In 1986, the Canadian Soccer Association inaugurated a women’s national football program. On July 1st of that year, the Association chose 20 players to form the first Canadian Women’s National Team. Six days later, the team played their first ever match. It was against the United States at the National Sports Center Blaine, Minnesota. They lost the match 2 – 0, but paved the way for Canadian women in football.
Unfortunately, their path was not easy. Since the team did not have any sponsor, each player was expected to buy their own cleats, pay for some expenses, and put on shirts previously worn by a boys’ youth team. Also, the coaching at the time was not very good, “playing defensively for the tie”. These aspects discouraged some players because they lacked support and did not win games. Some of them even had a full – time job, like Tracy David.
Women kept the hard work and determination, finally getting recognized in 1994, after qualifying for Sweden 1995. They finished second behind the United State in the CONCACAF Qualifiers.
World Cup Sweden 1995
This was the second edition of a Women’s World Cup. Canada did not reach the previous one (China 1991). Silvana Burtini, Geraldine Donnelly, Charmaine Hooper, and Janine Helland were some of the distinctive players representing the country; Sylvie Beliveau the coach.
There were a total of 12 National Teams competing in Sweden. Canada was drawn in Group B with Norway, Nigeria and England. The team lost his opener against England, tied with Nigeria, and again lost to future champions Norway. These results put them second to last in their group, not advancing to the knockout stage. Helen Stoumbos scored the first goal for Canada in a World Cup.
After Sweden 1995, Canada has not missed a World Cup (seven consecutive). They even hosted one in 2015 and have found more recognition due to their great level on the pitch, bringing fans together. They are currently ranked as the second best CONCACAF team (eight overall).