Canada Soccer

Canada sets sights on Concacaf rival Mexico for Uruguay 2018 Semi-final

Posted on 27 November 2018 in ↳ Women's EXCEL U-14 to U-17

Canada Soccer’s Women’s U-17 team will face-off against Mexico in an historic FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Semi-final when the Concacaf rivals clash at 19.00 local (17.00 ET / 14.00 PT) on Wednesday 28 November. Both teams will be making their Semi-final debut in this competition and it will mark the first-ever encounter between the two Concacaf nations at a FIFA women’s youth tournament.

Canadian fans can watch the Semi-final live on TSN 4 and TSN 5 in English and on RDS2 in French.
“We set a goal and that’s to win this tournament and that’s the path we are following,” said Jordyn Huitema, Captain of the Canada Soccer U-17 Women’s Team.  “We’ve played Mexico before so we know what to expect and it’s going to be a difficult match.  It’s always going to be a battle when you get to the top four in the world, but we are just going to push hard and see what we can do on Wednesday.”
Canada booked its ticket to the Semi-final round after defeating Germany 1:0 in the Quarter-final, while Mexico earned its spot after overcoming Ghana 4-2 on penalties as the match finished 2-2 at the end of 90 minutes.  On the other side of the table, Spain and New Zealand both earned spots in the Semi-final after winning on penalty kicks with Spain beating reigning champions Korea DPR 3-1 on penalties after the match finished 1-1, and New Zealand defeating 2014 champions Japan 4-3 on penalties after the match finished 1-1. Canada was the only team to win in regulation time during the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Uruguay 2018 Quarter-finals. 
Canada knows its Semi-final opponent well.  The two teams met in the Semi-final of the 2018 Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship with Mexico defeating Canada 2:1 to qualify for Uruguay 2018 before falling in the Final to the United States 3:2. Canada went on to defeat Haiti in the Match for Third Place to earn their place in Uruguay 2018.  The Concacaf U-17 Champions USA bowed out of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup after losing 4:0 to Germany in the group stage.
“We know Mexico well and we are not taking anything for granted headed into this historic match for both our nations,” said Head Coach Rhian Wilkinson.  “We have recent experience against Mexico, but our team has evolved since our last match and it’s a different Canadian team, with a different mind-set going into the Semi-final.”
Mexico are a familiar face at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, having competed in four of the five editions held to date and only missed the inaugural staging at New Zealand 2008. Their best performances came at Costa Rica 2014 and Jordan 2016, when they made it to the Quarter-finals.
Head Coach Rhian Wilkinson and Mexico’s Monica Vergara are both former national team players, with an abundance of international experience to draw from. Wilkinson, a mainstay for Canada from the time of her debut in 2003 until her retirement in 2017, was a member of Canada’s most successful FIFA competition teams when Canada placed fourth at the FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003 and is a two-time Olympic Bronze Medalist in 2012 and 2016. 
Vergara represented Mexico at the 2004 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament. Most notably, as a 16-year-old, she was the youngest member of the team that went to the FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 1999.
Canada Soccer’s ongoing investment in the Women’s EXCEL program has already graduated 18 players to the Women’s National Team from the youth ranks since 2013.   Alongside the investment in player development, Canada Soccer’s Elite Player Elite Coach program launched in 2016 highlights the development of player-turned-coach Rhian Wilkinson, who has now led Canada to their first-ever Semi-final at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
“I’d like to thank Canada Soccer.  They’ve really given me so many opportunities and I know they are creating coaching opportunities for a lot of women in Canada,” said Wilkinson after Canada’s historic Quarter-final win over Germany.  
Wilkinson, who was nominated by Canada Soccer to participate in the new FIFA Coach Mentorship Program designed to support female coaches by enabling them to acquire new knowledge, skills and experience that they can harness in their careers, noted that herself, New Zealand’s Gemma Lewis and Mexico Coach Monica Vergara, three of four coaches in the Semi-final of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup are part of the program.
“It’s really wonderful to look across the bench and see women that are growing in the game,” added Wilkinson.
Having reached the Semi-final, this will be Canada’s highest finish in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.  Canada has placed in the top ten participating nations in each edition of the tournament, but, had previously reached a highest position of seventh in New Zealand 2008 and Azerbaijan 2012.  Canada placed tenth at Trinidad and Tobago 2010, eighth at Costa Rica 2014, and ninth in Jordan 2016.

Canada marks the 10-year anniversary of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup as one of only six nations to have qualified for every edition since it was launched in 2008, alongside Germany, Ghana, Japan, New Zealand and Korea DPR.
FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Uruguay 2018

  • The official slogan for the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup is Same Game Same Emotion. (A slogan to unite the generations).
  • The tournament's four groups are Group A: Uruguay, Ghana, New Zealand, Finland; Group B: Mexico, South Africa, Brazil, Japan; Group C: USA, Cameroon, Korea DPR, Germany; and, Group D: Korea Republic, Spain, Canada, Colombia.
  • A total of 32 matches, across four groups containing 16 teams, will be played to decide the winner of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Uruguay 2018.
  • Korea DPR are the reigning champions of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup and the tournament's most successful competitor with two titles (2008, 2016).  Japan (2014), South Korea (2010), and France (2012) have also raised the coveted youth trophy as the world's top U-17 women's team.   Korea DPR was also the runner-up in 2012 and Japan was the runner-up in both 2010 and 2016.  
  • Spain, whom Canada played in its final group stage match, were runners-up in 2014 and third place winners in 2010 and 2016.
  • A total of 32 nations have competed in the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup since it started in 2008.

Background – Canada Soccer Women's U-17 National Team

  • Canada Soccer's Roster for the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Uruguay 2018:
  • The FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Uruguay 2018 is Canada's sixth appearance in the penultimate competition for players born before 2004. Canada has placed in the top ten participating nations in each edition of the tournament reaching its highest position of seventh in New Zealand 2008 and Azerbaijan 2012.  Canada placed tenth at Trinidad and Tobago 2010, eighth at Costa Rica 2014, and ninth in Jordan 2016, with a historical total of six wins, six draws and six losses.
  • Canadians registered 14 goals at the competition prior to 2018, with Marie Levasseur topping the goal-scoring list with four in 2014.
  • Canada qualified for the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Uruguay 2018 by capturing third place at the Concacaf U-17 Women's Championship earlier this year.
  • Canada has twice before placed third in the Concacaf qualifier for the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, in Trinidad and Tobago 2008 and Grenada 2016.  Canada won the qualifier in Costa Rica 2010 and placed second in both Jamaica 2013 and Grenada 2016.  In total, Canada has 17 wins, two draws and six losses in qualification campaigns for the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cups.

Following Canada's successful hosting of the inaugural FIFA women's youth tournament, the FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship in 2002, FIFA began making plans to hold both the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup and FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup to match the youth competition format for men.  Notably, Canada Soccer Women's National Team Captain Christine Sinclair won the golden boot for most goals at the 2002 tournament as Canada placed runners-up to the USA and launching a rivalry that thrives today.
About Canada Soccer's Women's National EXCEL Program

Canada Soccer Women's National EXCEL Program brings together the best with the best at the national youth level, throughout the year. Operating across the U-14 to U-20 age groups, the program is designed to deliver an aligned talent structure and system that progresses more top players to Canada's Women's National Team. Major competitions are viewed as staging posts to assess development and allow for the development of the Women's EXCEL Team Playing Model and tournament processes and expertise which will ultimately prepare players to progress up the system.
Additionally, the most talented U-14 to U-18 players are offered a specialised daily training environment through the Regional EXCEL Program, which deliver Canada Soccer's national curriculum year-round through a two-tiered talent system, with three Super Centres streamlining Canada's National EXCEL Players into training environments in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec from smaller provincial licenced Centres.
Canada Soccer's Women's National Team
Canada is two-time Olympic bronze medal winners (2012 and 2016) and two-time CONCACAF champions (1998 and 2010). In all, Canada has participated in six consecutive editions of the FIFA Women's World Cup (1995 to 2015) and three successive editions of the Women's Olympic Football Tournament (2008 to 2016). At Rio 2016, Canada Soccer's Women's National Team were the first Canadian Olympic team to win back-to-back medals at a summer Olympic Games in more than a century and the only FIFA Member Association to repeat on the podium.

Canada will compete for an eighth FIFA Women's World Cup in France next year.  The draw to determine the group stage opponents takes place 8 December in Paris, France.
About Canada Soccer
Canada Soccer, in partnership with its membership and its partners, provides leadership in the pursuit of excellence in soccer, both at the national and international levels. Canada Soccer not only strives to lead Canada to victory, but also encourages Canadians to a life-long passion for soccer. For more details on Canada Soccer, visit the official website at

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