The thrilling, controversial semi-final match of Women’s Olympic Soccer stirred heavy emotions for Canadians.
The outcome may have been plagued by referee judgment, but it also may have stoked new flames for the women’s pro game in North America.
Ironically, the loss by Canada may mean more for women’s Soccer than a win would have.
After seeing how this match was viewed in Canada, in the U.S., and live in England, it may be time for a new strategy to build on for the women’s pro game.
The next World Cup in 2015 takes place in Canada. It’s pretty evident that Canada will challenge for the Cup title. There are three more years to prepare and this most recent loss will bring more focus for the team in its quest to win the World Cup.
The U.S./Canada Women’s Olympic showdown in the semis was the second most watched Olympic event ever in Canada, only trailing the Men’s Olympic Hockey team that won gold in Vancouver in 2010.
The U.S. team is being followed very closely by Americans and the media. And the crowd in London at the match was phenomenal.
The strategy should now be about combining Canadian and American resources to build the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) Elite through 2013 and 2014. Investment into Canadian cities is imperative. The goal should be to try and peak as the 2015 season breaks for World Cup play.
Bringing in Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton, Ottawa and Calgary as potential partners can provide the league much more stability. The league will need to capitalize on popular players like Christine Sinclair, who stunned the soccer world with her hat trick against the U.S. in the semis.
Branding other Canadian women will have to be part of the plan, too.
The match was nuts. The results may be skewed, but in the end the U.S. and Canada need each other to prove to the world that women can make ends meet in pro soccer.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com