Morace aims high

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:00 AM ET

New coach Carolina Morace wants Canadians to feel the love for their national women's soccer team.

A few more instant results, such as making the final of the Cyprus Cup, will surely see a spike in the hug factor.

The former Italian star Morace was hired by the Canadian Soccer Association on Feb. 5. Next day, she flew to Los Angeles to begin training the team and then took them across the Atlantic to the Cyprus Cup where Canada's record was 2-0-1 in Nicosia before losing to England, 3-1, in the final.

Canada, now ranked 11th in the world, next plays No. 9 Japan in a friendly at BMO Field on May 25. By the time the 2011 women's World Cup rolls around, after some anticipated FIFA dates and next year's Cyprus Cup, she hopes to have the team -- and the nation's soccer fans -- solidly in her corner.

"I respect the other method," Morace said of predecessor Evan Pellerud. "But my philosophy is different. Soccer isn't just running, it's the quality of the run, the agility, co-ordination and soccer movement. We will train the same way that we will play. "We all love to watch Ronaldo because of the skill he brings, but we can teach the same movement."

Morace is also stressing her players maintain a better fitness level in the long periods they are apart, a task that will be made easier by this spring's launch of Women's Professional Soccer, an American-based pro league. All Canadian players in the league will be released for any FIFA dates.

Morace was a force in Italian women's soccer, the world leader in goals at one time, a coach of an Italian men's team and a respected TV commentator.

"The best way to describe (Morace's philosophy) is she trains for more of a marathon compared to a sprint," said CSA general secretary Peter Montopoli.

"She has to go across the country to evaluate all the players. We brought her aboard because we think she can deliver a medal, but she's also determined to (improve the overall calibre of Canadian soccer)."

Christine Sinclair will be in search of her 100th career goal against Japan after opening the scoring in the game against England with No. 99.


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