For Kicks

For Kicks Podcast, Episode 53: Canada’s exit from WWC 2019

Canada’s earlier-than-anticipated exit from the 2019 World Cup was tough to take. Everyone has been talking about how this is the best squad the senior team has ever had—and we agree—but other teams brought their best-ever squads to the tournament, too.

No matter the result, we’re still so proud of our players and the effort they put in to this tournament, even if we are a little heartbroken for them.

In this episode we talk about:

  • Canada vs. Netherlands in our final group stage match
  • Canada vs. Sweden in the Round of 16
  • what we think went wrong for Canada in this tournament
  • the quarter-finals and upcoming semi-finals/final

Our next episode will be out after the World Cup ends. In it, we’ll talk about the final matches and reflect on the tournament as a whole.

For Kicks is a proud member of the Alberta Podcast Network powered by ATB Financial.

We’d love to hear from you! Say hi on FacebookTwitterTumblr and Instagram. Subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsStitcherGoogle Play, SoundCloud and the CKUA app.

For Kicks, For Kicks Podcast

For Kicks, Episode 47: CANWNT vs. NORWNT, Huitema goes pro

2019 is underway and that means the countdown to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France is on. The Canadian women’s soccer team has had an encouraging start with two matches in January against Switzerland and Norway.

Since our last episode, there’s also been tons of news from our Canadian players at the club level, and we see lots of great opportunities going into this World Cup year.

In this episode, we talk about:

  • Canada’s World Cup group draw
  • player news, including Jordyn Huitema’s decision to go pro
  • the NWSL college draft
  • the Canada vs. Norway international friendly match from January 22, 2019

In our next couple of episodes, we’ll cover the Algarve Cup which takes place from February 27 to March 6, 2019.

For Kicks is a member of the Alberta Podcast Network powered by ATB Financial.

We’d love to hear from you! Say hi on FacebookTwitterTumblr and Instagram. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunesStitcherGoogle Play, SoundCloud and the CKUA app.

For Kicks, For Kicks Podcast

For Kicks Podcast, Episode 45: 2018 U17 WWC preview and interview with Futbol Ace’s Ana De Souza

The 2018 U17 Women’s World Cup starts this week and runs from November 13 to December 1. Canada will participate in the tournament so we’re looking forward to another glimpse at the future of Canadian women’s soccer!

We’re also super excited that Jessica had a chance to chat with Ana De Souza from Futbol Ace, a podcast that focuses on women’s soccer from CONCACAF nations. Just like us, their goal is to grow the women’s game by providing fans with informative and entertaining content on their podcast and blog, so it was a great conversation.

In this episode, we:

  • preview the U17 Women’s World Cup
  • chat with Futbol Ace’s Ana De Souza
  • get caught up on NCAA

We were up bright and early for this episode and that’s because before we recorded, we had a chance to chat with Duane Rollins for the The Two Solitudes Soccer Podcast. We had so much fun talking to Duane so we’ll be sharing the episode that features our chat soon.

On our next episode, we’ll have full coverage of the U17 WWC tournament and we’re bringing back Catching Up with Canucks Abroad’s Oscar Melander, so watch for that, too!

For Kicks is a member of the Alberta Podcast Network powered by ATB Financial.

We’d love to hear from you! Say hi on FacebookTwitterTumblr and Instagram. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunesStitcherGoogle Play, SoundCloud and the CKUA app.

For Kicks, For Kicks Podcast

For Kicks Podcast, Episode 26: NWSL catchup and listener questions

The 2017 NWSL season is firing on all cylinders and we’ve barely had a chance to talk about it so far. That all changes in our most recent episode.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • CANWNT news
  • Canadian players in the NWSL and their teams
  • awesome listener questions

We hope you enjoy our latest podcast and connect with us on FacebookTwitter, and TumblrYou can also check us out on iTunesStitcherGoogle Play and SoundCloud, and find our previous podcasts here!

Intro music: “Nightlife/Knifefights” – The Wet Secrets

Outro music: “High Ticket Attractions” – The New Pornographers

For Kicks, For Kicks Podcast

For Kicks Podcast, Episode 25: An interview with Foothills WFC coach Troye Flannery

Currently, Foothills WFC is the highest level of women’s soccer being played in Canada and we’re thrilled that their club is so close to home in Alberta. We’re even more thrilled, however, that head coach Troye Flannery took the time to talk to us about the team and the beautiful game. This is an episode we’re very excited and proud to share.

In this episode we:

  • interview Troye Flannery, head coach of Foothills WFC
  • provide a quick update on the UWCL (spoiler: it’s gonna be Buchanan vs. Lawrence in the final!)
  • can’t help but gush about the Boston Breakers victory over the Seattle Reign on April 29

Be sure to check out our new Foothills WFC page on our site for their schedule, roster and more. We encourage everyone to support Foothills WFC and help women’s soccer grow in Alberta and across Canada.

Our next episode is going to be all NWSL and we want listener questions! So send us your questions by May 27 and we’ll use them in our next show.

We hope you enjoy our latest podcast and connect with us on FacebookTwitter, and TumblrYou can also check us out on iTunesStitcherGoogle Play and SoundCloud, and find our previous podcasts here!

Intro music: “Nightlife/Knifefights” – The Wet Secrets

Outro music: “Hungry Ghost” – Hurray for the Riff Raff

For Kicks, For Kicks Podcast

For Kicks Podcast, Episode 23: The Algarve Cup

Canada arrived in Portugal for this year’s Algarve Cup as reigning champions and left with the second place prize. It was a performance we feel pretty good about considering the number of new young players on the tournament roster this year.

Streams for the games were scant but luckily, our European correspondent Janine was there for the final vs. Spain and was able to talk about how the game looked field-side.

In this episode we talk about:

  • CANWNT news
  • The Algarve Cup, including our chat with Janine (there is an echo on our chat with Janine so if it’s too much for your ears you can skip from 30:45 – 42:17 to avoid some echo in your ear)
  • Our on-again/off-again relationship with Canada Soccer
  • The weather, because we’re that Canadian (spoiler: snow in Edmonton!)

We hope you enjoy our latest podcast and connect with us on FacebookTwitter, and TumblrYou can also check us out on iTunesStitcherGoogle Play and SoundCloud, and find our previous podcasts here!

Intro music: “Nightlife/Knifefights” – The Wet Secrets

Outro music: “A Little Respect” – Erasure

For Kicks, For Kicks Podcast

For Kicks Podcast, Episode 21: CANWNT Camp, NWSL Allocations, Canada Soccer jersey giveaway

Well, well, well…looks like there was just too much news between our last episode and our next episode (after the Canadian friendly against Mexico), so we decided that another episode was necessary. We apologize about the sound quality; we had some technical difficulties and had to record this episode twice!

On this episode we talk about:

To enter our Canada Soccer jersey giveaway, all you have to do is fill out this short listener survey. The winner will get to choose a Canada Soccer jersey and customize it with a name and number of their choosing. Contest closes on February 4, 2017. Open to residents of Canada and the US only. A winner will be chosen and announced on our next podcast!

We hope you enjoy our latest podcast and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. You can also check us out on iTunesStitcherGoogle Play and SoundCloud, and find our previous podcasts here!

Intro music: “Nightlife/Knifefights” – The Wet Secrets

Outro music: “When Am I Going To Make A Living” – Sade

For Kicks, News Round-Ups

CANWNT News Round-Up, December 2 – 15

Our latest episode is out in which we talk about Canada’s performance in the group stage vs. Spain, Nigeria and Japan in the U20 Women’s World Cup; updates on the European leagues and the NCAA; and news about the Algarve Cup, to which Canada will return as reigning champions!


FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup

Saturday, December 3rd

For Kicks, Jessica

The Sincy Snub (Again!)

News came out last week announcing the shortlists of the FIFA awards. If you’re a Canadian women’s national soccer team (CANWNT) fan, you probably noticed someone missing from the list. Like many of your fellow CANWNT fans, you’re probably feeling annoyance (to put it nicely) as Christine Sinclair has once again not made the shortlist for the Best FIFA Women’s Player of the Year award. This is her eighth time being snubbed (previously nominated in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2013); not once has she been shortlisted. Just to add some dressing to the snub salad, John Herdman (previously nominated in 2012 and 2015) was also left out of the final three shortlist this year. For the third time. If you’re like me, this is the sound you immediately heard in your head upon word of this news:

I’m not going to cover the Herdman snub specifically because three times is still a tolerable amount. Although, what does a guy have to do in order to make the shortlist? Apparently leading a team to an Olympic medal and jumping up the FIFA ranking all while smoothly integrating younger players into the national team is not enough. Sundhage and Neid should be there. Ellis? Haha. Just another cruel joke from 2016.

So let’s delve into this issue. How was Christine Sinclair’s performance in 2016?

Sinclair started the year off with the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament; a tournament in which her first goal of the year was to surpass Mia Hamm’s international goals scored record. One hundred fifty nine international goals. Incredible. That’s just the start of 2016. By the end of 2016, she was at 165 international goals and her 250th cap. In the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament, Sinclair played through a calf injury (with less minutes played than usual) but still managed to show up in the most important match when she was needed. Canada easily cruised through the group stage matches and made the semi-final match against Costa Rica. The semi-final matches in the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament are always the biggest games as they determine which teams qualify for the Olympics. Sinclair scored Canada’s first two goals in that game. The two goals needed to beat Costa Rica. The second goal that she scored easily goes down as one of the most memorable Sinclair goals of all-time. Pure brilliance and control. Absolutely world class.

Sinclair’s performance in the Olympics was particularly key to Canada’s success as well. Her goals came at vital times throughout the tournament. She scored in Canada’s opening game against Australia, securing a 2-0 win and helping to set the tone for Canada’s Olympic performance. The Canada versus Australia game was a gritty performance led by Sinclair, who assisted on Janine Beckie’s record-breaking goal to give Canada the opening goal before going down to ten players less than 20 minutes later. She also scored the game-winning goal in the match against Brazil; leading her team to a consecutive bronze medal. Sinclair finished the Olympic tournament with three goals, tied with teammate Janine Beckie, Beatriz (BRA), and Sara Däbritz (GER). Melanie Behringer was the top goal scorer in the Olympics with five goals. When compared to her National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) counterparts – Sinclair was voted the NWSL Player of the Olympics by the NWSL Media Association.

How did Sinclair’s performance compare to the other candidates?

By the usual standard of rewarding players and coaches for teams that perform well in a World Cup or Olympic tournament year, this year’s shortlist doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Melanie Behringer – yes, absolutely, that makes sense. She was the leading goal scorer from the gold medalist team at the Rio Olympics. Marta and Carli Lloyd? Both scored two goal in the Olympics and both of their teams didn’t win a medal. Lloyd makes the list by having the most international goals in 2016 (but she’s also tied with Alex Morgan for that title this year – who didn’t make the list of candidates), but the fact that the US were eliminated in the quarterfinals is a reason for her to not make the final three for the award. The same goes for Marta who overall had a pretty good year but struggled in the Olympic tournament. So by that standard…it doesn’t add up. When you look at the candidates on the full list: Christine Sinclair (CAN), Lotta Schelin (SWE), Dzsenifer Marozsán (GER), Saki Kumagai (JPN), Amandine Henry (FRA), Sara Däbritz (GER), Camile Abily (FRA), Melanie Behringer (GER), Carli Lloyd (USA) and Marta (BRA); I’m surprised by Sinclair’s not making the top three due to Canada’s success this year. I also expected either Lotta Schelin or Dzsenifer Marozsán to make the shortlist given Germany and Sweden’s success at the Olympics. Goes to show what I know, I suppose.

Now that’s just international play; if you add in the whole club play issue then I can see why Marta would make the list and why Lotta Schelin or Christine Sinclair would have an even stronger case to be shortlisted, but then how are players like Ada Hegerberg not even on the candidates list? The lack of clarification on how to judge the candidates in the voting process is, at best, confusing. Especially when club coaches are considered for the Best FIFA Coach of the Year.

There’s also the question of how to gauge a player’s performance for these awards. Often the list is littered with forwards. Midfielder, defenders and goalkeepers do make the candidate list but are rarely shortlisted. You can’t just look at a player’s statistics and goals to really gauge how impactful they were on the pitch. This is how the likes of Becky Sauerbrunn, Kim Little, Nilla Fischer, Formiga, Wendie Renard, Hedvig Lindahl (the list could go on and on) are overlooked when it comes to shortlisting players. A player’s impact on the field is a much more complicated question – and not one to leave to the current voting process for these awards.

Does Canada need to play more games for greater recognition?

I’m not one to shy away from blaming Canada Soccer for a whole slew of things but Sinclair and Herdman not making the FIFA shortlists? Nah, that’s not really on them. Canada played 20 games in 2016. They played 18 games in 2015. They play their fair share of games (you can search for all their games here if you really want). Should Canada have played at least one post-Olympic match before the end of 2016? Yes, but it doesn’t need to be a home friendly either. Having a home friendly post-Olympics in October or November would have been nice but considering it takes about three to four months of promotion to get 20,000 – 30,000 people in the stands for a home friendly game, it makes sense that Canada Soccer took the cautious route and waited until they could promote it as best as possible with “double bronze medalists.” Could Canada Soccer schedule games better? HECK YES! Our team should not have a four to six month gap where they don’t play. It’s unacceptable. It takes the team out of the spotlight both nationally and internationally, and that spotlight is necessary to keep the team in the forefront of people’s minds and helps when voters for the FIFA awards make their decisions.

Have you bought your tickets yet?

Instead of having these long gaps after big tournaments, add in a game here and there like most other top national teams do. Sweden and Germany played 18 and 17 games, respectively, this year. Sweden played four games post-Olympics and Germany played five. When you take out the EURO qualifying matches, Sweden played two friendlies and Germany played three.

Canada doesn’t need to go the way of the US women’s national soccer team and play a ridiculous amount of friendlies just to make some cash. Guess how many friendlies the US played this year? Thirteen! When you add in competitive matches they played a total of 25 games this year. That’s honestly flabbergasting, and I think it did their team a disservice. They had a lack of quality matches before the Olympics and their team looked tired by the time the tournament rolled around.

There is a huge upside to all of those friendlies they played though: international recognition. Another bonus: they televised all of their games. Sure, it helps that they are on home soil and therefore have the infrastructure to do so, but people (not just fans) are able to see them play consistently. With their team being highly visible they are able to capitalize on that when it comes to recognition and notoriety. Canada played multiple games this year with only a livestream of some of their matches (granted this is a huge improvement from years past). This isn’t just a CANWNT problem but a greater problem within women’s soccer in general. Women’s games aren’t made into huge televised events, with the exception of the World Cup or the Olympics.

There’s the other issue of money. The Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) can’t afford that many friendlies. They can’t afford a lot of things. But if they could afford more friendlies, it doesn’t mean that the CANWNT needs to play more friendlies. Our players don’t need the added pressure of constantly performing at home, and it potentially does very little to improve our players when walloping a team 10-0, 9-0, 8-0…but in non-World Cup or Olympic years, Canada Soccer could do a better job of scheduling friendlies with AsianAfricanSouth American, and emerging European countries. These games could prove fruitful in several ways for the Canadian team: there’s always turnover with players and less competitive matches are a way to get newer players used to the pace and tactics of an international game, and it would increase Canada’s recognition among smaller footballing nations. In particular, the African and Asian confederations have large memberships, and if Canada could increase the votes coming from some of those nations, we’d likely have more players making the final three in the FIFA awards.

I’m not saying Canada needs to go on a marketing tour so our players can be internationally recognized. During World Cup and Olympic years, we’re better off playing top thirty teams and replicating highly competitive matches so we’re properly prepared. We had maybe some of the best Olympic preparation anyone could have asked for in 2016. We played in the Algarve Cup against Denmark, Iceland, Belgium and Brazil. We then played five friendlies: Netherlands (plus one closed door match), Brazil twice, China and France. Brazil, China and France were all in the Olympics and are all ranked in the top thirty. We ended up playing both Brazil and France in the Olympics – honestly, could you get better Olympic preparation than that? I think not. Okay, maybe one friendly against Germany would have been nice as we had to play them twice but, c’mon, now I’m just being picky. But in the less critical years, CSA could spread out highly competitive games and games that improve their brand recognition internationally, all while helping to improve women’s soccer popularity worldwide. Many women’s national soccer teams are struggling to get support from their own federations or associations and face stigma for playing football. Cooperating with nations in these regions is mutually beneficial to combat discrimination and harassment, and challenge barriers while spreading women’s soccer internationally.

via Canada Soccer

Why hasn’t Sinclair cracked the shortlist?

The biggest culprits are the voting mechanics of the FIFA awards, combined with Christine Sinclair’s lack of international recognition.

The voting breaks down as follows:

“a. captains of national teams can vote for coaches from the national team they represent; b. captains and coaches of national teams can vote for players from the national team they represent; c. nominated captains and coaches are not permitted to vote for themselves; d. specialist journalists can vote for players and coaches who are from their own country or who represent clubs affiliated to their own country; e. fans registered on can vote for men’s and women’s football players and coaches, provided that any such vote is cast fairly and in accordance with these rules of allocation.”

The voting process…sees the vote split equally between the four groups. Each group’s votes are counted, converted into a percentage and divided by four” – FIFARules of Allocation

Does CSA give Sinclair the recognition she deserves? Yes…at least in Canada, that is. Sinclair is and will continue to be the face of women’s soccer in this country….very, very likely until she retires. Her name has always shone brightly when it comes to Canadian soccer and the CSA knows it and they capitalize on it at every turn. Sinclair has made huge contributions to the women’s game within Canada, but Canada Soccer has done a less than stellar job at promoting her or our other players internationally. It makes sense, though, that they’re not overly concerned with promoting the CANWNT internationally when there’s still a need to grow women’s soccer within Canada. That should remain CSA’s top priority as it will help expand the player pool and hopefully lead to more success for the CANWNT. Every national soccer federation/association is in a different phase when it comes to the women’s game. This is the phase that Canada Soccer is in.

There’s another problem, though. Canadian soccer isn’t recognized as a brand of soccer that is worth making these shortlists. What is Canadian soccer? What is our brand? Think about it. German soccer is efficient and organized. Brazilian soccer is creative and has technical flair. Americans are the powerhouse – fast, strong, increasingly technical. Japan takes everyone’s breath away with fast tiki taka movement. All of those countries have an identifiable brand of soccer. Of the players that have made the shortlist only three other countries besides the ones listed above have had players make the shortlist: Sweden, England and China. Sweden, England and China also have mostly identifiable brands of soccer too. Similar to those already mentioned, albeit less successful.

Canadian soccer is just starting to form an identity, culture and model of play. One that will continue to evolve but one that John Herdman is helping to mould, and one that the CSA is trying to improve upon after years and years of disunity and disorganization in the Canadian soccer structure. I’m not saying an identifiable brand of soccer is necessary to make the shortlist but without international praise or recognition, how can we expect other nation’s coaches and captains who vote for these awards to vote for our players and coaches?

So should Christine Sinclair have made the shortlist for 2016? Yes. Why didn’t she make the shortlist this year? A multitude of factors. How does a CANWNT fan deal with another snub? Personally, I have a file titled: “Christine Sinclair: Chronically Underappreciated While Consistently Kicking Ass” where I mentally lock away all of this aggravating information, ready to use it at a moment’s notice when I feel Christine Sinclair is not getting the attention she deserves. And unless CSA gets a large influx of money or FIFA overhauls their voting system for these awards, we’re unlikely to see a Canadian in the final three for some time. There’s a lack of appreciation and recognition for our players, coaches and achievements among media outside of Canada (heck, we struggle for decent coverage inside of Canada too) and from national teams/players beyond CONCACAF and top UEFA teams. It’s annoying, but as Canadian fans aren’t we used to our team being underestimated? Aren’t we used to underestimating them ourselves? Frankly, it’s a bad habit. One that we should break for 2017.

For Kicks, News Round-Ups

#CANWNT News Round-Up, November 25 -December 1

Our latest episode is out in which we talk about Canada’s performance in the group stage vs. Spain, Nigeria and Japan in the U20 Women’s World Cup; updates on the European leagues and the NCAA; and news about the Algarve Cup, to which Canada will return as reigning champions!



NCAA College Cup

Friday, December 2nd

FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup

Friday, November 25th

Tuesday, November 29th