VAN DIEST: Canada kicks off Celebration Tour in Ottawa

The 2 Celebration Tour video games mark the primary time the staff has performed in Canada since its 2019 FIFA Ladies’s World Cup sendoff match at BMO Area in Toronto

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The Canadian ladies’s nationwide soccer staff have gotten the band again collectively in celebration of its gold-medal efficiency the Tokyo Olympics this previous summer time.


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Canada will play two exhibition video games towards New Zealand in Ottawa at TD Place on Saturday after which once more in Montreal at Stade Saputo on Tuesday.

The 2 Celebration Tour video games mark the primary time the staff has performed in Canada since its sendoff match at BMO Area in Toronto previous to the 2019 FIFA Ladies’s World Cup in France.

“It’s been nice to get the group again collectively,” Canada head coach Bev Priestman mentioned on Friday. “There undoubtedly was an pleasure even because the gamers walked within the room and there have been huge hugs and you might see what that second meant, and it was good to see every after having gone again to the grind week in and week out.”

The Canadian ladies’s nationwide staff has not performed since defeating Sweden in a shootout in Yokohama, Japan on Aug. 6. Your entire Olympic roster was invited again for the 2 exhibition video games and solely midfielder Ashley Lawrence was unable to affix the staff as a consequence of harm.


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The staff has been in Ottawa for a lot of the week getting ready for the sport, many again in Canada for the primary time since successful the gold medal.

“We’ve felt the love, within the metropolis, it’s been incredible, I do know it means rather a lot to the gamers,” Priestman mentioned. “It’s good being again with followers, household and mates. Lots of them haven’t spent a whole lot of time on this nation, so it’s serving to the second sink in. I believe for individuals turning up, they’re going to be a part of historical past this week in Ottawa and in Montreal.

“It’s a novel second that we’ll get to share with the followers. That group has a particular bond, they did one thing particular collectively, however listening to from the followers; the younger women and boys on the road get to see their idols on residence soil and that’s actually particular.”


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By successful gold, Canada improved on bronze-medal performances on the two earlier Olympics. Workforce veterans Christine Sinclair, Sophie Schmidt and Desiree Scott had been on all three medal-winning groups, whereas 11 others are two-time medallists.

“We did one thing unimaginable this previous summer time and we’re nothing with out our followers,” Scott mentioned. “Each time we get a possibility to play in entrance of our residence followers, in our residence nation, we relish in these moments, we look ahead to them. It’s one thing we really get excited for.

“I believe our followers, since 2012 and thru all the success we’ve had, have actually had our backs. That is one thing historic that we wish to rejoice with our followers. We’ve by no means had a celebration tour earlier than, it’s type of new waters for all of us, and we’re hopping to have strong matches. We’re clearly going out to win these video games, however we wish to benefit from the second as nicely, with our followers, with our households, and simply relish in these moments, as a result of it’s a historic one for us and wish to rejoice it with all of Canada.”


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The ladies’s gold-medal soccer sport was the most-watched occasion on the Olympics by Canadians based on official broadcaster CBC. Greater than 4 million viewers throughout the nation tuned in to observe the historic contest.

Canada additionally defeated Brazil and the US on its approach the ultimate the place it was in a position to pull out the victory in a tense encounter.

“I really feel actually fortunate and privileged to educate this staff,” Priestman mentioned. “I don’t see myself within the mirror any totally different now, however I believe they approach individuals converse to me is a bit totally different. I believe individuals in Canada actually share that second they usually all know the place they had been when that second occurred.

“I wish to make sure that we will preserve that success sustained. I don’t wish to be a flash within the pan after which exit and never do something. I’m extra hungry and motivated than I’ve ever been to ensure we go now and do what we have to do to maneuver in the direction of succeeding at a World Cup.”


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The subsequent match on faucet for Canada is the Concacaf Ladies’s Championship in July. The subsequent FIFA Ladies’s World Cup takes place in 2023 in New Zealand and Australia. This spring and summer time, Canada might add extra dates to the Celebration Tour as nicely.

“We’ve spoke on the Olympics and finished a evaluation and issues we have to shift and enhance on,” Priestman mentioned. “I believe what the staff has finished is conceded approach much less targets than once I first got here in, however on the identical time we’re dedicated to attain some targets on this tour. We’re transferring in that path now and the group are dedicated, we all know what we have to do, it’s simply executing it on that specific day.”


On Twitter: @DerekVanDiest



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