If you are like most soccer fans who live in Canada, you are probably unaware that the 2014 FIFA Women’s World Cup begins tomorrow, Saturday, March 15th. Canada has qualified for this tournament, and they begin tomorrow with their first match against Germany. The game will be broadcast live on Sportsnet World, at 10:00pm Toronto time (8:00pm Costa Rican time). Below are 3 reasons why you and your children should watch the game:
- The game will be exciting. I’ve experienced the excitement this kind of event can provide first-hand. I was the Fitness Coach for the Canadian National Women’s U17 team at the previous U17 Women’s World Cup, in Azerbaijan in 2012. Our first match against Nigeria drew over 30,000 fans to the stadium in Baku. The noise from the crowd was so loud that I had to scream to players who were standing only a few feet away from me just to make sure they could hear me. The tournament also provides a platform for a lot of future stars to display their talents. Current Canadian Senior Women’s National Team centre-back Kadeisha Buchanan starred for the U17’s at the 2012 World Cup.
- Canada not only had to qualify for this tournament, they are considered one of the favorites. Remember, to get to a World Cup means that the team must go through a difficult qualification tournament. This year, because Costa Rica are hosts, there were only 2 spots available for qualification through CONCACAF. Perennial women’s soccer powerhouse the United States missed out, losing to Mexico in their CONCACAF semi-final match. Canada, on the other hand, has been the most consistent CONCACAF nation at the U17 World Cup, having qualified for all 4 of the tournaments to date. Although they have a tough group that includes Germany, 2012 finalists North Korea, and Ghana, the writers at fifa.com had this to say about the Canadian team: “Despite suffering defeat to Mexico in the final of CONCACAF qualification, the young Canadians did not concede once in the regional tournament, losing the final on penalties after a 0-0 draw in normal time. Canada’s solid performance in qualifying suggests they will be one of the tournament favorites this time around.”
- These girls can play. And they are in better shape than you. The talent and fitness level of the players in the Canadian Women’s National Team is higher than ever. Our national programs have benefited greatly from the hiring of John Herdman, who took over as the Head Coach of the Senior Women’s team in 2011. When I worked with the National U17 team, our average Yo-Yo test score 1 month before the 2012 World Cup was 17.4 (equivalent to 1,560 metres of high intensity running per game). The fittest players in our team had scores over 19.1 (over 2000 metres high intensity running per game). When you consider that the average distance of a sprint in soccer is 10 metres, this means that the fittest players are doing more than 200 sprints per game. Trust me, there are very few soccer payers in Canada not playing professional soccer (male or female) who can get to a score of 19.1 on the Yo-Yo test – or do 200 sprints in a single game. Combine that world class fitness level with excellent technical skills, and you have an exciting and entertaining soccer team.
If you are Canadian and you have a daughter who plays soccer, at any level, you need to make sure that you watch tomorrow’s game. Any other soccer players, parents, or fans should also give the game, and the Women’s U17 World Cup tournament, a shot. You will not be disappointed. I’ll be watching.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this. Drop me a line here to get the conversation started.