What Canada Gains After a Loss

Canadians have never cheered so hard for soccer the way they did yesterday at the Olympics. For such a diverse country, soccer has taken a long time to climb the sports totem pole. It's one thing when your parents are Italian and you support Team Italy or you support Team Germany and Spain, but it's something completely different when the country in which you live in, which has yet to make their stamp in the soccer world is finally making a push at something huge. Not just big, but huge. As most of us know (but don't like to admit), soccer is the biggest sport in the universe. It can be played by the poorest of the poor or a prince of Spanish royalty, but has never impacted us the way it has the rest of the population. Surely soccer is getting there in North America - from the arrival of the Beckhams to the ever expanding MLS (Major League Soccer), the numbers are growing amongst youth sports and college tryouts. 

If the rest of the world didn't think they ever had anything to fear when it came to Canadian soccer, they were right... until the other day. With a push to the semi-finals and some serious performances against internationally known competitors, Canadian soccer is finally on the map. At least the women are. While the updated FIFA rankings from June have the men at 68th place, the women are strong at 7th, likely to go up. For some time now the USA women have had their command of the soccer scene and the men's Mexican team have always been contenders. Only the cold country of Canada has yielded to the absolute dominance that is soccer; yes, we're a hockey loving nation and hockey will always come first. But with that said, look how far the sport has come! The overwhelming response to yesterday's loss to the United States shows Canadians are very passionate about soccer and are even more involved now that there's a sign of good things to come.

Even though the Canadians lost (in epic and questionable style), I think they gained way more than what they bargained for - they gained believers, supporters and rivals all at the same time. While Canada's showing at the Olympics was the most impressive to date, it's only a matter of time until they come out in droves, attacking the net like they're on the ice and playing the field like they're on a power play. I am looking forward to the next time Canada represents and I'm sure thousands more will be too!


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