Edmonton celebrates the best of women’s soccer in 2014 and 2015

Have you heard about this little tournament taking place in Brazil over the next month known as the World Cup? Of course you have! It’s the global game and perhaps the largest spectacle on Earth and I don’t know about you, but I’m excited. Every four years we get the opportunity to participate in a truly global phenomenon. Go England Go!

Here in Edmonton, we have two other major international football (soccer) tournaments to look forward to. We’re a host city for both the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014 and the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015. These are the two most important tournaments in international women’s football, and we have front row seats.

The U-20 Women’s World Cup is taking place in Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, and Moncton from August 5 through 24. Matches will be played at Commonwealth Stadium on August 5, 8, 13, and a quarter-final game on the 16th. Here are the matches you can look forward to:

Date/Time Match Teams
August 5, 2014 at 5pm Group Stage China vs. Brazil
August 5, 2014 at 8pm Group Stage Germany vs. USA
August 8, 2014 at 5pm Group Stage Germany vs. China
August 8, 2014 at 8pm Group Stage USA vs. Brazil
August 13, 2014 at 3pm Group Stage Paraguay vs. France
August 13, 2014 at 6pm Group Stage Nigeria vs. England
August 16, 2014 at 6pm Quarter-Final Group 1B vs. Group 2A

You can see the full calendar here. Tickets for the games range from $10 to $30, so it’s very affordable entertainment. You can purchase individual match tickets here. When Edmonton played host to the U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2002, we set the record for the largest single match attendance at 47,400. Let’s beat it!

The Women’s World Cup takes place from June 6 through July 5 in Vancouver, Montreal, Edmonton, Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Moncton. In addition to hosting the first four matches, Edmonton will also host two matches in the round of 16, one quarter-final, one semi-final, and the third place match. You can see the full calendar here. Tickets go on sale September 10, with prices for passes to all 11 matches ranging from $235 to $495.

FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 Launch

Friday, June 6 marked one year to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015, and to celebrate, a countdown clock was unveiled at City Hall. These clocks are pretty popular in host cities, and it’ll remain at City Hall until next year so you’ve got lots of time to take your photo with it.

The Honourable Rona Ambrose, MP for Edmonton-Spruce Grove, was selected as an official Event Ambassador for next year’s tournament. The theme for Canada’s winning bid was “Welcome the World and Its Game” and Minister Ambrose spoke quite a bit about the multicultural aspect of the game and of Canada.

FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 Launch

There are more than 30 million women’s footballers in 185 countries, and more than 350,000 registered women footballers here in Canada. The tournament in 2015 will feature 24 nations and 52 matches, an increase from previous years.

FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 Launch

Could the men’s World Cup be coming to Edmonton in the future too? Some suggest that Canada will bid to host the 2026 World Cup, and successful tournaments this year and next will greatly improve our chances of winning.

For now we turn our attention to the World Cup in Brazil. But once that’s all over, you can look forward to some excellent international football right here in Edmonton! You can keep up-to-date with all the news here.

Barack Obama on Monday Night Football

Post ImageI love American politics. With less than two years to go until the next President is elected, things are starting to get very interesting indeed. Last night democratic Senator Barack Obama, a potential candidate for the presidency, had some fun with a little announcement on ESPN’s Monday Night Football:

In a teasing news release, his office said Monday afternoon that Obama would make an “announcement” before the game “about an upcoming contest of great importance to the American people.”

You can see the video clip from last night’s broadcast at YouTube. Pretty darn funny!

Don’t be surprised if you hear more about America’s “revolutionary choice” for President – the black Senator or the female Senator (Hillary Clinton) – over the next few months. Both are expected to announce whether or not they are running early next year. Hillary is widely seen as the early front-runner, though the Daily Kos says If Obama runs, he wins.

Also from Kos – Obama can afford to wait on Hillary, and Gore can afford to wait on everyone. Wouldn’t that be something! If Al Gore eventually decides to run (he has usually left the door open for this) he’ll win hands down.

Assuming Gore doesn’t run, I’d like to see Hillary Clinton win.

2006 FIFA World Cup Germany

Post ImageEverywhere in the world right now, football has taken centre stage. Everywhere in the world, that is, except for Canada (where hockey reigns supreme) and the United States (where it’s probably baseball or basketball). Why? Simple – the 2006 World Cup (hosted by Germany) has started, which in case you didn’t know, is the most watched sporting event in the world, yes even more so than the Olympics. In the last World Cup in 2002, the cumulative audience is estimated to be 28.8 billion, with 1.1 billion people watching the final match. Expectations are for this year’s to be even greater. Crazy!

Canada once again failed to qualify for the tournament, which means I’m pulling for England. The good news for England so far is that they won their first game this morning against Paraguay. The bad news is that the win was very unconvincing:

England got the opening win they were looking for, but the performance in the second half was less than convincing. Paraguay can take heart from their battling display, though they had no reward for their efforts.

The lone goal came off a Beckham free kick that was accidentially headed into the net by the Paraguay captain himself. I heard earlier that the goal is the quickest own-goal in World Cup history, and it marked the first time a game has been decided by an own-goal.

The website for the World Cup has got to be one of the best around. Lots of news and features, excellent video highlights of games, and much more. Definitely check it out. They’ve got some great photos too 😉

One thing I’ve really noticed so far is that the 2006 World Cup appears extremely branded. There’s the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, the adidas Golden Shoe and Golden Ball awards, the Gillette Best Young Player award, and much more. I bet it costs a pretty penny to be an official partner of the World Cup.

I admit that I am a bit of a bandwagon jumper when it comes to the World Cup. That is, unlike my brother and my Dad who follow soccer closely all the time, I really only get excited when the World Cup rolls around every four years. I keep tabs on Manchester United and pay attention to the discussions between Tom and my Dad, but that’s about it. I guess that makes me a bit of a hypocrite in that I complain about the Stanley Cup/Edmonton Oilers bandwagon jumpers, but I contend that the World Cup is something special, over and above hockey. A few million people care about the Stanley Cup, whereas a couple billion care about the World Cup. People all over the world, from all walks of life, it truly brings out the “globalness” of the little community we have here on Earth.

Games will be played over the next few weeks with Stage 1 ending on June 23rd, and the final being played on July 9th. England’s next game is on June 15th against Trinidad and Tobago, who managed to hold Sweden to a draw today.

Looks like the 2006 FIFA World Cup demo is finished downloading on my Xbox 360 (I love the new background downloads), so I’m off to check it out!

Edmonton Eskimos Win Grey Cup 2005!

Post ImageI went over to my brother’s today to watch the Edmonton Eskimos take on the Montreal Alouettes in the 93rd Grey Cup. I was really hoping we’d see Jason Maas for the Eskimos at some point during the game, but it turned out that Ricky Ray put on a good show to lead the Eskimos to victory! It was definitely close though, and even went to OT:

Sean Fleming booted the winning field goal in overtime to lift the Edmonton Eskimos to a thrilling 38-35 win over the Montreal Alouettes in the 93rd Grey Cup Sunday in what will go down as one of the greatest contests in the history of the CFL’s championship game.

It really was a great game. Here are some other highlights:

  • Ricky Ray was named game MVP after completing 34-of-44 passes for 367 yards and two touchdowns. His first of the game was also his first in eight games (sometime late September).
  • Danny Maciocia becomes just the seventh head coach since 1950 to win the Grey Cup in his first season.
  • Edmonton is just the fourth team in CFL history to finish third in its division during the regular season and win the Grey Cup.
  • Tony Tompkins returned an Alouettes kickoff 96 yards to give Edmonton a 20-18 advantage going into halftime and set a Grey Cup record in the process.
  • This is Edmonton’s second Grey Cup title in three years and 13th overall.

Let the celebrations begin!

Read: CBC Sports