|Mayors of the host city's hold up banners to promote the FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer tournament, which Canada will host in 2015, in Ottawa, May 4, 2012. (Chris Roussakis/QMI Agency)
WINNIPEG - Winnipeg will be among six Canadian cities involved in hosting the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup of Soccer.
Canadian Soccer Association president Dominique Maestracci made the official announcement on Friday afternoon in Ottawa during a televised press conference.
The other cities involved in the event are Edmonton, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa and Moncton.
The 24-team tournament will feature a total of 52 games during a three-week period in June of 2015.
“It’s a big day for soccer in Manitoba, it’s fantastic news and we’re all very happy about it,” Manitoba Soccer Association executive director Hector Vergara said in a telephone interview from Ottawa. “Without a doubt, it’s one of the best things to happen in Manitoba in a long time.
“You get pretty excited knowing your city is going to be one of the hosts. We’ll celebrate for a few days, but there’s a lot of work to be done.”
Since the schedule is not yet determined, Vergara doesn’t know if Winnipeg will be hosting games involving Canada at Investors Group Field.
Winnipeg is expected to host six matches and possibly an additional game in the playoff rounds.
“There are a number of different options the Canadian Soccer Association and FIFA are looking at,” said Vergara, noting he will be working toward bringing several International matches to Winnipeg leading up to the 2015 FIFA World Cup. “Everybody is in the same boat, nobody knows what the schedule is going to look like.”
The prospect of perhaps playing a game in her hometown had Team Canada midfielder Desiree Scott fired up.
“I’m pumped about it, I’m always so proud to represent Manitoba and Winnipeg,” said Scott, a graduate of the Manitoba Bisons soccer program who is preparing to compete for her country at the 2012 Olympics in London, England. “I haven’t stopped smiling since (hearing the news). For us to host these games is an exciting thing and hopefully Canada will get a game there and I can play in front of family and friends. That would be amazing.
“Soccer is a growing sport in Canada and in Manitoba and with such a huge event there, all the young soccer players will get inspired and motivated to continue working hard and potentially be at that level.”