By Devon Gall
With the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup just around the corner, the hosting Canadian women’s players have a lot on their shoulders for the tournament.
Bronze medallists in the past Olympic Summer Games, the Canadian women enter the June tournament ranked in a top 10 position in the world.
But as soccer fans in Saanich around the world know, a little extra encouragement can go a long way.
On Saturday, Lake Hill and Gorge Soccer Associations hosted BC Soccer’s Grassroots Soccer Festival for all their players 10 and younger at Braefoot field.
B.C. Soccer marketing officer Peter Lonergan brought the Giant Jersey, a massive Team Canada jersey that has travelled around the province for the past eight months, collecting more than 1,000 signatures from kids, coaches, parents, politicians and other well-wishers. It’s hoped the jersey will raise the popularity of the game among younger children and encourage them to stay healthy and fit, Lonergan said.
It’s also designed to give the Canadian women a boost as they face tough teams like England, France, Spain, Brazil and China. With nine matches to be played in Vancouver for the World Cup, in addition to games in Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Moncton, Lonergan plans to present the jersey, with all its signatures, to the Canadian team before the June 6 to July 5 FIFA Women’s World Cup.