After a week filled with more ups and downs than a roller coaster at Six Flags, the Canadian Women’s soccer team captured the bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics, with a 1-0 victory over France. This was the first medal won by the women’s soccer team since women’s soccer became an Olympic sport in 1996, and the first medal won by any Canadian soccer team since 1904 when Galt F.C. won the gold medal in the men’s side at St. Louis.
The Canadian women showed incredible heart and resolve throughout the tournament, nearly pulling off a huge upset in the semifinals against the USA, the eventual gold medal winners. Christine Sinclair established herself as a bona fide superstar in women’s soccer and will be a player to watch at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, a tournament Canada is hosting.
So what does the future hold for Canadian soccer? The sport received a huge boost, thanks to the performance of these exceptional athletes. TV ratings were enormous during the semifinal match against the USA. Sinclair received accolades for her showing, and it now being touted as one of the country’s best athletes. The sport should be on the rise. And I think it will be on the rise.
The Women’s World Cup will generate even more interest, with the tournament being in Canada. Soccer is already the number one sport in terms of participation in Canada amongst children. The game is on TV more now than ever before, thanks to extensive coverage of the English Premier League, UEFA Champions League, the European Championships which drew massive ratings for TSN and the World Cup which is always a ratings winner. The women are in great shape. But what about the men?
The Canadian Men’s National team have not qualified for the World Cup since 1986. You can read more about their appearance here. What the men need to do is step up and show the same backbone the women showed at the London Olympics, and qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. With the NHL all but certain going into a work stoppage, the men’s team have a wonderful opportunity to grab the nation’s heartstrings with a berth in the World Cup. They can start that on September 7, against Panama at BMO Field in Toronto.
Suffice to say, this is a very important time for Canadian soccer. The CSA (Canadian Soccer Association) must act accordingly. Keep the national teams busy and well-funded. Make sure everything is in place and in order for 2015. The men must take the next step. No more excuses. Time for players like Simeon Jackson, Dwayne De Rosario and Julian De Guzman to show the same fortitude that Sinclair, Melissa Tancredi and Desiree Scott showed in London. Now’s the time Canada. Show your support! The men and women need you. It is time for soccer to take the next step in Canada.
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