WINNIPEG gets a taste of international soccer May 8 at Investors Group Field when Canada’s women’s national team and 2012 Olympic bronze medal winners take on their arch rivals from south of the border, a team they haven’t defeated on home ground for more than two decades.
The "friendly" match with topranked USA will be the first women’s national team home game in Winnipeg since 1990 and is part of the lead up to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup hosted by Canada. Winnipeg will host seven group-stage matches.
‘What a fantastic pitch. The players are going to be very spoiled by going into that stadium’ — Team Canada coach John Herdman on Investors Group Field
"I’m beyond excited the Canadian national team is coming to Winnipeg, my home stomping ground," Canadian midfielder Desiree Scott said Monday. "It’s going to be a great game. I hope all of Winnipeg comes out. You have no excuse not to be there."
Plans are already underway by local soccer associations to fill the 33,422-seat capacity IGF. The Winnipeg Youth Soccer Association plans to schedule no youth games that day to encourage players and teams to attend. Tickets for the match go on sale Feb. 14 starting at $20.
"Hopefully, we will kick the U.S.’s butt," Tourism, Culture, Heritage, Sport and Consumer Protection Minister Ron Lemieux said. "Manitobans will come out and they will be really supportive of this endeavour."
The U.S. and Canada faced each other once before in Winnipeg, with the U.S. posting a 4-1 victory July 27, 1990.
Women’s national soccer team head coach John Herdman said IGF is the perfect venue for the exhibition game and training ground for the 2015 event.
"The facility is unbelievable," he said. "What a fantastic pitch. The players are going to be very spoiled by going into that stadium. What a place to have a game against the top team.
"On any given day those Americans can be beaten," he said. "We’re hoping we’re going to be the first team to trip them up in 40 games. Winnipeg’s going to get that chance to see it."
Scott agreed. "I think the field is awesome. I’ve been there to see the Bombers play. I’ve been on the pitch. I think it’s a great facility and I’m really excited to show what we can do on that field. My teammates are worried about the mosquitoes, but I said we’ll be all right so don’t worry about that."
In announcing the May 8 game, the Canadian Soccer Association also released its preliminary economic impact projections for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015 and the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada being held this summer. The initial projections indicate the two tournaments will produce industry output of over $337 million nationally.
CSA spokeswomen Michele Dion said the 2015 event is expected to inject $22 million into Winnipeg’s economy and $26 million provincewide.
The 2015 matches will be held in Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver from June 6 to July 5. This Aug. 5-24 16 teams will compete in Moncton, Montreal, Toronto and Edmonton.