24 countries. Six cities. One goal. FIFA Women’s 
World Cup

Soccer fever is set to hit Ottawa this summer. We are hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup games at TD Place Lansdowne from June 7-26. Kendra Lee gives us a brief history of the game and makes suggestions on “must-see” tournaments. Also included is an excerpt from Councillor 
David Chernushenko’s ongoing Glebe Report column, which puts forth the reasons why Women’s World Cup is our chance to look beyond gender in sports.

24 countries. Six cities. One goal. FIFA Women’s 
World Cup
FIFA Women’s World Cup is our chance to look beyond gender in sports

24 countries. Six cities. One goal.

By Kendra Lee

15747024588_cc8a4f60cd_hThe FIFA Women’s World Cup is coming to Canada this summer and Ottawa is one of six cities that will host games in June. Games will be played in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and Moncton. Many of you will be familiar with the Men’s World Cup and will have watched the matches that were played in Brazil last summer. Of course the men’s game has a long history, but the women’s game is becoming just as strong in a short time. The first women’s competition was held in 1991 and operates on the same four–year schedule as the men’s tournament.

In its short history, the Cup has been won by four different nations; twice by the United States in 1991 and 1999, back-to-back by Germany in 2003 and 2007, once by Norway in 1995, and once by Japan in the last tournament in 2011. Canada has fared well in the tournament over the years coming in at fourth place in 2003. Currently Canada is ranked eighth in the world according to FIFA rankings. Forward Christine Sinclair is among the top goal scorers in the tournament’s history.

FIFA representatives have already been working hard to organize this year’s event. Games will be played at TD Place Lansdowne from June 7 to 26 and organizers have recruited hundreds of volunteers to make it happen. According to Valerie Hughes, FIFA’s Ottawa General Manager, “We’ve had an overwhelming response. We have about 300 volunteers who have exceptional experience to help us put on the best competition. We’re really lucky for not only their willingness to help, but the expertise that they bring and the motivation that they bring. It’s phenomenal.”

The tournament promises to be a boost for the local economy as well. Hughes mentions that “the Canadian Sport and Tourism alliance projects that Ottawa itself will generate $16 million in economic output.” This a great opportunity to showcase our local businesses on an international level. “We’ll be drawing in visitors from around the world. They’ll get to see the world’s greatest game played live as well as experience the great Ottawa hospitality.”

Game guide

The games of the World Cup will be played in six cities across Canada. The Tournament is divided into six groups and Ottawa will host four games from Group B, one from Group E, one from Group F, two rounds of 16 games and one quarter final game. As far as which countries will play in the Capital, this was decided by a random draw so unfortunately Canada’s National Team is currently not scheduled to play in Ottawa. Depending on how they do in their group, we could possibly see them in action in Round 16 or Quarter Final stages. Tickets for the Ottawa games can be purchased as a package for all nine games, but if that many matches seems a bit daunting, there are a few games that are not to be missed. So for which days in June should you definitely be at TD Place Lansdowne? Valerie Hughes has some suggestions.

Sunday June 7: Norway vs Thailand (Group B) and Germany vs Cote D’Ivoire (Group B)
On the first match day of the tournament, Ottawa will see two games back to back. “Our home opener will be a great one to see. Norway and Germany are so strong and they’re going to be taking on two newcomers to the Women’s World Cup,” Hughes says. The last tournament in Germany included 16 teams, whereas this year’s competition has grown to include 24 teams. Cote D’Ivoire and Thailand are two of those new teams. And where you might think they have less experience on the international stage, don’t count out the underdogs like Cote D’Ivoire “because they’re kind of unknown and they don’t play a lot of international games. They’re going to be a strong team but you don’t know how strong they’re going to be.”

Thursday June 11: Germany vs Norway (Group B)
The second match day also features Cote D’Ivoire vs Thailand but if you must choose only one game for that day, better make it Germany vs Norway. “Germany is ranked number one in the world. Norway is ranked 11th in the world. Germany and Norway have a long-standing rivalry. When you look at their games against one another, they’re pretty even. In 2013 at the European Championship, they played a very tight game where Germany ended up winning the game in penalty kicks.” Expect this to be a close game with lots of excitement and emotion.

Wednesday June 17: Mexico vs France (Group F)
“On the third match day we get to see France, who is again ranked number three in the world, go up against Mexico.” Expect this to be a very popular game. Mexico plays in the same soccer confederation as Canada, CONCACAF, so whether you see this as a positive or not, there will be a lot of people taking in this game. France has some very strong, skilled players like 20-year-old Claire Lavogez, who will make this game interesting to watch.

Friday June 26: Quarter Final Round
The teams who play in the Quarter Final round will be decided by who wins earlier in the tournament. The top two teams from each group plus four wild-card teams will move on to the knock-out Round 16, and the ones that survive will move on to the Quarter Finals. Expect this game to be intense. “In the Quarter Final we could see the winner from the group of death, Group D, which is being played in Winnipeg and has powerhouses like the U.S., Sweden and Australia.” And with tickets to this game being 75 per cent sold already, the atmosphere is sure to be electric!

Whether you come to all nine games in Ottawa or only one, tournament organizers urge you to just be part of it. “We want people to not let this opportunity pass them by. Come experience this live and be part of something huge. Many of us likely watched the men’s World Cup last summer on TV, but you can actually be part of the crowd and see everything live. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of something greater than all of us.”

Kendra Lee is an ESL teacher and an avid soccer fan who is excited to be able to attend a FIFA Women’s World Cup game right here at Lansdowne.


FIFA Women’s World Cup is our chance to look beyond gender in sports

By Councillor 
David Chernushenko

The 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup is coming to Canada, to Ottawa and to Capital Ward this June! I am excited. Very excited. I’ve purchased two passports to all the Ottawa games and I’ll be watching as many as I can get away with (maybe checking a few scores during the slow moments of some meetings) because I love soccer. I love women’s soccer.

In my final year at Queen’s University, when it became painfully obvious that my own competitive days were numbered, a friend recruited me as co-coach of the women’s soccer team. They – we – went on to win the Ontario championship in 1984.

It’s instructive to take that little nostalgic trip back in time because, back in the 1980s, there was no national tournament for women’s soccer. This was as far as you could go, so who knows what our Queen’s squad was capable of that year.

In fact, ours was not even an official team. We were a “club” with virtually no funding. And our best players were not being scouted for the national team, because there was no national team. There was also no World Cup for women – that would not come until 1991.

Our women, like all female soccer players at that time, were playing the beautiful game just for the love of it – for the fun, the endorphin rush, the physical fitness, the camaraderie and the break from studying. And there was nothing wrong with that: girls and women playing sports just because they wanted to.

But let’s not kid ourselves. Like the women’s hockey team, or those who practised any other rough and tumble “men’s” sports, these were not typical athletes. They were among the very small percentage of university-aged women still engaged in regular physical activity, and they did have to endure their share of cheap shots and comments about whether it was appropriate to get sweaty, muddy, bruised and even bloodied.

Fast forward to 2015: I am glad that so much has changed, but I am saddened that it has not changed enough. Still the percentage of females engaging in sports or any other form of regular physical activity plummets as soon as girls reach their teens. There are all kinds of reasons: body awareness, peer pressure, cultural norms, time pressures, etc. But at the heart of it, regular physical activity is still seen as more of a “guy thing.” That’s especially true of sports played with the intensity and frequency required to trigger the full range of known physical and mental health benefits, as well as that all-important self-confidence boost that, research shows, comes from being physically fit. It’s hard to believe, with such great Canadian role models in Christine Sinclair, Haley Wickenheiser, Clara Hughes, Eugenie Bouchard, the Dufour-Lapointe sisters and others, but it’s a fact.

So here is what I am hoping Canada/Ottawa/Capital Ward will get from hosting this summer’s marquee soccer event:

  • A chance to marvel at the speed, dexterity, power and focus of the players we will see.
  • A chance for girls and older women to be inspired by what they see, and translate that into a summer of getting fit or staying fit.
  • A chance for all of us to wonder why we only pay good money to watch men’s professional sports, and for corporate sponsors to ask themselves why they aren’t putting more money into women’s sports.
  • A chance for sports commentators and writers to get through the whole tournament without making gratuitous comments about any player’s or female coach’s looks, hair, body type or wardrobe. If you wouldn’t say it about Ronaldo, don’t say it about Marta!
  • And finally, a chance for us all to look beyond gender entirely and to be the great hosts and fans I know we can be.
  • David Chernushenko is the Councillor for Capital Ward. Email info@capitalward.ca or call 613-580-2487 with questions. This is an excerpt from his ongoing column in the Glebe Report.


    Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

    Comments are closed.