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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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How we see the NWSL Final: Portland (Team Canada) vs. WNY Flash (Team USA)

Karina LeBlanc

Karina LeBlanc

Outside of the family members of Canadians Jodi-Ann Robinson and Bryanna McCarthy, its hard to imagine that too many people on this side of the border will be cheering for Western New York Flash to beat the Portland Thorns in Aug. 31′s NWSL final.

After all, the Flash is home to Abby Wambach, the player who reminded referee Christina Pedersen about the time-wasting rule in the 2012 Olympic semifinal between Canada and the United States. Pedersen’s ensuing call against Canadian keeper Erin McLeod shifted a game that Canada was winning 3-2 at the time — and helped the Americans get the game to extra time, where they won it. Wambach has further endeared herself to Canadian supporters with her criticism of the decision to play the 2015 Women’s World Cup on artificial turf, a move endorsed by FIFA and which was part of Canada’s bid package.

Wambach, whether she cares or not, is seen as about as anti-Canadian as a foreign sporting figure can be in this country. So, in our eyes, that makes her No. 1 seed Flash, which hosts the final thanks to a 2-0 semifinal win over Sky Blue FC, as the brash U-S-A! U-S-A! group.

Robinson and McCarthy are depth players for the Flash, so that Canadian cheer-for-our-own urge is lessened.

Meanwhile, even though Alex Morgan — who scored the U.S. winner in that Olympic semifinal — plays for Portland, it is clearly Canada’s team. Christine Sinclair didn’t score in the Thorns come-from-behind 3-2 extra-time semifinal win over FC Kansas City, but Canada’s all-time leading scorer netted eight times for Thorns this season.
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Herdman on Canada’s women’s team: I am looking for strikers

John Herdman

John Herdman

Wanted: Strikers. Requirement: Canadian passport or lineage (we’ll help with the passport).

That’s the clear message coming from Canadian women’s national team coach John Herdman. In a conference call with media Thursday, he said the country’s striker shortage is a massive problem.

“If anyone in Canada has players up front, there’s definitely some shirts available,” Herdman said.

Going into the 2015 Women’s World Cup, which will open in exactly two years at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium, Herdman said he has a team that, based on the core of his roster, will have an average age of 31. He said that statistics show that the World Cup champs usually have an average player age of 27 to 28. He needs to bring youth into the team, and he desperately needs to find secondary scoring behind Canada’s all-time leading goal-getter, Christine Sinclair.
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As Canada defends against charges of racism, Quebec flouts turban policy

quebec colourOn Monday, Canadian-American forward Sydney Leroux tweeted and accused Canadian fans of using racial slurs against her. It was later clarified that she wasn’t talking about Sunday’s emotionally-charged women’s friendly at BMO Field between Canada and the United States, but the 2012 Olympic qualifying tournament in Vancouver.

The U.S. Soccer Federation made no complaint in 2012, so Leroux’s accusations of racism in Canada should blow over. Or, should have blown over. But, just hours before Leroux’s tweet, the Quebec Soccer Federation voted to ignore a Canadian Soccer Association directive, which asks its provincial members to allow Sikh headgear on the pitches.

That directive was issued to force Quebec’s hand, as the provincial organization continued to ban turbans, even though they’re allowed in other parts of the country.

So, it’s hard for Canadians to be indignant about racism claims when our second-largest province makes a high-profile decision that makes headlines around the world. Seriously, you Google “turban” and “soccer” and you’ll find pages and pages of links to stories about the Quebec turban ban.

Awesome, in a way that a car crash is awesome.
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Herdman “really disappointed” with Canadian women’s loss to the U.S. on home soil

Canada's Desiree Scott, left, tries to challenge American Tobin Heath. PHOTO: CANADA SOCCER/PAUL GIAMOU

Canada’s Desiree Scott, left, tries to challenge American Tobin Heath. PHOTO: CANADA SOCCER/PAUL GIAMOU

The atmosphere was something special; a sold-out BMO Field was the stage for Canada and the United States’ rematch from the London Olympics.

Despite the record turnout the result was once again a losing one for Canada, as the U.S. took over in the second half and utilized its transition game to score three goals in the final 20 minutes to pick apart the Canadian defence, winning 3-0.

Canada managed to neutralize the Americans’ two stars — Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan — in the first half as the U.S. barely created any opportunities. Canada was not able to create much either but, eventually, the U.S. broke Canada down and that left coach John Herdman disappointed.

“The last 30 minutes of the game really caused us a few problems. The U.S. finally got Morgan released and that was the game plan — to keep Morgan and Wambach quiet,” said Herdman.

“We said that the U.S. will hurt us in transition. They score an average three goals against Canada a game throughout our history and did it again today, so I’m really disappointed to be honest.”
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Quon explains her decision to swap her U.S. jersey for a Canadian one

Rachel Quon

Rachel Quon

Although Sunday’s “rematch” against the United States is significant in the collective conscious for Canadians, national women’s national team coach John Herdman is looking at the match differently.

Herdman has stated that, despite this being an important match that stirs up emotions from last summer, the ultimate goal is to prepare for the women’s World Cup in 2015, which will be hosted by Canada. As a result, he will utilize a different look to gauge what kind of group he has moving forward and that includes moving younger and newer players into the line-up.

One possible addition to the roster has stirred up interest and questions more than any other – possibly because she is born in the country of its upcoming opponent.

Canada raised some eyebrows by adding U.S.-born-and -raised Rachel Quon to the roster for Sunday’s friendly. She currently plays with the Chicago Red Stars in the National Women’s Soccer League and has represented the U.S. on U-17 and U-20 World Cup teams.

It was announced earlier this week that Quon, 22, has a family connection that allows her to play for Canada — but why did she decide to make this move despite already being a part of best programs in women’s international soccer?
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Quon’s stunning switch highlights Canada roster for June 2 BMO friendly

Rachel Quon

Rachel Quon

For months, Canadian national team coach John Herdman has been lamenting the women’s national team’s lack of wing players, and how he needs to find young players who can bring width to the side.

Enter Rachel Quon. In what has to be described as a surprising, maybe even a shocking switch, the former U.S. national team prospect is changing shirts. Quon, ironically, could be set to make her Canada debut in June 2‘s friendly against the U.S. at BMO Field — pending FIFA approval. On Wednesday, she was named to the roster for that June 2 game.

Quon, a fullback, was a standout with Stanford University, a regular for the Chicago Red Stars, played for the Americans at the U-20 World Cup in 2010, and started every game for the U.S. that same year at the CONCACAF U-20 Championships. She has been part of the U.S. national-team program since she was 14. She was born in Illinois. On the surface, you’d find nothing that links her to Canada.

“I am hoping that she can give us that little something different in the fullback position,” said Herdman in a conference call.

The Canadian Soccer Association is now working with FIFA to ensure that Quon is eligible to play. Herdman said that a national coach needs to invite a player to camp before the FIFA process can begin.
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The fine lines: Labour law, competitive balance, Canadians and MLS

D.C. United's Kyle Porter: Canadian player, American club

D.C. United’s Kyle Porter: Canadian player, American club

Just a little over a month ago, The 11 ran the first two parts of a series exploring if, one day, Canadian players could ever be treated as domestic players on the U.S-based MLS teams.

We have looked at the issue from the perspective of Canadian immigration (CLICK HERE) and U.S. immigration (CLICK HERE). Now, in the third part, we ask if it would pass the labour-law sniff test and, if not, why does USL-Pro, the third division of American soccer — allow Canadians to be treated as domestics on its teams’ rosters?

The whole series was spawned after MLS Commissioner Don Garber told TSN’s Jason DeVos during a March 2 First Kick broadcast that MLS would run into labour-law issues if it changed its rules and allowed the 16 U.S.-based teams to recognize Canadians players as “domestic” workers.

The reason the third part has taken so long to complete? I talked to several major law schools in the U.S. and labour-law specialists. I made contact with MLS. But what I underestimated was that, when it came to U.S. labour law, how complex the question was. Over and over, U.S. legal experts told me that the notion of Canadians being treated as domestics on American team rosters would have them venture into a legal grey area. And that meant they didn’t want to go on the record, because there really was no true legal test for the question. In a way, I felt like I had asked Deep Thought the answer to life, the universe and everything, and he replied, “tricky.”
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The MLS “domestic” rule: Why allowing more Canadians in wouldn’t run afoul of U.S. Immigration

americanflagMLS Commissioner Don Garber has gone on the record stating that allowing Canadian players to be recognized as domestic players on the rosters of the 16 U.S.-based teams would cause legal issues south of the border for the league.

The 11 has been working to get legal opinions on the commissioner’s statement. Last week, we offered the Canadian side of the argument (CLICK HERE). Now, to the real meat of the matter — U.S. law and how it affects Canadian workers, and athletes in particular.

And the opinion that The 11 has heard is that — when it comes to U.S. immigration laws — the distinction in roster rules between the three Canadian MLS teams and the 16 American teams are solely the jurisdiction of the league. To break that down? That MLS could change the rules if it wished, and wouldn’t run afoul of U.S. immigration law. (That’s not to say changing the rules wouldn’t open up other legal issues: More on that, later.)
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