British Columbia

FIFA Women's World Cup leaves impact on girls' soccer in B.C.

Hosting the FIFA World Cup at home gives young girls playing the sport the opportunity to dream.

A number of girl soccer players will be part of the pre-game celebrations in Vancouver

Christine Sinclair of Canada and Abby Erceg of New Zealand line up with their player escorts before a match in the FIFA Women's World Cup. (Maddie Meyer - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Before she became the soccer sensation that she is today, Christine Sinclair grew up playing the sport as a young girl in Burnaby. Now, she has the opportunity to win women's soccer's greatest prize in her home province.

The magnitude of that possibility has become a source of inspiration for many of the players in the Burnaby Girls Soccer Club, Sinclair's former youth organization.

"I think it legitimizes the sport for them," Lynne Schweitzer told North by Northwest's Jason D'Souza.  

Schweitzer, coach of the Burnaby Girls Soccer Club's U-10 team, says the attention and coverage of the tournament means the girls on her team can dream of reaching similar heights in the sport themselves.

"Now they're flipping on sports in the house and women's soccer is on TV. That's a big deal. They see that there's somewhere that [they] can go on and play as an adult and be successful."

Once in a lifetime opportunity

For Schweitzer and her team, the tournament taking place at BC Place means more than just experiencing the games in their hometown. FIFA invited a number of the girls to take part in the games for the player's entrances next week.

"They've been asked to be the player escorts for the Japan–Netherlands game."

She says she expects the experience to be a once-in-a-lifetime event.

"They are very excited that it's Japan because they are the reigning world champions. They're all trying to learn a few words of Japanese."

Canada plays Switzerland Sunday afternoon in an eliminationgame. The winner will qualify for the quarterfinals of the FIFA Women's World Cup. Kick off is at 4:30 p.m. PT at BC Place stadium.

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