Tag Archives: Cyprus Cup

Three Spring Friendlies Announced for Canada, New Umbro Kits & U-20 WWC Berth

Photo by the Canadian Soccer Association

International Friendlies

Three friendlies, including one at home, have been announced as a part of the Canadian Women’s National Team’s preparations for the 2012 London Olympics.

Canada will face Brazil on neutral grounds March 24 in Foxborough, Massachusetts at Gillette Stadium, home of MLS’ New England Revolution. The venue seems like an improbable choice given the cost and the Revolution’s 4PM ET home opener against the Portland Timbers, but all has been confirmed.

Since July 2008, Canada and Brazil have drawn in their last five matches. On two of those occasions Canada claimed championship titles, first, as goal differentials at the 2010 Torneio Internacional Cidade de São Paulo were in Canada’s favour. It was this memorable stunner by Christine Sinclair that sealed the title. Then, at the 2011 Pan American Games, a 1-1 tie in regulation was finally settled in penalty kicks with Canada taking it 4-3.

Canada and Sweden will then meet March 31 at 2PM local time in Malmö, Sweden. This past week, Sweden finished in fourth place at the Algarve Cup in Portugal following a 4-0 loss to the USA. In Canada and Sweden’s most recent matches against one another, each side has won three. Their latest encounter was a 2-1 friendly win by Canada November 22, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Canada will host China May 30 at Stade Moncton 2010 Stadium in Moncton, New Brunswick, which is a potential host venue for the 2014 FIFA Women’s U-20 World Cup and 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The Canada/China friendly will kick-off at 8PM local time, 9PM ET. Ticket sales and other details will be announced in early April.

The match against China marks the first home friendly since September 30, 2010 when Canada posted a 3-1 victory at BMO Field in Toronto, which was also against China. Canada most recently played six competitive matches at home in Vancouver, British Columbia during the 2012 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifiers.

As noted by the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA), it just so happens that all three opponents in this series of friendlies have been runner-ups at the FIFA Women’s World Cup (China – 1999, Sweden – 2003 and Brazil – 2007).

In between friendlies, a portion of the CanWNT will be in residency camp for two weeks in Vancouver from April 13 to 27. Players who have signed with clubs will remain with their respective teams while only unattached players will be in camp.

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Canada Awarded Rights to Host the 2015 Women’s World Cup

Canadian Soccer Association/FIFA Trophy Tour

My apologies for such sporadic updates! Here’s a rundown of some CanWNT related news.

2015 Women’s World Cup
The Bid

After submitting their Women’s World Cup 2015 Bid Book on February 11, the anti-climactic announcement came on March 3 when the FIFA Executive Committee officially named Canada as the host of the seventh WWC tournament. Their lone competitor, Zimbabwe, withdrew its bid a day earlier. The tournament will expand from 16 to 24 teams and from 32 matches to 52, reportedly running from mid-June to mid-July. Canada will also stage the 2014 U-20 WWC. Canada previously bid for the 2011 WWC, but hosting rights went to Germany.

2014 and 2015 will mark the fourth and fifth World Cups that Canada has hosted, previously being the site of the 1987 U-17 World Cup, the inaugural U-19 Women’s World Cup in 2002, and the U-20 World Cup in 2007.

A minimum of six cities were required in the bid submission. The seven current candidates include Edmonton, Alberta; Halifax, Nova Scotia, Moncton, New Brunswick; Montreal, Quebec; Ottawa, Ontario; Vancouver, British Columbia; and Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Notably absent from the bid (yet got more press attention than cities actually interested in hosting) is Toronto, who will be busy staging the 2015 Pan American Games July 10-26 and the ParaPan American Games August 7-14. Toronto was reportedly included in the initial bid process, but Tourism Toronto eventually declined to take part. However, the opportunity to become a host city is still open. The CSA General Secretary Peter Montopoli revealed that if Toronto changed its decision then, “they have to follow up and be a part of everything that everybody else has gotten to this point and this stage right now.”

Ian Troop, CEO of Pan Am Toronto 2015, told The Globe and Mail,

Yes, there were discussions [with the Canadian Soccer Association]… It comes down to logistics. The issue is practicality; we have to take into consideration the need to prepare the site for the Pan Am sports program as well as accommodating the professional [soccer] team’s schedules… This is a great opportunity for six other markets in Canada to take advantage of a FIFA tournament. Plus those markets will have the opportunity to enhance their own infrastructure because of it.

If hosting duties in 2015 do not pan out for Toronto or other cities interested in hosting, they could still potentially be the site of U-20 WWC matches a year earlier.

Official host cities will be announced in late 2011 or early 2012 pending FIFA site inspections of stadium facilities and other local infrastructures this fall, including “the airport, transportation routes, accommodations and restaurants”. It’s widely reported that stadiums require a capacity of at least 20,000.

In support of the 2014 U-20 WWC and 2015 WWC, the federal government has pledged funding for up to $15 million in operating costs. While candidate host cities have slightly different budget structures depending on local funding, the official bid guidelines suggests $2.75 million to be provided by the province, the city to contribute $400,000 in cash and in-kind services along with the $25,000 bid fee, and for the province and city to spend a combined $100,000 for a local “World Cup cultural festival.”

Montopoli also highlighted the budget forecast: the two WWC are expected to break even; the operating budget for the U-20 WWC is between $15 and $20 million while the WWC will cost $40 million; other sources of funding include sponsorships, ticket sales and a FIFA subsidy for the youth tournament. Not included in the budget is $1 billion in infrastructure upgrades.

The Venues
Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, which famously hosted the 2002 U-19 WWC finals between Canada and the US in front of a sold out crowd, is the largest facility in the bid, seating 60,000. While the stadium requires a minimum of $100 million in renovations, the seating capacity makes it an ideal site for big games like the semi-finals and quarter finals. Commonwealth Stadium has also been noted as a potential championship game host.

Halifax requires a new stadium to be built. A $100,000 feasibility study is currently in progress.

The yet to be built stadium in Moncton Stadium, on the campus of the University of Moncton, features a natural grass surface. The stadium opened in 2010 to host the IAAF World Junior Championships in Athletics. While the venue has a permanent seating capacity of 10,000, there are plans to double that number. A preliminary schedule has the city hosting four teams for seven games; Shane Porter, Moncton’s director of festivals and special events, points out that as many as nine games could take place in the city.

Home of the NASL Montreal Impact (and the 2012 MLS expansion team), Saputo Stadium will undergo an estimated $22 million in upgrades, expanding from 13,000 seats to 20,000.

In Ottawa, Frank Clair Stadium, located in the “multi-purpose sports and entertainment facility” Lansdowne Park, requires major renovations, including installing stands on the south side. However, redevelopment of Lansdowne, which also features new condominium and retail space, is threatened by a lawsuit claiming that the project was illegally approved. The hearing has since been delayed until June 2011. With the WWC, Ottawa is projected to attract more than 20,000 visitors and to generate $12 million in economic activity.

The early budget by Vancouver city council indicates that $400,000 will be spent over four years in preparation for the WWC, while the city’s sport hosting budget will provide $100,000 each year from 2012 to 2015. The Whitecaps MLS franchise is among the local stakeholders reportedly involved in the bid process. BC Place Stadium, which features “FIFA-approved Polytan artificial turf”, appears to be another frontrunner in hosting the 2015 WWC final given its 55,000 seating capacity. The stadium is currently undergoing a $563 million renovation, which includes a new retractable roof.

Winnipeg’s new football stadium, located on the campus of the University of Manitoba, is set to be completed in the summer of 2012. Hector Vergara, Executive Director of the Manitoba Soccer Association, pointed out that the artificial turf will not be an issue, “For the Women’s World Cup, FIFA will allow two-star synthetic grass fields… For the senior men’s (World Cup), it’s a requirement that it has to be natural grass.”

2011 Women’s World Cup
The FIFA/OC Welcome Tour for Germany 2011
is in the midst of visiting countries participating in this summer’s WWC. On March 11, Ottawa was the tenth stop of the 15 country tour. OC President Steffi Jones also symbolically passed down the torch from the current WWC hosts to Canada, who will stage the tournament in 2015.

Canada and Germany will open the 2011 WWC June 26 at Olympic Stadium in Berlin. At the moment, over 60,000 of the 75,000 tickets have been sold for the opener, breaking the previous 44,500 attendance record for a women’s soccer match in Europe, which was set on April 22, 2009 when Germany played Brazil in Frankfurt. The tournament runs until July 17 with matches played in 9 stadiums across the country.

Canadian fans will be able to catch all the WWC games on CBC and Rogers Sportsnet. “For the first time in history every match of the tournament… will be broadcast live in Canada.” CBC will air all Canadian matches live, as well as 3 of 4 quarter-finals, a semi-final, the third place and championship games. Rogers Sportsnet will air live coverage of non-Canadian group matches, the other quarter-final match, and several encore broadcasts. Telelatino (TLN) will also be airing all 32 matches.

As reported back in September, AllWhiteKit got an exclusive tip about the possibility of two Canadian home friendlies before the WWC. With the USWNT hosting Japan May 14 and 18, along with another friendly on June 5 (possibly against Mexico), I wouldn’t be surprised if Canada was to play at least one of those teams.

Following the 2011 WWC
Canada will host a friendly against Germany in late 2011. The 2012 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament for the 2012 London Olympics will also be played in Canada.

Finally, you need some of this in your life: Barbra Streisand- CanWNT dance

Things happened
World No. 6
FIFA released the latest Women’s World Rankings
on March 18. Canada reached a historic high of sixth place after earning 54 points and jumping 3 spots, more than any other nation. Since the last ranking in November 2010, Canada has compiled 8 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss. The top 3 remains unchanged with the USA, Germany and Brazil respectively, while Japan moved up 1 spot for a team high fourth place, overtaking Sweden in the process. France, Korea DPR, Norway and England round out the rest of the top 10.

China’s Four Nations Tournament
Canada kicked off the 2011 season competing in the Yongchuan Cup Four Nations Tournament in China, January 21-25. The opening match was a thrilling 3-2 comeback victory against China. After falling 2 goals behind in the first half, Melissa Tancredi scored in the 56′, and then assisted on Christine Sinclair’s equalizer in the 80′. During the dying moments of stoppage time, the pair combined again for Sinclair’s game winner in the 94′.

The CanWNT record 11 game unbeaten streak (9W, 2D) came to an end with a 2-1 loss to the USWNT. This was their first defeat since the September 15, 2010 5-0 drubbing by Germany. Lauren Cheney opened the scoring in the 54′ while Tancredi answered back just two minutes later. Lindsay Tarpley’s goal in the 71′ would prove to be the difference maker.

Sinclair notched her third goal of the tournament when she barrelled past the Swedish defence to take the closing game 1-0. The US took home the top prize, while Canada finished in second place, followed by China and Sweden.

Front page of the sports section
News of head coach Carolina Morace’s resignation following the 2011 WWC hit headlines on February 4. Days later, details of ongoing compensation disputes between the CanWNT and the Canadian Soccer Association came to light. In support of their coach, the team threatened to boycott international competition if the issues between Morace and the CSA weren’t resolved. While Morace’s tenure is yet to be sorted out, the boycott was eventually lifted on February 25 just days before to the Cyprus Cup.

Cyprus Cup champions (again)
With an all-time record of 13 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss at the tournament, the CanWNT claimed its third Cyprus Cup title. Staged from March 2-9, group play started off with a pair of 1-0 wins over Scotland and Italy with goals by Emily Zurrer and Jonelle Filigno respectively. Veterans Sinclair and Brittany Timko then lifted the team to a 2-0 victory over England.

Zurrer and Filigno would strike again during the championship match against the Netherlands. In the 20′, Filigno intercepted a defensive pass to put Canada ahead 1-0. The game was forced into extra time when the Dutch left back, Claudia van den Heiligenberg, tied things up in the 40′. Starting goalkeeper Erin McLeod was injured during a play in the 89′ and was immediately replaced by Stephanie Labbé. Just a few minutes into extra time, Matheson served a corner kick and Zurrer rebounded her own header. With her first two international goals, the 23 year-old central defender scored two game winners.

The Cyprus Cup also marked two other milestones for the CanWNT. The team debuted a 4-1-4-1, adding to their arsenal of other formations (4-4-2, 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1) that Morace has been experimenting with. They also wore their new Umbro kits for the first time. The jerseys will be available in stores June 1, so get ready to suit up, fans!