The Canadian Soccer Association is letting our women down
Tuesday, April 8, 2008 | 05:57 PM ET
Women’s soccer gets no respect, and I don’t understand why.
The Canadian team is in Juarez, Mexico, trying to qualify for the Olympics and if they can beat the Mexican team in the semifinal, they’re in.
Canada has some great players – Christine Sinclair, Kara Lang, Brittany Timko, Melissa Tancredi – they’re all exceptional athletes. Sinclair, the captain, is arguably the greatest female player in the world. There aren’t too many sports in which Canadians are the best – hockey, curling, speed skating – and women’s soccer should be right up there in that group.
Which is why I am at such a loss as to why the Canadian Soccer Association hasn’t done more for its women’s program. The CSA threw its full weight behind hosting the men’s under-20 World Cup last year. No expense was spared.
But when it came to the women, the CSA turned them down flat.
You see, Canada was offered the chance to host this very Olympic qualifying tournament. Sinclair and her team-mates would have enjoyed the advantage of playing in front of a home crowd. Just think back six years to Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium, where 47,000 people packed the stands to watch Canada in the final of the women’s under-19 World Cup. It was an incredible moment in Canadian sport. The whole country was captivated by it.
It could have been the same for this Olympic qualifier.
But the CSA said it couldn’t afford the cost of hosting the event, estimated to be $300,000 to $400,000.
What made the decision even worse, adding salt to the wound, was the timing of that decision. The women found out while they were playing in the World Cup last fall in China. Boy, nothing like moral support, eh?
The fact is, this team has persevered despite the lack of support. It was only through the generosity of a private benefactor that the team was able to centralize in Vancouver for the past year.
The Canadian women’s team hasn’t played a home game in almost two years. It can’t afford to bring other teams here to play, which is the traditional responsibility of the host team. That’s simply not fair to a program and a group of women who are dedicated and successful.
The Canadian women’s team is ranked 9th in the world. The men’s team is ranked 62nd. Where do you think the focus should be?
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About the Author
Robin Brown is an award-winning journalist and host of The Inside Track on CBC Radio One. During her 17 years in sports journalism, she has interviewed some of the biggest names in Canadian sport, from Wayne Gretzky and Ben Johnson, to Cindy Klassen and Perdita Felicien, and has reported from the past six Olympic Games.
Robin's debut as a sports reporter for CBC Radio took place in 1990 in Winnipeg, where she immediately became headline news when the Blue Bombers barred her from the dressing room because of her gender.
Brown has won awards from the New York Festivals and Radio-Television News Directors Association, to name a few, and has appeared as guest host of such CBC Radio programs as The World at Six and As It Happens.
Listeners can catch Robin on The Inside Track Sundays at 1:30 p.m. (2:00 NT, 4:30 PT) on CBC Radio One and on Saturday on Sirius Satellite Radio channel 137 at 6:30 p.m. ET.
The Inside Track is now available as a podcast. To download or subscribe to the podcast, please visit: http://www.cbc.ca/podcasting/.
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