Canadian women's soccer team to host Brazil ahead of Olympics
Games scheduled in Toronto, Ottawa
Canada women's soccer team is returning to Ontario ahead of the 2016 Olympics.
The national program has announced two friendlies on home soil against host Brazil ahead of this summer's Rio Games — June 4 in Toronto and June 7 in Ottawa.
"Canada Soccer has been committed to bringing the best in the world to Canada," head coach John Herdman said on a conference call Tuesday. "We've had the U.S., we've had the Japanese, we've had the Germans and now we're bringing the Brazilians.
"It's just a great treat for the local fans."
Nine matches were played at Ottawa's TD Place during the 2015 Women's World Cup, including a quarter-final between the U.S and China, but the city has not hosted Canada since a 2-1 victory over Brazil in 2003.
Toronto, meanwhile, didn't host any World Cup games and last welcomed Canada in a 3-0 loss to the U.S. in 2013 at BMO Field.
Canada, which finished second at the recent CONCACAF Women's Olympic Championship in Houston to qualify for Rio, fell 2-1 in the World Cup quarter-finals last summer to England, while Brazil lost 1-0 to Australia in the Round of 16.
Team excited to return to Ottawa
"I think everyone's excited. The reception we received in Toronto the last time we played there was phenomenal," said Herdman. "To go to the nation's capital, I think there's a lot of homegrown players that are desperate to play there."
Veteran midfielder Diana Matheson was in her first year with the Canadian squad the last time the team played in Ottawa.
"We had a string of home games in Canada leading up to that (2003) World Cup and I remember them all very clearly," she said. "Always a different experience to play at home with home support.
"We've kind of come full circle here, which is kind of cool."
Canada, ranked 11th in the world by FIFA, won bronze at the 2012 Olympics in London, while No. 7 Brazil lost in the quarter-finals.
"We are really excited to be playing at home again," Canadian captain Christine Sinclair said in a video message from Portugal, where the team is playing in the Algarve Cup. "We've always received so much love from Canadian fans, and we are just really happy to be able to come home and play in front of a Canadian crowd once again."
Canada finished second at the recent CONCACAF Women's Olympic Championship in Houston to qualify for this summer's Games.