By Jean Jacques Bosco
They’ve come a long way baby. The Canadian women’s team has improved leaps and bounds since the 2007 World Cup held in Korea where they placed dead last. It is hard work and a solid dose of excellent coaching that brought them to the podium in this year’s Olympics. Even since the qualifiers, held here in Vancouver in 2011, the girls have been growing stronger. During that tournament Canada played the US and lost 4-0. Their growth was made clear when the girls found themselves head to head with the same US team again in the Olympics. It was during this game in London that the women managed to convince the international audience just how bad they really wanted the gold medal. Tied 3-3 toward the end of the game it was an unfortunate call applying the six second FIFA holding rule against Canada that awarded a free kick to the US. We all know the story, the result was a heartbreaking 4-3 loss for Canada. Nonetheless they have proven that Canadian soccer, especially Canadian women’s soccer has the potential to be, and is emerging as a regular international contender.
This inspiring team consists of strong, hard-working women. Deserving of mention is Christine Sinclair, captain of the team and an outstanding goal scorer, as is Diana Matheson who scored the finishing goal to win the bronze medal 1-0 against France. Of course the local Sophie Schmidt must not be forgotten as her on-field performance is always notable. Finally the goalkeeper Erin Mcleod is always on top of her game.
So what has Canadian coach John Herdman done to raise this team to glory? According to him he has gained the confidence of his players through a bottom-up approach. In the past he would tell his players what to do, but now he empowers them by allowing them the freedom to choose how they are going to achieve the result.
Finally, this is an important message for today’s coaches in all areas and levels, and something they should take to heart if they want to follow the Canadian women’s trail to International success.