The Canadian women’s soccer team is aiming for gold Thursday morning, setting an example for young female athletes in the province.
Jenna Muir has been playing soccer since she was three. The now 15-year-old center-forward said she watched the Olympics this year and watched Team Canada progress on the pitch.
“It’s great to see what my coaches tell me and the players are doing it perfectly, they are all just flawless,” said Muir.
Muir stayed in her dressing room to watch the Canadian women beat Team USA during their 2am semi-final game on August 2, 2021. She also plans to get up early Friday hoping to bring home a gold medal for Canada.
Although their soccer team – Muir plays for Queen City United Soccer Club in a high performing U15 team – originally planned to watch the game together, the game time was changed from Thursday evening to early Friday morning to accommodate the players’ heat issues and theirs changed theirs Plans. Muir is now looking forward to staying overnight with one of her teammates and getting up early to prepare for the game.
Despite the early days, Muir said snacks were not an option – Miss Vickie’s salt and vinegar are her favorite chips for the event.
“(Playing football is) just my favorite thing, I love everyone on my team,” said Muir, who described the sport as her “passion”.
Muir’s love of sport was nurtured by her family. In 2015, she traveled to Edmonton to watch matches when Canada was hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup. It was the first time she saw Canada live, which she called a “great experience”.
In 2019 she traveled with her family to see some games at the next World Cup in France.
“We saw Canada play against Sweden and unfortunately they lost the game,” she recalls.
Muir hopes to see a different result this time around when the two teams clash.
“I really want Canada to beat Sweden mainly because of that devastating loss,” she said.
University of Saskatchewan Huskies midfielder Jade Houmphanh said she was inspired by watching Olympic football and learning from the players on the pitch.
“Just to see what I can take with me for my own game,” she said. “To see the midfielders play and their intelligence on and off the ball, like where to go to get a ball before it comes. They already know what they’re going to do with the ball before it even reaches you. “
Houmphanh said she was drawn to sports because of her father.
“My dad always played soccer and I just always grew up with soccer,” she said. “Just watching games with him really inspired me to try the sport.”
The university athlete cheered on the USA, Japan and of course Canada in women’s football.
“I’m definitely excited to watch them play,” she said, adding that she will definitely get up early to see the game.
“It is very encouraging to see all of these women. I can look up to them as role models and just see how they inspire the nation and current players like me, ”said Houmphanh.
Both Muir and Houmphanh named Jessie Fleming their favorite player on Team Canada. The midfielder was responsible for the first penalty goal in Canada’s semi-final win against the United States
“She’s just so young and she’s just an inspiration to me,” said Muir.
“She just had the confidence to take that penalty and she just took it perfectly,” added Houmphanh.
Both athletes are confident that Canada could take home gold in women’s football this year. Houmphanh said a win would be “a historic moment for women’s football in Canada”.
“I really think… you can win. If they can beat USA – the favorites of the tournament – I think they could beat anyone, ”said Muir.