Canada's women's soccer team preparing for China
Source: Mark Janzen, Trinity Western Sports Info
LANGLEY, British Columbia – With just over a week to go before their first match at this summer's FISU Games in China, Canada's women's soccer team went through its final workouts at Trinity Western University this week. And for the 20 university women who will represent the red and white this August, the focus has largely been on gelling as a unit in a short period of time.
While head coach Graham Roxburgh knows the talent is there to compete, the key for success will be getting everyone on the same page and bringing it all together at the right time .
"We're a talented team individually," Roxburgh said. "There's no doubt we've picked some very good players but the question is how quickly can they become a team. You play at this tournament with world class competition and players who have played together for a long time. So that's probably one of the biggest emphasis is how can we gel as a team. How can we understand each other's movements and nuances and how they play? We're quick and we're athletic and we're going to need to be an aggressive team."
While quickness and aggression will need to be a major part of this team's game plan, playing a sound possession game will go a long way to competing with the world's best.
"We're definitely more possession oriented," said Team Canada striker Nikki Wright (Cloverdale, B.C.) who plays for Trinity Western University. "We're definitely looking to play possession with a purpose, which is what Graham [Roxburgh] loves to play and what Canada is striving to play more like. We're trying to get away from the kick and run and trying to out run other teams because in a world competition it's just not going to win us games. We're trying to do the possession thing more and moving the ball quickly and we've been very successful so far."
Team Canada midfielder Alyssa Lagonia, who plays for Wilfrid Laurier University added: "We're definitely a very athletic team but I'm hoping that we can come together a bit more and hold the possession game and keep the ball and look for those through balls. I think we have the talent to really play great soccer."
Canada finds itself in a group that includes Great Britain, China and Chinese Taipei, a trio of teams that will no doubt provide the Canadians plenty of challenges in the early going.
"We're very aware that we're in a very tough group," Roxburgh said. "Great Britain made it to the semis last time and then China we had some success against two years ago but we know that they're very good and are the home team so they'll be ready and then [Chinese Taipei] is a very technical side that will be quick and organized. So the biggest goal we have is, can we be together playing as a team and firing on all cylinders by the time we hit the group stage? If we get out of the group I think anything can happen."
Canada plays its opening game against Great Britian August 11 at 4:30 p.m. local time before playing China August 13 at 7:30 p.m. and Chinese Taipei August 15, also at 7:30 p.m.
About the Summer Universiade
The Summer Universiade is an international multi-sport event that takes place every two years and is second only to the Olympic Games in the number of participating athletes and countries. The Universiade is open to competitors who are at least 17 and less than 28 years of age as of January 1 in the year of the Games. Participants must be full-time students at a post-secondary institution (university, college, CEGEP) or have graduated from a post-secondary institution in the year preceding the event.
About Spartan Athletics
Since Trinity Western entered the CIS in 1999, Spartan student-athletes have accumulated a number of significant awards including a CIS Athlete of the Year (BLG) award, four CIS Player of the Year awards, a CIS Elite Eight Academic All-Canadian award, three CIS Rookie of the Year awards, a CIS Libero of the Year award, three CIS community service awards and numerous CIS All-Canadian and Canada West All-Star awards. In twelve years as members of the CIS, the Spartans have won six national titles (women's soccer in 2004, 2008, 2009 and men's volleyball in 2006, 2011), 15 CIS championship medals, an individual CIS championship in track and seven Canada West championships.