Manitoba

Canadian women's soccer team to play June home matches in Winnipeg, Toronto

The Canadian women's soccer team will play Costa Rica in Winnipeg in June. The teams last met in February 2016 at the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament in Houston, where Canada's 3-1 win secured a berth in Rio, where the team won bronze.

The series starts in Winnipeg on June 8 before shifting to Toronto for a June 11 game

Team Canada's Desiree Scott says the squad is more experienced and ready thanks to the Olympics. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Canada's women's soccer team will host Costa Rica in a pair of June friendlies in Winnipeg and Toronto.

The series starts in Winnipeg on June 8 before shifting to Toronto for a June 11 game.

Canadian midfielder Desiree Scott, who is from Winnipeg, says she's excited to play in front of a home crowd again.

She and her teammates suited up in the city for the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2014.

"I'm very fired up. I think any time I'm coming back to Winnipeg I'm excited," Scott said.

"I know the fan support was here last time we played, was incredible, and I expect even better this time around. So always happy to come home, especially with Team Canada."

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman, Canada midfielder Desiree Scott and Manitoba Soccer Association president Peter Muir announce the Canadian women's soccer team will host Costa Rica in a pair of friendlies in Winnipeg and Toronto this summer. (Bartley Kives/CBC)

There are some changes to the squad since then, with Melissa Tancredi, Marie-Ève Nault and Rhian Wilkinson announcing their retirements from the national team last month, but "the core group is still there" and they're even more experienced, Scott said.

"We now have the experience of playing in an Olympic game. The young ones didn't necessarily have that major tournament experience [before], but now they do," she said.

The friendlies are the latest addition to a fixture list that sees the fourth-ranked Canadians defend their title at the Algarve Cup in early March in Portugal before playing No. 8 Sweden on April 6 in Trelleborg, Sweden, and No. 2 Germany in Erfurt, Germany, on April 9.

The Canadians will open play at the Algarve Cup against No.15 Denmark, No. 23 Russia and No. 38 Portugal.

Canada last played No. 29 Costa Rica in February 2016 at the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament in Houston, winning 3-1 to secure its berth in Rio, where it went on to win bronze.

"Getting to play in front of Canadian fans is really special, so we are obviously thrilled to be coming home for another June two-match series," coach John Herdman said in a statement.

"We'll be coming off away games against both Sweden and Germany, Olympic silver and gold medallists respectively, so we're confident the team will be in good shape to produce a winning performance for both sets of fans."

Tickets for the June 8 game in Winnipeg at Investors Group Field go on sale via Ticketmaster on March 8 at 10 a.m. Winnipeg time. Groups of 10 or more may purchase tickets through CanadaSoccer.com/tickets starting today.

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman, who attended the announcement of the Canada vs. Costa Rica game at IGF, said he's thrilled to see the women's national team return to the city.

"We're looking forward to hosting this calibre of event," said Bowman, who was asked whether Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister — who spends several weeks a year at a vacation property in Costa Rica — will have divided loyalties.

"It is being hosted in Winnipeg and at Investors Group Field and I have no doubt he'll be cheering for Canada," Bowman said.

With files from The Canadian Press and Bartley Kives

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