VANCOUVER, B.C. – Canadian Women’s National Team players Melissa Tancredi and Erin McLeod recently made an appearance at the Soccer Express store in Coquitlam. The London, Olympic bronze medal winners were there to promote an early Christmas Sale. During a break from signing autographs, and posing for pictures with fans the pair had time for a discussion on a wide-range of soccer subjects.
What have you been up to since the Olympics ended?
Erin McLeod: I think a lot of us have been doing appearances, speaking engagements, and actually lot of coaching recently in West Vancouver. Of coursing training, hitting the gym, and getting on the field as much as we can.
Are you surprised by all the fan support and attention you’ve received since winning a bronze medal?
Melissa Tancredi: It was a bit surprising at first just to know the numbers that watched and now it’s just amazing to be able to go anywhere, and be recognized, and have people talk to you about the game. It’s a pretty surreal feeling but were proud that our game kind of opened up soccer to our country, it was a pretty cool moment for us.
Speaking of the big game, where you given any type of warning or indication that referee Christiana Pedersen might call you for holding on to the ball too long?
Erin McLeod: The linesman at halftime basically said hurry up my kicks and I thought she was referring to my goal kicks. If you watch the rest of the second half I hurry up my goal kicks. Obviously that’s what I thought she was talking about. I didn’t get a formal warning from her or a yellow card or anything like that.
Do you think any of the opposing players such as, Abby Wambach were in the referee’s ear?
Erin McLeod: Yea, Abby was beside her all game long and I definitely think she was in her ear… but at the end of the day the referee should be making her own decisions whether someone is in her ear or not.
Is it common for players to do this during a game?
Erin McLeod: I think it happens all the time to be honest. If I was a referee I would turn around and give them a yellow card and tell them to stop talking to me. Normally that’s what happens, and I think it’s unfortunate, she should have demanded more respect from the beginning of the game but it is what it is. You can’t blame Abby Wambach for being in her ear and her making calls in the U.S.’ favor.
Melissa what happened in the 55th minute when your foot collided with Carli Lloyd’s head?
Melissa Tancredi: Yes ok, for the record I did not do that on purpose and if I did she would have some problems. A lot of Americans have asked me that exact question and for some reason Canadians don’t care. It wasn’t purposeful, I wasn’t even looking at her, and I didn’t even know she was under me honestly. It just so happens I did fall on her but it wasn’t on purpose and she wasn’t injured thankfully.
Have you talked to her since?
Melissa Tancredi: No, I haven’t talked to any of them. I haven’t talked to her about it, and what’s there to talk about. If she wants to talk about anything sure, call me. I don’t know there’s not really much to talk about.
Were you surprised that you weren’t suspended by FIFA?
Melissa Tancredi: I’m not surprised because it wasn’t done on purpose at all, and you can tell that there was no malicious intent. I understand I play physical but my physicality to win the ball is different than perceiving me trying to injure somebody away from the ball.
There was an actual suspension to your captain Christine Sinclair, what are you thoughts on that?
Erin McLeod: I think it’s unfortunate the way that things happened after the U.S. game. We were all extremely emotional and I think the things that we said were out of emotions and it’s a reporter’s job to be there in the heat of the moment. I think it’s unfortunate the way that things went down. There was a lot of controversy in that game as far as the referee’s decisions and what Christine said. I thought the way that she handled it was with the utmost class. She just took it and she’s suspended for four games and she’s just going to keep going. I don’t think she has any regrets, but I think at the end of the day it was just emotional.
Do you think Sinclair was excluded as final candidate for FIFA Women’s Player of the Year because of what happened in Manchester?
Melissa Tancredi: I honestly don’t know why FIFA doesn’t have her in the top three. I think Sincy’s been one of the top three best players in the world for the past three years in my opinion and this year by far the best person on the field in my eyes. She’s done a lot for the sport, she’s done a lot for our country and she played her butt off this season. It’s unfortunate to see she’s not being recognized but that’s not going to stop her or us from trying to work harder next year to get her that spot.
Erin McLeod: Melissa was telling me yesterday that Marta said that she (Christine Sinclair) should get it and I think that she has so much respect from all the players around the country and I think everyone knows that she deserves it and I think that speaks for itself.
What are your thoughts on the new women’s professional soccer league?
Melissa Tancredi: It’s a very cool experience and opportunity for not only Canadians, but Mexicans as well to show their talent on a North American stage. I think it’s huge especially after the Olympics with what soccer has done for every single country around the world. It blew up in the audience numbers and everything. What a smart move to put in a league right now, and to have us playing in it. It’s going to give us games all year around. It’s going to give us high training locations and high training quality opponents as well. I think it’s huge for us, and the U.S., and Mexico, and to keep it competitive as well.
Will either of you play on any of the eight teams in the league?
Erin McLeod: Yea, we’re obviously hoping to at some point or another. I think they will be making those decisions in the next couple of weeks.
Will you play on the same team like you did for Dalsjofors in Sweden?
Melissa Tancredi: Probably not. We’re not looking at playing on the same team, we’re just looking to play. That was a unique experience in that they had us both pinned down the year before. They wanted both of us and it was a cool experience, Carm (Carmelina Moscato) came on board as well. There will be at least two Canadians on each team so there’s an opportunity to play with my teammates which is pretty cool for me and exciting.
If you’re healthy, and continue to play at a top-level will you play in the 2015 World Cup in Canada?
Erin McLeod: Most definitely.
Melissa Tancredi: If we’re both healthy and at the top-level absolutely why not.
Are you disappointed that the Canadian Soccer Association has not scheduled any friendlies to promote the team coming off the London, Olympics?
Erin McLeod: Yea, I think moving forward we’re going to be as players more pro-active and having that in kind of in our system. After any type of big tournament like the Olympics, or World Cup we should have something similar to what the U.S. has set up like a tour around the country and that’s mostly dedicated to the fans and especially now that we had such a great following after this Olympics. I think that’s something that should be setup and I really hope that the CSA will look to schedule that in. To speak on that, the CSA has really stepped up and they want to be a big part of this league next year which I don’t want to say is about time, but it is. They’ve really stepped up and I think 2015 is something to look forward to.
Check out more of Harjeet Johal’s work at http://harjournalist.wordpress.com/.
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