The Argosy (Mount Allison University)
SACKVILLE (CUP) — The bright lights of international soccer tournaments will be shining on Canada in the summers of 2014 and 2015 and Moncton, N.B. is ready for the spotlight.
Moncton will co-host the FIFA Under-20 women’s World Cup in 2014 and the FIFA 2015 women’s World Cup. The city has hosted a multitude of sporting events in the last few years including three Canadian Football League games, the 2010 World Junior Championship in Athletics and a women’s international friendly in 2012 between the Canadian and Chinese women’s national teams.
The goal of the tournament is to “truly host an event from coast to coast for the first time,” said Stephane Delisle, venue general manager for Moncton. “Moncton did a great job of submitting a compelling story as to why they should be involved.”
The tournaments could prove to have lasting effects for Moncton’s reputation. The city will continue to build their strong showing of hosting international events in the Atlantic provinces.
“We’re going to play the 2015 tournament on an artificial turf,” Delisle confirmed. “Another requirement of the city was to have a surface with artificial turf as a training field. Indirectly related to our work, the city, together with the province, came together to finish the work late in 2012 on two artificial turf surfaces at local schools. We can proudly say, even before the tournament starts, they have been lasting legacies on the city.”
A draw determining where each fixture will take place will be held in March, but Canada’s round robin schedule has already been pre-determined because they are hosts. Canada’s fixtures will be played at BMO Field in Toronto and Olympic Stadium in Montreal.
Moncton will host the semi-final matches in the U-20 championship, which could feature the U-20 women’s national team.
“Canada is the host nation [and] has been seeded A1, so the group stage has been predetermined for Canada. Should we be fortunate enough to have Canada play in Moncton in 2014, I really think that it’s going to bring a new level of attention to the region,” said Delisle.
“I’m quite confident that if people haven’t been interested by the [semi-final match], that on Wednesday, Aug. 20, even more people are going to be paying attention to women’s soccer in Moncton that day.”
Delisle is reassuring that the spotlight will be shining brightly on the “hub of the Maritimes.”
In a five-year period, the city of Moncton will be able to say that they have hosted half a dozen nationally televised events. The city has spent a considerable amount of money to make sure that athletics has become an integral part of their entertainment venues, which will allow them to host future international events at their facilities.
Photo: supplied by The Argosy