By Alex Evans and Kyle Lessard
On June 30, the Waterloo Minor Soccer Club (WMSC) received an invitation to participate in the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014 Youth Programme. The Youth Programme offers children an opportunity to be a part of the opening ceremonies of a World Cup match.
The Youth Programme required WMSC to select 11 players from the U8 – U10 age groups. The club decided the fairest way to select players was to open the opportunity up to all the Recreational and Development players, both girls and boys, and conduct a draw. Players were asked to fill out a ballot and return it to the office for the draw.
Congratulations to Olivia Kuepfer, Cassidy Guha, Cody Gerth-Williams, Connor Penny, Kierra Blankespoor, Madeleine Sauve, Ryan Rouhollahi, Carter Trussell, Olivia McIntosh, Danica Monterroso, Brock Stephenson, and the two coaches selected to attend , Leonardo Inojoza and Christian Monterroso.
The WMSC group walked out of the tunnel with the starting eleven from Finland in the first game at BMO Field and with the starting eleven from team Canada in the second game at BMO Field.
This was a very exciting opportunity for our club as over 70 WMSCC members had already purchased tickets to attend the game on August 5 and were able to see our 11 players represent our club at an international level. The players that got the chance to participate all had a great time and it’s sure to be a memory they won’t forgot.
Brock Stephenson said, “Ten out of ten! It was very exciting to meet the players and be out on the field.”
A number of the participants had similar thoughts as summarized by Madeleine Sauve, “I had so much fun! It was very cool seeing the players up close and some of them even talked to me. When I was standing on the field and the national anthem was playing I felt proud to be Canadian.”
Madeleine’s mother, Pam Sauve, said, “It was a great opportunity to expose the young players to the World Cup action and see soccer played at a high level. It was a day that my daughter will never forget!”
James Kuepfer, whose daughter Olivia attended, said, “It was truly a memorable day. The soccer was great to watch as well. I was very impressed by the athletes on the field.”
“International high level soccer is immensely involving to witness in person,” noted WMSC President Brian Jewett. “Our players and families saw a great game and experienced the passionate support of the Ghanaian and Canadian fans. It was an amazing moment to see the Ghanaian players joining their supporters at games end and sing and dance for joy in front of us! We left with deeper appreciation of the importance of soccer throughout the world. Overall, it was a great experience for all the players that attended and our club as a whole. It is certainly an event that no one will forget about anytime soon.”