Keeping Score on FIFA
Between June 6 and July 5, the world’s best female soccer players will lace up their cleats and head to Canada for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Ottawa is one of six host cities, which means nine matches will be played in June at the shiny new TD Place at Lansdowne Park.
When Canada hosted the inaugural FIFA under-19 women’s world championships in 2002, there was a hint of greatness in the air. “That was where some of our Canadian superstars — players like Christine Sinclair, Erin McLeod, Carmelina Moscato — first stepped onto the world stage,” recalls Valerie Hughes, who got to travel with the team across the country as part of its organizing committee and is general manager for the Ottawa games this year. When the Canadian women’s team won Olympic bronze in 2012, losing to the United States in the final match, the world took notice. And despite some struggles — women’s team members continue to make less than their male counterparts, though they are currently ranked eighth in the world while the men sit at 114th — Hughes believes FIFA will be inspirational to girls starting out in the sport. Ottawa “will be exposed to an amazing level of play during the games and get a real idea of what can be achieved in life,” she says.
Who to Watch For: #9 Lisa-Marie Woods, Norway’s midfielder, one-time MVP with the Ottawa Fury #28 Naphat Seesraum, Thailand’s fast-moving midfielder #25 Alexandra Popp, striker with the powerful German team
Who’s Watching: 407 million: Television audience for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany. Canada expects to surpass that, partly because there are 24 teams in this competition, up from 16 in 2011
Who’s Working: 1,176: Number of Ottawa volunteer applications 300: Volunteers selected for the Ottawa games 100: Volunteers who fluently speak a language other than English or French 84: Age of oldest volunteer 16: Age of...
6: Approximate number of times women fake an injury during a game 11: Approximate number of times men fake an injury during a game 10 seconds: Extra time it takes men to get off the field for substitutions, compared with women 30 seconds: Extra...
Milestones 1971: Women’s teams in England allowed to play on the same pitches as men 1991: First FIFA Women’s World Cup held in China 1996: Women’s soccer becomes an Olympic event