Four years after a loss that left Canada’s women’s soccer team “shattered,” players are relishing the chance to play in the Olympics for the first time since women’s soccer was introduced in 1996.
“It had been a long four years,” said Burnaby’s Christine Sinclair yesterday at an event at B.C. Place to fete the team that qualified for the 2008 Beijing Games last month with a 1-0 victory over Mexico.
In 2004, however, the team lost 2-1 to Mexico — a team they had never lost to — and failed to qualify for the Summer Olympics.
“We were just expected to go to the Athens Games,” Sinclair said. “When that didn’t happen our team was just shattered.”
Kara Lang, a midfielder/forward from Oakville, Ont., said the memory of 2004 added to the pressure the team felt at this year’s qualifying tournament.
“We know what it feels like to come up short and we never want to feel that way again,” said Lang, calling the Olympics a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The team is ninth in FIFA rankings and will play China, Sweden and Argentina in the first round of the Olympic tournament.