Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada Prepares to Host Two FIFA Tournaments, Looks for Place on Soccer's Stage

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada Prepares to Host Two FIFA Tournaments, Looks for Place on Soccer's Stage

Article excerpt

Canada looks for place on soccer's stage

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MONTREAL - Canada may be on the cusp of becoming a soccer nation.

In the next two years, Canada will host 84 international soccer matches over two major FIFA women's tournaments: the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, and the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.

Combined, the two tournaments will be played in seven cities across the country, and are expected to draw nearly two million soccer fans. The goal is to continue expanding the sport in Canada.

"The world needs to see good women's football," said Tatjana Haenni, FIFA's head of women's competitions. "We hope that we can reach so many countries worldwide to further develop football, not only in the world but also in Canada.

"It's important for us to hold these events in countries that can show the world that women's football is at a high level and is developed and has success stories. That hopefully helps other countries to jump on the train."

Haenni, alongside other FIFA and Canadian Soccer Association officials, was in Montreal on Friday to unveil the official U-20 tournament ball and ticket prices. On Saturday, Montreal will also host a live televised official draw to determine Canada's group stage opponents.

This summer, four Canadian cities -- Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton, and Moncton - will welcome some of the best women's under-20-year-olds from 16 different nations.

A few of the other notable teams joining Canada on the pitch for the U-20 Women's World Cup will be England, France, Germany, Brazil, and the United States.

Since the inaugural tournament in 2002, also hosted by Canada, the U-20 tournament has been held every two years. The Americans are the defending champions, having beaten the Germans 1-0 in the final game of the 2012 tournament in Tokyo, Japan.

This year, the 20-day tournament begins on Aug. 5 and wraps Aug. 24 at Montreal's Olympic Stadium. Montreal will host a total of 10 matches over six days, including a quarter-final, one of the semifinals, as well as the match for third place.

"Montreal is a city that responds well to events, as traditionally it always has," said Victor Montagliani, president of the Canadian Soccer Association. …

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