Written By: Helena Wang


The Canadian team before the final match of the Cyprus Cup against England on March 2015 (Photo by Getty Images)

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Host country Canada has been looking forward to the start of the 2015 World Cup since being awarded the opportunity to showcase the event. Currently ranked number 8 in the FIFA World Ranking, Canada is a team that has been improving and hopes to go all the way with a talented squad and a home field advantage (1). The host has shown that they can compete with the top teams in the world by taking home the bronze medal during the 2012 Olympic Games and gold medal in the 2011 Pan-American Games (2).

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Trend of Canada’s team FIFA world rankings (Source: FIFA)

History of Canada’s Women Football

In the early years, Canada participated in the 1988 Women’s Invitational Tournament, the precursor to the World Cup, which was held in China. This comes only two years after the first ever Canadian women’s national camp opened in Winnipeg, MB (3). In 1991, Canada participated in the qualifiers for the inaugural World Cup but was not able to advance to the final competition after losing to the United States 0-5 in the first ever CONCACAF Women’s Championship (4).

Since then, Canada has qualified for the World Cup every time. In the 1995 World Cup in Sweden, Canada did not make it out of the group stage by drawing with Nigeria, and losing to England and eventual champions Norway. Although this World Cup lacked the same amount of excitement and fan participation, it showed the development of the Canadian team and was a step forward for the women’s soccer game in Canada. The 1999 World Cup was very similar, with most players from the 1995 World Cup returning and similar results for the Canadian team.

It was not until the 2003 World Cup when Canadian women soccer truly showed their development and growth as a team (5). Held in the US, this World Cup exhibited a young and talented Canadian squad. The team advanced out of the group stage for the first time by defeating the soccer power Japan, and Argentina after losing heavily to the Germans. The Canadian squad continued to shock the world by defeating the Chinese team, which finished 2nd in the 1999 World Cup, in the first round of the knockout stages (6). Canada made it all the way to the semi-finals where they eventually lost to Sweden.

Canada’s World Cup record (Source: Wikipedia)

The Canadian team continued to have mixed results in the international realm, failing to advance to the knockout stages at both the 2007 World Cup and the 2008 Olympics. On the other hand, Canada won the 2010 Gold Cup, which showed an upward trend for the team.

2011 World Cup

Since winning the 2010 Gold Cup, Canada is bristling with confidence and there were high expectations for the team to do well in the 2011 World Cup in Germany (7). There were only seven players returning from the 2007 World Cup team, including Canada’s best player of all time, Christine Sinclair. It seems that Canada finally has the talent and motivation to improve upon their great run in the 2003 World Cup.

However, Canada was placed in an extremely difficult group, which included host country Germany, France and African champion Nigeria. Unfortunately for Canada, the 2011 World Cup did not go as planned, as the team lost to all three teams consecutively (8). The team was unable to advance to the knockout stages, and these shocking defeats have paved the way for Canada’s future in the soccer world.

Canada vs. Germany at the 2011 World Cup opener

Looking Ahead: 2015 World Cup

After the 2011 World Cup, the Canadian team managed to qualify for only its 2nd Olympic games. With basically the same team that played in the 2011 World Cup, the Canadian squad exceeded expectations and redeemed themselves, defeating a very strong Mexican team to get to the semifinal against their rival, the US. In an exciting and great soccer match, Canada was outlasted by the US 4-3. They ended up getting the bronze medal in the competition, their first medal in international soccer, after defeating France 1-0 (9).

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That was three years ago and Canada is hoping to find that same kind of success in the 2015 World Cup. Canada’s squad is a mix of experienced players, such as Canada’s most prolific player Christine Sinclair, and younger up and coming players, such as Duke’s own Rebecca Quinn. Canada is expected to be strong both offensively and defensively, as well as having a formidable foursome in the midfield area for strong ball control (10). Sinclair has been quoted to say,

“It’s incredibly exciting… I’m sure it’s going to be a fantastic tournament and I must say that I feel good about how the Canada team is shaping up. I think we’re peaking at the right time.”

With Coach John Herdman, who brought the team to a first ever gold medal at the 2011 Pan-American Games, leading the team, his experience and ambition will prove to be incredibly useful and can help in continuing this unprecedented success in Canadian soccer.

Player to Watch: Rebecca Quinn

Previews - FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014

Rebecca Quinn playing for U-20 Canada’s national team (Photo by Mike Hewitt – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Our player to watch is Duke’s very own Rebecca Quinn (11). We may be a little biased, but this current sophomore will be putting on the Canadian women’s national team’s jersey for the summer. Playing in the center back position, Quinn has played for the Canadian U-17 team, and currently has made four appearances for the Canadian team. As a college student adjusting to becoming a full-time athlete for the summer, Quinn has had to prepare for her time playing on soccer’s biggest stage.

Born on August 11th, 1995 in Toronto, Quinn came from an athletic family. She made her first appearance in the Canadian National youth program in 2010 at the game of 14 (12). Since then, she has led the Canadian youth teams to great success, winning a silver medal at the 2012 CONCACAF Women’s Under-17 Championship in Guatemala and advancing to the quarterfinals of the 2014 U-20 World Cup in Canada (13).

According to Quinn, playing for a college team is a very different experience from playing for the senior national team (14). While the age and experience range on the national level is much wider than on the collegiate level, Quinn says that everyone is still treated as equals – she feels comfortable voicing her opinions and strategies, while also having the opportunity to absorb as much experience from the more senior players.

Additionally, Quinn states that the lifestyle differences between being a student athlete and a full-time athlete are quite drastic. She says,

“As a student athlete its always hard to balance school and athletics. When you aren’t in school, your only focus is soccer and you can devote all your energy towards it. I get to practice two times a day along with meetings and film review. That isn’t possible at a school with such academic rigor like Duke.”

This is clearly an exciting time for Quinn as she looks forward to playing as part of the Canadian defense, and we wish her the best of luck throughout the tournament!

How to cite this page: “Canada” Written by Helena Wang (2015), World Cup 2015 Guide, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, (accessed on (date)).

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Works Cited:

1. “Canada FIFA World Ranking,” FIFA, last modified March 27, 2015,

2. “Canada women’s national soccer team,” Wikipedia, last modified 2015,

3. “History,” Canada Soccer, last modified 2010,

4. “1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup,” Wikipedia, last modified 2015,

5. “2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup,” Wikipedia, last modified 2015,

6. “Canada: The Canada Soccer Association,” FIFA, last modified 2015,

7. “2010 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup,” Wikipedia, last modified 2015,

8. “2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup,” Wikipedia, last modified 2015,

9. Jeff Blair, “Canadian women’s soccer team gets Olympic bronze medals,” The Globe and Mail, last modified August 9, 2012,

10. “Canada: Profile,” FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015, last modified 2015,

11. “Duke Women’s Soccer: Rebecca Quinn,” GoDuke,

12. “Rebecca Quinn (Soccer),” Wikipedia, last modified 2015,

13. “Canada: Rebecca Quinn.” Canada Soccer.

14. James Ziemba, “Q+A with DWS Centre Midfileder and Canadian National Team Centre Back Rebecca Quinn,” Soccer Politics, last modified February 17, 2015,

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