EDMONTON – FIFA Women’s World Cup CEO Peter Montopoli spoke to the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce Wednesday ahead of the August 5 kickoff of the U-20 Women’s World Cup.
Montopoli highlighted the growth of women’s soccer in Canada and the path that has led the country to what he calls its highest point in nearly 25 years.
“We’re ranked seventh on the women’s senior side, and a lot of that was created off the success here in 2002,” said Montopoli.
He explained how the city of Edmonton played a crucial role in raising Canada to a world power in women’s soccer and how it gave the country the opportunity to host prestigious events like next month’s U-20 Women’s World Cup and next year’s 2015 Women’s World Cup, the world’s largest women’s sporting event.
“The journey started here, and that’s why Edmonton is so important to Canadian soccer,” said Montopoli.
“It provided the opportunity for not only a promotional vehicle, but for the players themselves to believe in themselves as a team that Canada is very strong.”
In 2002, more than 48,000 fans gathered at Commonwealth Stadium to witness Canada lose 1-0 in the U-19 Women’s World Championship. It was the highest attendance for a women’s major sporting event in FIFA history. It was also the only time Canada reached the podium at a women’s FIFA event.
The tournament was also a launch pad for some of Canada’s greatest female soccer players, including Christine Sinclair and St. Albert’s Erin McLeod.
Edmonton will host six group stage matches in August for the U-20 Women’s World Cup at Commonwealth Stadium.
In 2015, the city will host more games than any other host city when the Women’s World Cup comes to Canada. Edmonton will also host the tournament’s opening match.
The U-20 tournament kicks off in Edmonton with a doubleheader on August 5 with a rematch of the 2012 final between the United States and Germany at 5 p.m. before China PR faces Brazil at 8 p.m. at Commonwealth Stadium.
Tickets for all games at Commonwealth Stadium for the U-20 Women’s World Cup are available online for as low as $10.
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