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Practice fields an issue for Canadian Women’s World Cup organizers

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The seven cities vying to host Women’s World Cup matches don’t just to have first-rate stadiums in place; they need to ensure that visiting teams have top-class pitches on which to train.

In an interview with The 11 on Wednesday, Canadian Soccer Association General Secretary Peter Montopoli said that the organization is taking the lessons learned from hosting the U-20 World Cup in 2007 and applying them to the plans for the 2014 U-20 Women’s World Cup and the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

While a lot of the talk focuses on the readiness of stadiums in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal, Moncton and Halifax, Montopoli noted that Canada has a dearth of top-notch training facilities. The international sides don’t just need great venues in which to play their games — they need great venues in which they can prepare for matches.

“In essence, we need four very good training fields in each city,” said Montopoli. “They need to be at an international standard. There are many options, some can have grass or some can have artificial turf.”

But they need the proper facilities, from top-rate dressing rooms to places where coaches and players can meet.

And, right now, Canada doesn’t have a lot of those. In fact, Montopoli admitted that, in 2007, the CSA “had difficulty” in finding enough practice venues for the U-20 World Cup sides.

He said that the trouble in finding practice facilities for teams in 2007 is something that can’t be repeated in 2014 or 2015 — that the organizers have learned from that.

So, the debate over who gets what games may not just be a questions of the stadiums available, but of the facilities that surround them.

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