GWANGJU, South Korea (Team Canada) – The Canadian women’s soccer team is eager and ready for competition to begin this Thursday at the Summer Universiade.
After playing a pair of exhibition games against Japan, head coach Peyvand Mossavat says the team is ready to open its competition on Thursday. The Canadians dropped both games to the Japanese but came away with valuable lessons that will help them advance in the tournament. Japan finished fifth overall at the Universiade in 2013 in Kazan, Russia.
“We have a fantastic group of athletes that have a great chemistry with one another,” said Mossavat, head coach of the women’s program at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. “After our first game against the Japanese we were able to pin-point areas we needed to improve on and implement changes into game two,” added Mossavat. “We had a stronger performance in our second game, and I believe the team will continue to improve with each contest.”
Canada will compete in Pool D alongside France, South Africa, and the United States, and will open the games against the French on Thursday morning at 11:00 a.m. (10:00 p.m. EST Wed.).
With nine Canadian universities represented on the roster, the team held a mini-camp in Toronto in May to build team chemistry and familiarize themselves with Mossavat’s style of play.
“With everyone coming from so many different universities across the country we wanted to bring the team together to maximize our potential both as individuals and as a group,” continued Mossavat, who represented Canada at the 1993 Universiade in Buffalo, NY. “They are a fun group, and the chemistry on the team is outstanding. I couldn’t have asked for a better team.”
For team captain and forward Heather Lund, a graduate of both McGill University and the University of Alberta, the team expectations are high to capture a medal at the games. Lund is the only returning member of the squad after representing Canada in Kazan, and she would like nothing more than to improve on that team’s tenth place finish.
“Words can’t describe the feeling I have being able to represent my country twice at the Universiade,” the Red Deer, Alb., native, said. “My goal for these games is to personally perform at a higher level, keep our team focused and come away with a medal. We have a very talented group of athletes, and if we remain focused and remember why we are here, we can definitely achieve our goals.”
The Canadian women will look for a podium as they hope to surpass the program’s best result in the event, a fifth-place finish that was accomplished three times at the FISU Games in 1993, 2005 and 2011.