WINNIPEG — Footy fever is hitting a new pitch.
“I can’t put it into words,” said soccer fan Joe Oliveira. “This is awesome. To have the World Cup here, the best teams in our backyard.”
Ten to be exact. Winnipeg is one of six Canadian cities hosting a game as part of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Following the players will be thousands of fans. La Liga Soccer, a store that specializes in the beautiful game, is preparing itself for the flock.
La Liga Soccer is among those preparing for next week’s 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The sporting goods store has brought in extra USA jerseys for the tournament.
“We’re stocking up on anytime of gear, especially for the teams playing in Winnipeg,” said Cecilia Castro at La Liga. “There’s going to be a lot of people.”
But the store isn’t the only place busy getting ready. The football stadium at the University of Manitoba is making the switch to soccer, a process that started weeks ago.
“It’s definitely a big undertaking,” said Chad Falk with the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup National Organising Committee. “There’s been a lot going on. We call it organized chaos some days.”
Among the items on the to do list – cover all six, massive Investors Group Field signs outside the stadium. Brands not associated with FIFA must be masked or removed before the tournament. Investors Group Field will be renamed Winnipeg Stadium during the entire two weeks the city is hosting games.
To give their players a chance to catch a match, the Winnipeg Youth Soccer Association has made sure no local teams play during game days.
“This is a once in a lifetime event,” said executive director Carlo Bruneau. “The inspiration our players will get by watching these world class athletes is priceless.”
The first game in Winnipeg goes Monday. Canada opens the Women’s World Cup against China on Saturday in Edmonton. The tournament wraps up July 5.