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Breaking down Canada’s bid for the 2015 Women’s World Cup

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Canada has officially thrown its hat into the ring for the right to host the 2015 Women’s World Cup. The Canadian Soccer Association confirmed Thursday that a bid book will be presented to FIFA before the February, 2011 deadline.

While the rest of the field isn’t completed, the CSA expects competing bids from “several” other countries. But, other than the announcement that a bid is coming, there are few other specifics available about the pitch that is going to be made to FIFA.

Here is what we do know: According to the CSA, FIFA expects a “minimum of six cities” to be hosts for the 2015 WWC, that’s less than the number we see for a men’s World Cup.

The 2007 U-20 World Cup, where Canadian soccer fans set an attendance record for the youth event, saw the final awarded to Toronto’s BMO Field (ahem, “National Soccer Stadium” when hosting FIFA events, the bank doesn’t keep the naming rights for those games). Games, including a semifinal, were also held at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium. Ottawa, Victoria, Montreal and Burnaby, B.C. also were host cities.

Now, some things have changed since 2007. Edmonton has torn the grass out of Commonwealth Stadium and replaced it with the plastic stuff. BMO has gone to grass. Vancouver will have a soccer venue available at B.C. Place in 2015. Ottawa may have a new downtown stadium. And Hamilton, Ont. looks to have a new stadium in time for the 2015 Pan Am Games.

When it comes to FieldTurf, the CSA isn’t expecting there to be any issues. The CSA noted that the recent U-17 Women’s World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago had artificial fields that met FIFA specs. And, the U-20 World Cup final was played on the BMO, dammit, National Soccer Stadium FieldTurf in 2007.

What could be an issue is the Pan Am Games. Those will go from July 10-26 in Toronto and Hamilton, and both BMO Field and the new Hamilton stadium will be fully booked with events. Meanwhile. the Women’s World Cup, like the men’s mundial, normally takes place from late June through to July.

While the CSA isn’t saying which bid cities will be part of the push for 2015, it may have to go forward knowing there will be major stadium conflicts in Toronto and Hamilton. Remember that the 2002 Women’s U-19 World Championship was held in Edmonton, and was a great success — the kind of support for women’s soccer that hasn’t been seen anywhere else in Canada. If Toronto has the Pan Am Games, logic would dictate that the Canadian WWC bid may have to showcase Commonwealth Stadium as the main venue. Or, possibly, Olympic Stadium in Montreal.

“We are proud that the largest participation sport in this country for girls and women is soccer,” said Canadian Soccer Association General Secretary Peter Montopoli in a relase. “Hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 provides exceptional opportunity for the hundreds of thousands of female soccer players in Canada to be inspired by the world’s best players and to support the national team as they represent their country on the international stage on home soil.”

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