Japan’s stunning performance in WWC will have an effect in Canada By Steven Sandor Posted on July 10, 2011 3 0 554 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Fielding a team that’s mostly made up of players from the L-League — which can be called semipro, at best — Japan stunned Germany 1-0 after extra time at the Women’s World Cup. The overwhelming favourites are out at the quarter-final stage. But the Japanese upset will send shockwaves through the Canadian Soccer Association as well. Japan has smashed the idea that the European professionalism can’t be matched. Yes, you can argue that if Japan and Germany were to play each other 100 times, the Germans would win 99 times. This Japan win was the soccer equivalent of catching lightning in a bottle. But, it gives those in the Canadian Soccer Association who have been frustrated by the poor relationship between the CSA and national women’s-team coach Carolina Morace some very useful ammunition. Morace spoke of Canadian players not having the level of competition as the European women, that they couldn’t compete when the Europeans have a level of professionalism that the Canadians can’t match. Karina MaruyamaNow, we see Japan, a national team that has just four of its 21 players plying their trades outside of the women’s L-League, take out those European-trained and oh-so-professional Germans. The woman who got the deciding goal, Karina Maruyama, plays her club football for JEF United. The men’s program plays in Japan’s second division — and is the home of Canadian midfielder Matt Lam. Midfielder Homare Sawa was named the player of the match, and she plays at INAC Leonessa, the club that provided more players to the Japan roster than any other. Japan trained at home ahead of the Women’s World Cup. Again, Japan isn’t as good as many of the European sides on paper. But it’s clear from beating the hosts and two-time defending champion in extra time that the Japanese were mentally tough. They didn’t lose focus. They didn’t revert to booting the ball down the field when the going got tough. And, ahem, most of them play in L-League, which isn’t a pro circuit. So, what does it prove? That the talk about the lack of professionalism in Canada doesn’t adequately explain our nation’s three-losses-and-out performance at the WWC.