Canadian soccer history was on the line, but it was just not meant to be. Canada’s 3-2 loss to Venezuela in the quarterfinals was certainly a heartbreaker. However, there are many positive things to take from the team’s performance in Costa Rica at the U-17 Women’s World Cup.
Pundits and fans alike said they would have a hard time getting out of their group, because on paper, it was certainly the toughest. The red and white showed plenty of resiliency throughout group play. After conceding the lead to Germany in their opener, they didn’t make the same mistake twice, when a similar situation arose against Ghana. Bev Priestman’s team showed growth with every game they played.
This certainly bodes well for the future of Canadian soccer. A number of players will likely suit up at this summer’s U-20 Women’s World Cup. Sarah Kinzner did an excellent job of patrolling the midfield and setting up plays, while Marie Levasseur’s strength around the goal could not be denied. Other standouts, like Jessie Fleming and Sura Yekka, may even have the opportunity to represent Canada at the 2015 Women’s World Cup.
Priestman instilled a “no fear” attitude with her girls. Instead of a run and gun style, she focused on getting the players to hold the ball and make something happen. They also did well with their set plays. The best example was Canada’s first goal of the tournament, which came courtesy of Fleming on a free kick. She curved the ball into the net like a seasoned pro.
It’s never easy to see tears in the eyes of players, especially of those at this age, who are so impressionable. In time, they’ll be able to look back on this experience with fond memories and take what they learned to another level of soccer, other sports, post-secondary education or just their every day lives.
– Four players will still be eligible to represent Canada when the 2016 U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan rolls around: MF Nahida Baalbaki, MF Sarah Stratigakis, F Anyssa Ibrahim and GK Lysianne Proulx.
– Marie Levasseur led the team in scoring with four goals.
– Jessie Fleming, Sura Yekka, Easther Mayi Kith, and Sarah Kinzner all played a full 360 minutes (4 matches played) throughout the tournament.
– Canada finished with an even goal differential (7 GF/7 GA).
– Canada was the first team to score on Venezuela.
About the author:
Sandra Prusina is a journalist and broadcaster based out of Calgary, Canada. She has covered women’s soccer since 2010. She’s also a segment reporter for Olympic Broadcast Services, traveling to Vancouver, London and Sochi to work for the host broadcaster.