KÜCHENER – The success of Canada’s women’s national soccer team is inspiring a younger generation of players, according to those involved in youth soccer.
Canada defeated the US on Monday morning, securing a spot in the gold medal match in Tokyo.
“For us in our high-performance programs, girls talk about wanting to play for the national team,” said Paul Burns, executive director of the Waterloo Minor Soccer Club.
Burns said that all youth players, regardless of gender, seem to know the names of the Canadian players.
“It definitely creates more chances for them to watch the game on TV and try to emulate players who watch them.”
Others agree that the team gives them ideas to try out in the field.
“The girls know who they are and I think they don’t look that much at this age, but they recognize the names and have some role models to look up to,” said Carlos Argueta, coach of the Kitchener Soccer Club girls’ team the academy.
“Some of the players are doing cool things and that makes me try harder and move on to a higher level,” said Eva Argueta, a U13 Kitchener Soccer Club player.
According to Burns, the national team’s success underscores the importance of smaller football clubs helping players learn the basics of the sport.
“Grassroots football really has its place because all of these players started at their club when they were four and five,” said Burns.
Waterloo Minor Soccer Club player Emma Thomson decided to practice her soccer skills on Monday in hopes of one day playing soccer on the international stage.
“It just really taught me, and that’s why I’m kind of out here today just to keep putting the pressure on, keep going, keep working for your dream,” said Thomson. “It’s not going to be easy and easy to push through and try to really just go out and have fun, which I think showed in your performance today and it’s just inspiring to see your determination in this field.”
The women’s team will play against Sweden on Thursday and are guaranteed a medal. Obviously they have already won over the next generation of players.