Nova Scotia

Girls' participation in soccer way up

With the FIFA Women's World Cup of Soccer set to kick off in Berlin Sunday, a strong Canadian squad could propel soccer to new heights of popularity with Canadian females.
There are about 360,000 female soccer players in Canada. ((CBC))
With the FIFA Women's World Cup of Soccer set to kick off in Berlin Sunday, a strong Canadian squad could propel soccer to new heights of popularity with Canadian females.

In Nova Scotia, girls outnumber boys on the soccer field.

More than 360,000 females play soccer in Canada.

That's second only to the United States and world-champion Germany, according to the Canadian Soccer Association.

Canada's women's national team has done well on the international stage, now number six in the world.

The men's Canadian team is 76th.

Some under-10 Halifax soccer players had some ideas on why the sport is growing exponentially for females.

"Boys like maybe hockey more, so girls would be trying to play soccer while boys would be trying to play hockey," said one young player.

Another put it more bluntly.

"I think girls are more talented with soccer."

FIFA World Cup

Peter Montopoli of the Canadian Soccer Association predicts yet more growth as Canada prepares to host the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2015 — billed as the largest event for women in the world.

"Absolutely our participation rates have increases steadily. Just in the last 15 years our participation increases by 120 per cent," said Montopoli. "So I think following the conclusion here in Germany, a really big ramp up for women's soccer for the next four years here in Canada."

Wendy Donaldson, a former university and international player, coaches elite players at a private soccer school in Halifax.

"So just watching a company like this grow you can sort of see people are thriving, they want the opportunity to get extra training. Some of the girls — they beg for more."

Donaldson said for her players, watching the World Cup will be mandatory.

"It's so important for them to watch the game. Because you get to see a different vantage point. You get to see people playing. And you get to connect with a player that is similar to you. You can't always get that."

Donaldson said she'll even be testing her players to make sure they're watching.

These under-10 soccer players in Halifax have no doubt Team Canada will win the FIFA World Cup in Berlin. ((CBC))
"Especially for the females here, we will be sending them the schedules and the updates and we'll be asking them questions and if they don't know they answers they'll be sprinting and doing pushups," said Donaldson.

In 2015, they'll have a front row seat when Halifax plans to help Canada host the FIFA Women's World Cup.

But for now, they hope for a Team Canada win this year, and maybe even a spot on the national team themselves some day.

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