After an incident-filled first half which saw both teams miss golden chances, the Germans simply dominated the Americans in the second half. The score was 2-0, but it could have been — should have been — 4-2 or 6-3.

But, even if some great chances weren’t converted, there is no denying the Germans weren’t worth a two-goal margin in this tournament’s group of death, which also includes Brazil and China.

“I don’t say it very often, especially to my team, but I am very proud of them,” German coach Maren Meinert said through a translator after the match. “They gave everything and, regardless of the outcome, it was a very good game. They played as a team.”
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0

Saiko, Cann and Marcina: San Antonio Scorpions have a very Canadian feel

Shaun Saiko, in green, trains with the Scorpions, Saturday.

Shaun Saiko, in green, trains with the Scorpions, Saturday.

The San Antonio Scorpions media guide doesn’t use -our in words like colour. They don’t use the metric system in that part of Texas.

But, there’s no mistaking the Canadian content on this team, which sits at the top of the NASL fall-season table and boasts the best overall spring-fall record in the league. If the season ended today, the Scorpions would have home field advantage throughout the NASL playoffs, er. championship tournament. (Remember, we’re not supposed to call them “playoffs.”)

Coach Alen Marcina is a former Whitecap who hails from Surrey, B.C. Former Toronto FC player of the year Adrian Cann is on the roster. And, of course, Shaun Saiko, FC Edmonton’s all-time leading scorer, is also with the team. All three were in suburban Spruce Grove Saturday evening, as the Scorpions prepared to take on the Eddies. That game goes Sunday at Clarke Stadium.

Saiko has not started a game for the Scorpions since returning to the lineup after he underwent surgery for a double hernia. For six weeks, he was feeling pain and pressure before getting the double-hernia diagnosis. He doesn’t know if he’ll get a chance to play on Sunday, though we all know he’s dying to get a shot to play in front of his friends and family.

“It’s exciting times to get to play in front of the fans I played in front of for four years, almost. It’s fun to see them and play in front of them,” said Saiko.
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0

FCE’s Boakai and Jalali to join national U-20 side for the Milk Cup

Dale-Farm-Milk-Cup-logoFC Edmonton teenagers Hanson Boakai and Sadi Jalali will be leaving the team on Wednesday.

Why? So they can join the Canadian U-20 squad for the Milk Cup, a tournament to be held in Northern Ireland from July 27-August 1. Canada will face Mexico, China and the Irish hosts.

And, for Boakai and Jalali, it’s a chance to audition for Canadian squad going into the cycle for the 2015 U-20 World Cup qualification process. For Jalali, who scored his first career NASL goal on a penalty at the end of the spring season, it’s not a surprise to be named to the team. Much of the U-20 squad will be made up of the players who played at the U-17 World Cup in 2012 — and Jalali was a part of that team. A concussion forced him to miss the most recent U-20 national-team camp, but he was always a player you’d have thought would be in the rotation.

But, Boakai was part of the U-17 World Cup team in 2014; so he’s moving up in terms of age group. But, as arguably the best player of the 2014 Amway Canadian Championship, and a player who has already earned a trial stint at Fortuna Dusseldorf, his stock may be higher at this moment than any other youth player in this country’s system.

“I’m one of the youngest ones, it will be a new family.”
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13

FCE raves about new longer and wider pitch at Clarke Stadium

ClarkeTurfFor FC Edmonton’s players, there was cause for celebration, Tuesday.

After two and a half seasons of playing on the rock-hard, football-line filled turf at Clarke Stadium, the Eddies were able to train on the new FieldTurf surface for the first time.

“It’s quite nice,” said assistant coach Jeff Paulus. “It plays as close as we can get to real grass. I think it’s now the best artificial surface in the country. I can’t think of anything better.”

The installation of the $1.2 million, FIFA-approved turf at Clarke Stadium finishes two years worth of lobbying to get a surface that was free of the football lines. The lines can be painted on for junior and high-school football games played at the facility.

The new turf also allowed FC Edmonton the chance to expand the field dimensions — both length and width. The old dimensions saw the goal lines placed on the goal lines of a Canadian football field, 110 yards apart. The new field is now 115 yards long by 75 yards wide.
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3

CSA hopeful that Women’s World Cup will spur NWSL to expand to Canada

NWSL-Logo-516x340The Canadian Soccer Association funds the salaries of 14 NWSL players this season.

But, the hope is that soon there will actually be a Canadian team in North America’s top women’s soccer circuit. Currently, the Canadian players are spread through nine U.S.-based franchises. Peter Montopoli, the Canadian Soccer Association’s General Secretary, hopes that it will change after Canada hosts the Women’s World Cup in 2015.

“Absolutely. We believe that, after 2015, the interest will be there for at least one city to be a part of NWSL,” said Montopoli. “The interest will merit it…. It certainly presents an opportunity for an owner (in Canada) to be part of NWSL. We have had those initial discussions with NWSL but we’re currently waiting to see the success of 2015 before we get there.”

Montopoli was in Edmonton Wednesday to make a presentation to the city’s Chamber of Commerce. It was interesting to note that, when he explained the CSA’s relationship with NWSL to Edmonton’s business community, he called this country a “partner” in the league, along with the U.S. and Mexican soccer federations. He did not simply say that Canada had the option to pay the salaries of up to 16 players in the league.
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8

Montopoli: Canada has no plans to share World Cup 2026 bid with another nation

Peter Montopoli

Peter Montopoli

The General Secretary of the Canadian Soccer Association made it clear: When Canada bids for the World Cup, it won’t have a dance partner.

Peter Montopoli was in Edmonton Wednesday, speaking to the Chamber of Commerce about the coming U-20 Women’s World Cup and the Women’s World Cup in 2015. But the Canadian Soccer Association’s bid for the 2026 World Cup, which is expected to go to FIFA some time in 2016, also came up.

And, when he was asked about the possibility of submitting a shared bid, Montopoli said the answer is no.

“It’s a single bid. It’s Canada, at this moment. It’s Canada, the Canadian Soccer Association that will be bidding, and we will continue along that line. There really have been no discussions on joint bids, either Mexico or the United States. It’s not a position we’re taking. It is a straight bid from the Canadian Soccer Association.”

Montopoli said that getting the 2026 World Cup would complete a journey that began in Edmonton in 2002, when 45,000 fans attended the final of the then-named U-19 Women’s World Championship, a predecessor of the U-20 Women’s World Cup. FIFA officials were startled by the Canadian suppot for women’s youth soccer, and that final put Canada on the road to hosting the U-20 World Cup in 2007, then the U-20 Women’s World Cup this year and the Women’s World Cup in 2015.
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0

Beckie’s move from American program to Canadian program highlights U-20 roster

Janine Beckie

Janine Beckie

Over the past two NCAA seasons, Janine Beckie has scored at a torrid pace for Texas Tech.

Now, her addition to the Canadian team ahead of the U-20 Women’s World Cup provides coach Andrew Olivieri with an interesting trump card.

Beckie’s name was on the team roster for the U-20 Women’s World Cup, which was announced Wednesday morning. And Beckie, a former member of the American youth program who joined the Canadian system earlier this year, was on it.

And, yes, before you even need to ask — she is the sister of defender Drew Beckie, the current Ottawa Fury member who played with Canada’s U-23s in qualifying games for the 2012 World Cup. In fact, U-20 Women’s Team coach Andrew Olivieri said that Drew’s input was key in helping his sister decide to play for Canada.
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18

Garber hints that Canadian-player rules in MLS may change: Why we need to look at minutes played, not roster spots

Don Garber

Don Garber

In a Facebook chat with fans held on Monday, MLS Commissioner Don Garber was greeted with the thorny question about Canadian players in the league.

Francis Ghanimé asked him: “Will Canadian players ever stop counting as internationals for American clubs?”

And this was the answer from the commish.

“We are working on a new approach to our international player rules as they relate to Canada. Stay tuned.”

We have asked MLS for more clarification on the issue.

But, we do know the rules as they pertain to Canadians are on the radar. We also know the Canadian Soccer Association has lobbied MLS to changes the rules so Canadians are seen as domestic players, league wide. This would then put MLS on an equal footing with USL-PRO, which allows Canadians to be domestics on U.S. clubs.

Right now, the Canadian teams are required to each carry three Canadian players on their rosters. On the U.S. teams, Canadians are counted as international players and take up roster space that many American teams would prefer to give to players from, well, sexier parts of the soccer world. Meanwhile, on Canadian teams, Americans are seen as domestics.

The timing is interesting. We know CSA has been pushing for changes for a while. But, now, the CSA has gone public with its stated goal of having Canada’s own “Division 1A” (CLICK HERE or see issue 2 of Plastic Pitch), and reports continue that NASL, CFL owners and the CSA are discussing the formation of a Canadian division — something that NASL won’t deny, but says it simply can’t comment on… at this time.

So, pressure is no doubt building on MLS.
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6

FC Edmonton likely to boost number of Fort McMurray “home” games in 2015

fort-mcmurray-aerial-twoFC Edmonton announced earlier this year that it would be playing an NASL match in Fort McMurray in the 2015 season.

Now, the team says that it’s likely that two or three league games will be played in Canada’s oil-sands territory next season.

Because Edmonton hosts more games than any other city at next year’s Women’s World Cup, Clarke Stadium won’t be available for six weeks, through June and into the first week of July. Clarke Stadium is adjacent to Commonwealth Stadium, and wouldn’t be available when FIFA takes over the site.

The number of games FCE would play in Fort Mac would depend on when the NASL schedules its break between the spring and fall seasons. But, as of right now, the team has indicated that it looks like at least two dates in June could go to Fort Mac. That could go as high as three.
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