It’s still far afield, but the complexion of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup is beginning to take shape.
Sepp Blatter was in Ottawa on Friday to announce the tournament’s six host venues. The selected cities are Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Moncton.
Vancouver’s B.C. Place is said to be in the frame to host the final. Toronto was not part of the application process, as the city will host the 2015 Pan-American Games.
It wouldn’t be a proper Sepp Blatter appearance without a bombastic statement, and the FIFA President didn’t disappoint. Blatter said the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be a massive event for Canada, adding it could have a “bigger social, cultural impact than the Olympic Games. [It] has a greater legacy than the Olympic Games. Women’s football opens the borders all over the world. This is the social, cultural, value of our game. Football is the school of life.”
Possible hyperbole aside, Canada does have a tradition of showing vociferous support for women’s soccer. A record 47,784 attendees were on hand to watch the home side fall to the U.S. in the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup final.
Last March, Canada was awarded hosting rights to the seventh edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The tournament will feature an unprecedented 24-team field, up from the 16 that had competed in the previous four Women’s World Cups.
The host team will undoubtedly have redemption on their minds. Canada bowed out in the group stage of the 2011 Women’s World Cup in humiliating fashion after three consecutive losses. New Zealand boss John Herdman assumed the reins following a messy divorce between former coach Carolina Morace and the Canadian Soccer Association.
The 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany elevated the women’s game to heights unreached since 1999. Canada’s attempt at making another lasting impression begins in earnest now.
Hope Solo alert! Alex Morgan alert! Megan Rapinoe alert! In other WoSo news from the day gone by, the star-studded Seattle Sounders Women downed the University of Washington 3-1 to round out its ad hoc exhibition season. The team will begin its USL W-League campaign May 27 away against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Video.