The Canadian women’s soccer team’s gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics on Friday was a momentous event not only for the national team but also for fans and soccer players across Saskatchewan.
This includes the University of Regina Cougars women’s soccer team.
“It was really inspiring, especially given that our season is coming up. I think it will make all of us girls do better and make us take a medal in our season,” said Shayla Lukey, who has played for the Cougars team for three years.
Canada’s national team took the gold medal after an exciting 3-2 win over Sweden on Friday. The close match ended with Canada outlasting Swedes on penalties.
Several Cougars players joined co-head coach Astrid Baecker to watch the game live early Friday morning. When the game went into overtime, they had to decide whether to keep watching or start morning practice.
“We had to say, hey, let’s just not get started. This is an important moment in Canadian history – we have to see that,” said Baecker.
GOLD Medal Viewing Party !!! Yes Canada !!! 🇨🇦 pic.twitter.com/GVb6g0Y72p
– @ UofRSoccer
After the historic victory, the group only stood together for a few minutes, said Baecker, watching the Canadian team celebrate and thinking about what the victory meant to them. All eyes were on national team captain Christine Sinclair.
“It really felt like this medal was hers, that the team worked with her as leader and captain. It felt like they were going out for her with that big final hurray,” said Baecker.
Player Kyra Vibert, 22, watched the game at home with the family. She said this was a hugely important moment for women’s football that deserves a lot more attention than it is getting.
“I love football. It’s just my core. I have that in my life and I love that,” said Vibert.
This will be her final year playing for the University of Regina team and she said the win gives her something to look forward to.
“It means everything to me. I want to go as far as possible as a player and wherever that takes me I’ll be happy.”