I think everyone has their favorite Olympic events to watch. For me it’s soccer. Women’s soccer specifically.
Going into the Olympics Canada was ranked 10th. So far they’ve beat the 2nd ranked Germany, 3rd ranked France, and 5th ranked Australia. Needless to say that Canada was definitely the underdog going into all of those games, yet they managed to pull out a win. They also played Zimbabwe in group play, and although they’re ranked in the 90’s, you definitely learn something from every team that you play.
Canada came out on top of group play by winning every single game (they played Australia, Zimbabwe, and Germany), and then went on to beat France in the quarterfinals. On Tuesday they play Germany again in the semi-finals. Unfortuately Canada won’t take on the number one ranked US because they were eliminated by Sweden in the quarterfinals. It’s always an exciting game when Canada and the US meet.
The heart and soul of the team is the captain, Christine Sinclair. Even though she’s in her early thirties she’s still going strong and is a great leader on and off the team. She plays the striker position and always manages to score a goal right when it’s needed. This is her third time representing Canada at the Olympics.
Another veteran of the team is Diana Matheson. While she may be little, she’s full of speed and can get to the ball when she has to. She was coming back from an injury last summer and unfortunately wasn’t able to play during the Women’s World Cup, but I’m glad she’s recovered and able to represent Canada at the Olympics.
Although she’s not playing at the Olympics because of a knee injury, Erin McLeod is usually the starting keeper. If you’ve ever seen her play it’s amazing. It’s almost like she’s flying when she jumps for the ball. She’s played in over 100 games for Canada, and is another veteran on the team.
Stephanie Labbe is our starting keeper for the Olympics. Last summer during the World Cup she was the third string keeper behind McLeod and Katrina LeBlanc (Katrina retired after the World Cup last summer). Needless to say Stephanie has some big shoes to fill. She’s been awesome at the Olympics though. She hasn’t hesitated at all and has been great at being right where she has to be when the ball is coming towards her.
One of the younger players on the team, Kadeisha Buchanan played her first game representing Canada at just 17 years old. She’s now 20, and is arguably one of the best defenders in the world – she has that much talent. Last summer at the World Cup she won the Young Player Award. She’s definitely someone you should keep you eye on. She’s going to do great things.
Deanne Rose is another young, up and coming soccer player. This is her first time representing Canada at the Olympics, as she’s just 17.
I think the team has a great combination of veteran players along with young ones who will be the future of the team in five or ten years. The younger ones will learn from the veterans, which will make them even better down the road. Canadian support for women’s soccer has been slowly (but steadily) growing over the last few years. Having the Women’s World Cup played in Canada last summer was a huge boost.
Do you watch women’s soccer? Who’s your favorite player (even if they’re not on the Canadian team)?