Sports Soccer

Girls need women's pros to look up to

By Tyler Green, 24 hours Vancouver, soccer columnist

Canada's national women's soccer team. 
GETTY

Canada's national women's soccer team. GETTY

It’s not often that my six-year-old daughter enjoys the same things I do. I like Star Wars, she likes princesses – unfortunately not the Leia kind – and for the 77 months she’s been alive, liking soccer has been on her radar for approximately four of those months.

She had no interest in playing soccer – whether it was with me or joining a team. She also didn’t want to watch me play – and c’mon, who doesn’t want to watch a bunch of slightly out-of-shape dudes play division three soccer? She didn’t want to watch soccer on television, including the world’s best at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and didn’t even want to watch the women play when Canada hosted the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

But a strange thing happened when she arrived home from school one day. She immediately told her mom she needed to call me and tell me about the “cool soccer players” from MoreSports.org that visited her school.

All of a sudden, she was soccer mad.

This has resulted in her joining a team, watching games with me and most recently, going to a Vancouver Whitecaps FC match.

At the game, she enjoyed the atmosphere – although she’s more intrigued by Iceland’s supporters and their “scary cheer” on television – but liked the “noise” made by the supporters groups.

The drive home also included a discussion about the food – and BC Place provides some great selections including fish and chips, Vij’s lamb curry and bacon fried rice from Asian Steam Buns.

As the game advanced, my daughter cheered for the Whitecaps. After some explaining of where the name came from, she was on board, sitting on the edge of her seat, standing and jumping around when the ‘Caps scored two goals.

In the end, my six-year-old wanted to see Vancouver win a trophy – although the Whitecaps didn’t seem to cooperate with regards to that – but she showed her respect and stayed for Toronto FC to lift the Voyageurs Cup. She left having had a great experience.

Within minutes of leaving, she proposed we see the ‘Caps play again and told me she needs a Whitecaps shirt, since her original shirt was sized for a baby.

We’ll now set time aside to watch the Canadian Women’s National Team on television during the Summer Olympics for a female perspective on the game.

Hopefully, one day, Vancouver has a professional women’s team so she could find a female soccer player to look up to and watch on a regular basis, because she’s already told me that she’s going to play for Canada one day. 

To think, it all started not because her dad likes soccer, but because a volunteer named Pedro showed her what soccer was. So thank you MoreSports.org and Pedro. Hopefully there are more coaches like you out there getting kids excited about sport.

Tyler hosts SOCCER TALK presented by Metrotown Physio, podcasting each week on iTunes, Stitcher and at www.soccertalkvan.libsyn.com. Follow Tyler on twitter at @tylergreenFC and at www.facebook.com/soccertalkvan