Canada Archive

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Looking at the glass half-full: Assessing Canada’s 3-2 U17WWC loss to Venezuela

Marie Levasseur

Marie Levasseur

Without coming off too much like bad high-school newspaper journalism (“they did their best, but, despite their best efforts, came up short”), it’s difficult to assess Canada’s 3-2 loss to Venezuela at the quarter-final stage of the U-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica.

Canada’s most glaring problems came in the centre of the defence, where the team was punished regularly for its high line, and not being able to cope with the physical presence of Venezuelan striker Gabriela Garcia. But, we have to remember that these are girls who would are at the Grade 11 age (or maybe even less). We have to remember that defensive awareness comes at a later age than other soccer skills.

So, really, where Canada struggled on Thursday — controlling the speedy Veneuzuelan counterattack — can easily be chalked up to the inexperience of youth.

And, while it’s difficult to go out the U-17 Women’s World Cup, at least it’s better to lose 3-2 — and show some real positive offensive glimpses — than go out to one of those oh-so-Canadian 1-0 or 2-0 defeats, where the commentators will say that we showed great heart but couldn’t create many chances.
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Jones’s late defensive heroics help Canada reach U17 WC quarter-finals

Rachel Jones

Rachel Jones

When you deal with teenagers, you accept that they may screw up. But, you’re happy when they learn lessons from their mistakes.

So, would Canada’s U-17 women’s team learn from their mistakes? That is, would they be able to protect a two-goal lead this time around?

On Saturday, the Canadians were in a must-win match against U-17 Women’s World Cup Group B leader, Ghana. In fact, the African side had already clinched a spot in the quarters, while the Canadians knew that if they won their final Group B match, they’d clinch the other quarter-final spot. It wouldn’t matter how the North Korea-Germany match played out.

And, at halftime, on the strength of a Marie Levasseur brace, Canada was up 2-0.

But we’ve seen this script before. In the Group B opener, Canada had a 2-0 lead, then went through a panicked five-minute spell where the European champions were allowed to score two quick goals. Canada had to settle for a tie.
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Herdman: No Canadian free agent is worthy of taking vacant allocation spot in NWSL

Desiree Scott, left, with John Herdman at a recent Canadian Soccer Association event in Winnipeg.

Desiree Scott, left, with John Herdman at a recent Canadian Soccer Association event in Winnipeg.

When the deal was made to transfer national-team midfielder Desiree Scott from FC Kansas City of the NWSL to Notts County, the Canadian Soccer Association made the decision not to replace her spot in the American pro league.

So, this year, the Canadian Soccer Association will foot the bill for 15 players rather than the previously-agreed-to 16.

In a conference call with Canadian media ahead of the Cyprus Cup, national women’s team coach John Herdman said that Scott’s decision to make the move to England caught him by surprise. And, then he made a rather frank assessment: He didn’t feel that Canada had another free agent who would merit the 16th spot.

“At this stage, we don’t have that depth of talent. My commitment is to put the best Canadian players in that league, and I can’t make that commitment at this point.”
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Canada loses U-17 Women’s CONCACAF final in penalties

Marie Mychele Metivier

Marie Mychele Metivier

Because both Canada and Mexico had already qualified for the U-17 Women’s World Cup by winning their semifinal matches, the CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship final had the feel of a friendly.

After both teams played to a 0-0 draw in Jamaica Saturday, they went right to penalty kicks. No extra time (which is common practice at the U-17 level, as you don’t want teens playing 120 minutes). And the Mexicans triumphed in the shootout, 4-2 — as El Tri and the Canadian women shared in the schadenfreude of knowing that their American neighbours weren’t going to the World Cup.

“I’m really, really proud of the girls. If you look at what this team’s about, it’s about future national team players,” said Canadian Head Coach Bev Priestman on the Canada Soccer website. “I think losing on penalties it’s hard for the girls but ultimately, there have been some girls who stepped up in this tournament and are knocking on the door.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Canada announces roster for Czech Republic and Slovenia friendlies

Karl Ouimette

Karl Ouimette

Karl Ouimette will have the chance to earn his first national-team cap.

The inclusion of the Montreal Impact defender was the most notable item on national team coach Benito Floro’s roster for friendlies against the Czech Republic (Nov. 15) and Slovenia (Nov. 19).

The roster, announced Friday, also features three unattached players — all-time Canadian leading scorer Dwayne De Rosario, who had his contract option declined by D.C. United last week, Issey Nakajima-Farran and Stefan Cebara.

“From here to the first official games [qualifying matches], it’s important to focus on our level of play,” said Floro in a release issued by the Canadian Soccer Association. “It is necessary to pay attention in how we defend and attack so for me the best result is to take it step by step to improve our level.”
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Canada qualifies for the Women’s U-17 World Cup with win over host Jamaicans

Marie Mychele Metivier

Marie Mychele Metivier

Canada will join Mexico and Costa Rica as CONCACAF representatives at the U17 Women’s World Cup.

As winners of the CONCACAF semifinals, held Thursday in Jamaica, Canada and Mexico earned their World Cup invites. Costa Rica qualifies automatically as the host nation.

The Jamaican supporters packed the stadium in Montego Bay for the semifinal against Canada. To rally the home nation, there was no charge to watch the game.

But the Canadian scored within three minutes to give the hosts a sober reality check, and went on to a comfortable 5-0 win.

And, in the irony of ironies, the Americans, who beat Canada in their final-group stage game to earn the right to play lower-ranked Mexico in the other semifinal, suffered a major upset. Instead of taking advantage of Mexico, the Americans lost in penalties after a 1-1 draw.
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Canadian loss to Americans made all the worse because of Richards injury

Mika Richards

Mika Richards

It’s one thing to see a professional player down on the turf for a long period of time, and then stretchered off the field. But at least you can say to yourself that hey, that’s a pro on the field, (s)he knows the risks of playing the game. That’s why that person gets a paycheque.

But, when a teenage amateur player — on the field because of national pride and the chance to develop her young career — lays on the ground, it’s a lot harder to watch.

Canadian defender Mika Richards was on the turf for several minutes. And it put Canada’s 2-0 loss to the United States in a different light. Yes, Canadian keeper Rylee Foster made an outstanding double save on the ensuing American penalty kick but, with the game already lost, and Canada down to 10 players, it didn’t feel all that glorious. After all, these two teams’ final U-17 Women’s CONCACAF Championship group-stage game wasn’t a do-or-die affair; both had already qualified to move on.

Late in the match, after losing the ball to U.S. forward Mallory Pugh, Richards chased down her quarry from behind and tugged on the American’s jersey. Pugh went down, and in the process of going to the turf, her elbow looked to inadvertently crash against Richards’ face. But, replays showed that Richards was actually going down in pain before the contact was made. After the incident, Richards was motionless on the pitch for several minutes, being attended to by medical teams. Meanwhile, the referee placed the ball on the spot — after all, Richards did foul Pugh in the penalty area — and waited for the Jamaican hosts’ volunteer crews to take the injured player off the pitch. And, as Richards was strapped to the stretcher, she was sheepishly shown a yellow card for that initial shirt-tug.
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Canadians demolish T&T at U-17 Women’s Championship

Jessie Fleming

Jessie Fleming

Sure, there’s a sort of euphoria that comes with a Canadian national team winning their first two games of a major tournament by an aggregate score of 19-0.

First, there was the 8-0 win over Guatemala. And, on Saturday, an 11-0 thrashing of Trinidad and Tobago. And, so, Canada has clinched a spot in the semifinals of the CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship with two blowout triumphs in the group stage. A final group stage match against the United States will be all about group positioning.

Only the top two teams make it to the U-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica. And Canada knows it will avoid the U.S. in the semis — so these two nations are the two favourites to get the qualifying spots.

But these matches do ask some deeper questions. Not about women’s soccer in Canada, but in CONCACAF as a whole. Today, we watched Canadian forwards go through Trinidadian defenders like they weren’t there. We saw Canadians push and swarm forward with no fear of counterattack.
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Canadian U-17 women open CONCACAF tournament with rout of Guatemala

10597790115_f0d58fa767Canada gave us an indication of just how much of a walk in the park its CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship opener against Guatemala was going to be just 10 minutes into the match.

Already up 1-0, Marie Levasseur broke past the Guatemalan defensive line. And, instead of taking on the keeper one-on-one, she decided to try and pass to a trailing teammate instead. It had all the feel of a hockey empty-net attempt, when the lead forward sheepishly passes the puck to a teammate, as if it’s dirty to score such an easy goal.

The chance went all wrong.

But it didn’t matter, as Canada piled on the offence in an 8-0 win that had the feel of a team being on cruise control.
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Yallop’s return to MLS boosts Canadian content: We now have two coaches in MLS, three in NASL

Frank Yallop

Frank Yallop

Of course, a lot of the talk in Canadian soccer circles will go along the lines of “what will the Vancouver Whitecaps do now?” Until news broke Wednesday that Frank Yallop was taking the Chicago Fire job, there was an MLS-wide assumption that the former Canadian national teamer was going to come home and take over the Whitecaps.

Of course, we all know how the word “assume” breaks down, don’t we?

But, lets put aside the question of what will the Whitecaps do, and see what Yallop’s return to the MLS coaching fraternity means for Canadian soccer. We’re going to put country over club, here.

Now that Yallop is back in the realm of the employed (confirmed Thursday), he join San Jose coach Mark Watson (and Yallop’s former assistant) as Canadian coaches in MLS.

Now add to that the fact there are three Canadian coaches currently employed in NASL: FC Edmonton’s Colin Miller, San Antonio Scorpions interim boss Alen Marcina and Ottawa Fury head man Marc Dos Santos. Yes, we include Dos Santos because, even though the Fury won’t begin NASL play till 2014, Dos Santos is already working to identify players and hire his staff.

That’s five Canadian coaches in North America’s top two leagues.
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