As I’m sitting at the airport waiting to board my final plane to home, it’s hard to believe that this is all over. After a long 48 hours of traveling I am exhausted. It was really hard saying bye to my teammates after I have lived and grown with them this past month through this amazing journey. Goodbyes were filled with many hugs and tears. I’ve promised all of them that we will keep in touch through Facebook and Skype! This truly was an experience of a lifetime and I am fortunate enough to have shared it with such a wonderful staff and teammates. We have not only grown as soccer players, but as people too. Losing in the quarterfinals was tough, but we are all looking forward to training for the next u20 World Cup and want to make our country proud. Go Canada!!
Last night we lost to Korea DPR 2-1 in the quarterfinals with all three goals being scored in the second half. We scored our goal with 10 minutes remaining, which gave us that extra push to keep going until the final whistle. It was a long and hard fought battle, and we are all holding our heads high as we leave this morning. I can't be more proud to be Canadian, and I know there will be more to come in my future for representing Canada women's soccer.
Just a quick update. We play North Korea at the 8km Stadium tomorrow with kickoff set for 5:00 pm local time (7:48 am EDT on ESPN3). These past four days we have been preparing mentally and physically for this match and we are going to go out and leave it all out on the field. Below is a picture of the stadium for our quarterfinal match.
After a long and nail biting game we defeated Azerbaijan today 1-0. We had many opportunities that we were unable to capitalize on. Azerbaijan had a great performance and being the home country, they had great support from the home crowd. Our next focus is North Korea in our quarterfinal match! We all have to focus and stick to our game plan to do our best. Along with North Korea and Canada, France and Nigeria also advanced to the quarters. It was a big upset that the United States was sent home today by North Korea, as they tied 1-1, but didn't have enough points to advance.
Today we played Colombia in front of crowd of 10,000. Our job was to stick to the game plan and we succeeded. We came out with a respectable1-0 win. Since we share the hotel with the other 3 teams in our group, we see many of them on a daily basis. I would say Colombia has been one of the friendliest nations of all. But after playing them they showed a tough, new side. The Colombians didn't give up till the whistle blew and gave us a good fight. Our next focus is Azerbaijan who we play on Saturday!
Tonight we played Nigeria in a hard fought battle that ended in a 1-1 draw. I was surprised at how good Nigeria was. They were aggressive and constantly attacking. It was a great game and the adrenaline from watching the teams play in front of 20,000 people in my first World Cup game is still running through my veins.
To end the night we were able to see Jennifer Lopez and Cirque du Soleil perform 30 feet away from us as we peeked through our locker room windows out to the stadium. We also were able to briefly meet JLo's back up dancers who were very amazingly athletic and talented!
Being selected to represent Team Canada as one of their three Goalkeepers at the Under 17 FIFA Women's World Cup is easily the biggest honor I have ever received.
21 players per country get selected, and only 16 teams qualify for the World Cup (we previously qualified back in May in Guatemala City, Guatemala.) That is less than 340 soccer players and less than 50 Goalkeepers who were selected to be a part of this tournament worldwide.
We all met as a team in Toronto, and then caught a connecting flight through Berlin. We arrived in Baku, Azerbaijan on September 12th after a long flight time of 12 total hours. Our team was greeted by the FIFA mascot, and we were each handed a bouquet of flowers. The first week consisted of pre-camp (training twice a day).
We had one friendly against China, and lost 2-1. I played the second half and didn't concede any goals. After that phase was completed we moved into downtown Baku. In downtown, you cant go one block without seeing a FIFA U17 Women's World Cup banner somewhere, as well as pictures of J Lo, Rihanna, and Shakira who have all come to perform for our tournament. Our group consists of Nigeria, Columbia, and Azerbaijan, the home country. Our first group stage game tomorrow is against Nigeria, and we have been training and focusing hard to reach a spot on the Medal Podium.