VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Canada’s women’s soccer team has been in the spotlight across the country for much of the calendar year leading up to and during the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. A 2-1 quarterfinal loss to England on Saturday, June 27 was the last time we saw John Herdman and his players in action. Canadian fans hoping to see their favorite players playing on home soil once again are in for a long wait.
While the United States celebrates with a victory tour and Euro 2017 qualifiers kickoff this week, Christine Sinclair and company are set to enjoy a well-deserved break and some needed rest and relaxation. It’s been a long grind for players both mentally and physically preparing and playing in a World Cup and jumping into the NWSL following the World Cup.
The next competition for Canada will be in Natal, Brazil at the Torneio Internacional Brasilia from Dec. 9 – 21. Canada Soccer general secretary Peter Montopoli provided planned confirmation.
“Our plan is to be participating in that competition, yes.”
In terms of playing a match in Canada or possibly an away fixture across the pond, that is simply not in the works. As Montopoli explains, the Torneio Internacional Brasilia will lay the foundation for Rio 2016 Olympic Qualifying preparations, which will take place in Dallas and Houston from Feb. 10 – 21, 2016.
“I think the next match will be part of the Brazil tournament. Those are the next series of matches that will close out 2015. I think John’s reassessing the program in preparations for the Olympics. Really, now it’s about getting ready for the February tournament and he feels like Brazil is the best avenue for that.”
Canada will return to training and residency in November.
In terms of playing a friendly in Canada…. supporters may want to hibernate under their favorite duvets as it’s going to be a long wait. Spring 2016 is when you will see Canada next take on competition at home in Canada. Canada Soccer is working on a match schedule that will be announced at a much later date. Montopoli delivered the news.
“The next Canada match will be after the Olympic qualifiers. We’re preparing right now a full slate of opportunities, looking to find international teams that have the same schedule in the FIFA window that we would in order to bring them to Canada. We’ll have a full slate of home matches. We’re just not ready to announce where and when they will be.”
If Canada does indeed earn a spot at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, Montopoli insists that Canada Soccer will take all the steps necessary to organize a series of matches in Canada.
“Let’s get the team to qualify and then after they’ve qualified we’d be prepared to announce a series of matches.”
At that time, recently retired goalkeeper and women’s football pioneer, Karina LeBlanc will be honored for her outstanding playing career. Since earning her first cap in 1998, LeBlanc has worked tirelessly on and off the pitch to help advance and progress women’s soccer in Canada and globally. It is without a doubt that Canada Soccer must push the boat out and honor LeBlanc for all that she has done. Montopoli certainly agrees.
“Oh for sure,” Montopoli said. “We’ve been working with her already. We bounced around some ideas and now that she’s retired, how we can help her and in (figure out) how she can help Canadian soccer. We have some ideas we’re floating around with her. Will we honour her, we will certainly do that, but probably the best opportunity will be in the 2016 time frame.”
The focus for Canada Soccer is currently set on the Canada men’s national team as they begin the 4th Round of CONCACAF 2018 World Cup Qualifying on November 13 in Vancouver. Supporters of the women’s team will once again have to take a back seat and sit idle until the spring flowers start to bloom.
Notes: Washington Spirit midfielder Diana Matheson led Canada’s NWSL players with three goals this season.
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