Women’s World Cup Archive

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Incoming Edmonton mayor non-committal on turf change on Clarke

Edmonton Mayor Elect Don Iveson, left, and Christine Sinclair show off the ticket prices for the U-20 World Cup. They were at Edmonton City Hall for the event launch.

Edmonton Mayor Elect Don Iveson, left, and Christine Sinclair show off the ticket prices for the U-20 World Cup. They were at Edmonton City Hall for the event launch.

Edmonton Mayor Elect Don Iveson will be sworn into the new job Tuesday. His election win was the biggest blowout the city has seen since the Oilers were winning Stanley Cups.

And, on Monday, in one of his first official duties as the city’s head, he stood at City Hall, alongside Canadian Soccer Association President Victor Montagliani and Canadian women’s national team players Carmelina Moscato, Erin McLeod and Christine Sinclair to kick off ticket sales for the 2014 U-20 World Cup. Seven of the games will be played in Edmonton.

Iveson spoke of how the previous city council decided to spend millions to upgrade Commonwealth Stadium ahead of the 2014 U-20 World Cup and the 2015 Women’s World Cup. Edmonton will host more games in the 2015 WWC than any other city, including Canada’s first two matches.

But, for Edmonton soccer fans, there is more interest in hearing what Iveson has to say about the facility next door to Commonwealth Stadium. Clarke Stadium could be a practice facility for the women’s teams that come through Edmonton in the next two years. It’s adjacent to the Commonwealth Stadium fitness centre.

FC Edmonton owner Tom Fath has put new stands in Clarke to up capacity to a little more than 4,000. But the turf is at the end of its 10-year lifespan, and it has football lines sewn in. The turf has contributed to non-contact injuries to players, including FCE’s Carlyle Mitchell and Daryl Fordyce this season. Earlier this year, NASL commissioner Bill Peterson met with outgoing mayor Stephen Mandel to discuss the turf.

Oh, and it also looks brutal to the television audience.

But will it be changed? Will it be replaced with new turf that has erasable lines which can accommodate both football and soccer but not have the sports infringe on each other? That will be up to the new council.
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FIFA visit: Will Women’s World Cup spell doom for Clarke Stadium’s old turf?

L-R: FIFA Director of Competition Mustapha Rahmy, CSA General Secretary Peter Montopoli, FIFA Director of Women's Competition Tatjana Haenni, Alberta Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation Richard Starke, Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel.

L-R: FIFA Director of Competition Mustapha Rahmy, CSA General Secretary Peter Montopoli, FIFA Director of Women’s Competition Tatjana Haenni, Alberta Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation Richard Starke, Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel.

Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium has got the thumbs-up Thursday from FIFA inspectors ahead as they continue their tour of Canada.

But Canadian Soccer Association General Secretary Peter Montopoli, who is with the FIFA contingent as they tour the Women’s World Cup 2015 sites, said that the expectation is that the training grounds used by the world’s top national sides will be up to the same quality as the artificial surfaces in the stadiums.

And that leads to an interesting question when it comes to Edmonton, a city that is hosting more Women’s World Cup matches than any other city. Clarke Stadium, the city-owned facility that’s next door to Commonwealth and adjacent to a brand new fitness centre, would be a natural fit as a practice area. It’s where FC Edmonton plays its NASL matches. But the turf on it is terrible. Seams are coming up. Football lines are sewn in. Two FCE players have been hurt by catching their cleats on the turf this season.

The Clarke turf is at the end of its 10-year life-span. Will next year’s U-20 Women’s World Cup and the 2015 Women’s World Cup mean that Clarke’s existing turf will finally be sent to a landfill? A new artificial turf, one which would allow for soccer and football lines to be applied and then removed, would be ideal.
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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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Toronto added to U-20 Women’s World Cup host-city list

fifa-logoToronto will be a host city for the U-20 Women’s World Cup.

The city was named one of four hosts for the 2014 tourney. The announcement was made at BMO Field ahead of Canada’s sold-out women’s match Sunday against the United States. The other host cities are Edmonton, Montreal and Moncton.

Toronto had been out of the mix for the Women’s World Cup and U-20 Women’s World Cup, as the city’s hosting of the Pan Am Games in 2015 made it impossible for the Ontario capital to be part of Canada’s bid.
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Pedersen’s name not on list of 40 “potential candidates” for 2015 WWC ref assignments

The 40 candidates pose with FIFA president Sepp Blatter. PHOTO: FOTONET

The 40 candidates pose with FIFA president Sepp Blatter. PHOTO: FOTONET

On Wednesday, FIFA released the names of 40 referees who are “potential candidates” for inclusion in the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

Canadian referee Carol Anne Chenard’s name is on the list. Norwegian official Christina Pedersen’s name is not.

The 40 officials are in Zurich this week, attending medicals and a seminar that begin the planning stages for the Women’s World Cup, which opens in Edmonton and closes with the final game at Vancouver’s B.C. Place.

“This is an incredibly important seminar,” Sonia Denoncourt, Head of Women’s Referees at FIFA, was quoted in a release. “It is the first real step towards choosing candidates for the Women’s World Cup 2015 in Canada. The event is two-and-a-half years away and we are starting off with a large group of female referees. We’ll be testing them and then selecting the best at the end.”
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Herdman still searching for young female players who fit his team’s changing philosophy

Kadeisha Buchanan

Kadeisha Buchanan

Canadian national women’s team coach John Herdman is trying to introduce a new formation and is attempting to change the DNA of our soccer program from one of counterattack to useful, dangerous possession.

On Wednesday, he named his roster for two upcoming friendlies — April 4 in France and an April 7 rematch of the Cyprus Cup final, which will see Canadians travel to Rotherham to face an English side that beat Big Red 1-0. Each game will give Herdman the chance to assess the work in progress.

The roster Herdman named for the two friendlies features more veterans than each of the previous two tournaments — the Yongchuan Cup and the Cyprus Cup — in which the Canadian women have participated. But defenders Ashley Lawrence, who played for Canada’s U17 and U20 teams in 2012, is on the roster. And Kadeisha Buchanan, who played in this year’s Cyprus Cup at the age of 17, keeps her place.

“Kadeisha Buchanan has grabbed a hold of a shirt and she hasn’t given it back,” said Herdman.

But, despite what he’s seen from Buchanan and Lawrence, Herdman is concerned that there simply aren’t enough Canadian youngsters who will be technically able to keep up with the improving standards of play in the international game. Read the rest of this entry »

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Canada prepares the “building blocks” for World Cup 2026

fifa-logoA couple of days ago, Canadian Soccer Association General Secretary Peter Montopoli was at Edmonton’s City Hall and was asked about a possible bid for the 2026 World Cup.

Montopoli described the hosting of the 2014 U-20 Women’s World Cup and the 2015 Women’s World Cup as “building blocks” towards a bid for 2026; and, he noted that, in July of 2015, Canada can boast that it’s hosted all the major tournaments except for the biggest one of them all.

Montopoli was in Edmonton for the announcement of the city as the host of the opening ceremonies and first game of the 2015 Women’s World Cup, so he was right to feel bullish.

There’s no doubt that there is a section of FIFA voters who are enamoured with Canada; despite the fact we don’t have the on-field profile of CONCACAF neighbours Mexico and the United States, we offer stability and certainty, without the American bluster that seems to turn so many international voters off (see: IOC vote and Chicago, 2014 Olympics, U.S. World Cup bid, 2022).
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Edmonton and Vancouver the big winners out of Women’s World Cup announcement

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(L-R) Richard Starke, Stephen Mandel, Peter Montopoli and John Herdman at Edmonton’s City Hall., Thursday.

In 2002, Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium welcomed more than 45,000 fans for the final of the then-named FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship. It still stands as the high-water mark for attendance at a women’s youth match.

Eleven years later, and that achievement still resonates with FIFA. On Thursday, the Organizing Committee for the 2015 Women’s World Cup announced that Commonwealth would host the June 6 opening ceremonies and Canada’s first two group-stage matches. Canada’s third Group A match would be played in Montreal.

The final is set for BC Place in Vancouver. If Canada finishes first in Group A, it will advance to a round of 16 match in Vancouver. If it advances, the quarterfinal will go in Vancouver. If Canada wins that match, it advances to a Canada Day semifinal at Commonwealth and, hopefully, the final, July 5 at B.C. Place.

The third-place game is set for Edmonton. The Alberta capital will host more matches (11) than any other host city.
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Toronto confirmed for rematch with USA, as time runs out to get pre-WWC friendlies into host cities

Peter Montopoli, in Edmonton in 2011.

The Canadian Soccer Association is running out of time.

In 2011, CSA General Secretary Peter Montopoli told media gathered in Edmonton for a FIFA Women’s World Cup site inspection that a number of women’s team friendlies would be booked for the host cities. “We’d like to take advantage offered to us and take on top competition,” he said. “We’d play in the stadiums at the different host cities.”

It made sense: The friendlies would help the cities prepare for the U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2014 and the big tournament in 2015.

Fast forward to today’s announcement, that the Canadian women’s team will hold its hotly anticipated rematch with the United States June 2 at Toronto’s BMO Field. Since the CSA organized a press conference in Toronto for this announcement — the venue is not a surprise. And, having the women play in Canada’s largest media market makes some dollars and cents; the Blue Jays don’t play till 10 p.m. that night (in San Diego) and Toronto FC plays the day before.

But, there’s also a real need to look at the prep for the Women’s World Cup. As Toronto isn’t a host city, this game against the Americans isn’t fulfilling a promise that the CSA has made to Canadians. Read the rest of this entry »

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Canadian national teamers look forward to the day NWSL expands north of the border

Members of the Canadian women’s team pose with local players and officials at Edmonton City Hall, Monday.

While the four members of the Canadian women’s national team who were in Edmonton Monday will all soon head Stateside to report to their NWSL teams, they still dream of playing pro soccer in their home and native land.

“We are all very proud Canadians,” said 10-year national-team veteran Rhian Wilkinson, sitting alongside Olympic bronze-medal winning teammates Christine Sinclair, Karina LeBlanc and Diane Matheson at a special media event held at Edmonton’s City Hall Monday. “We’ll all be heading to the U.S. in March, but we all want to play in our own country as soon as possible.”

The message here: The Canadian women want to see the NWSL, which kicks off in eight U.S. cities this year, expand to Canada as soon as possible.

All four were part of the 16 Canadians allocated (two per team) to the new league, with the Canadian Soccer Association picking up the tab for their salaries. LeBlanc and Sinclair will play together in Portland; Wilkinson is off to the Boston Breakers, while Matheson is headed to the Washington Spirit.
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