Story by Richard Scott
Canada will play six matches in eight days at this year’s Parapanamerican Games, but it all begins with a rivalry match against their familiar foes Venezuela on the opening day of the 2023 competition. The two sides will meet for the 11th time in 14 years when they line up on Saturday 18 November at Estadio Bicentenario Municipal de La Florida in Santiago, Chile.
The last time the two sides met in this competition was 2015 when Venezuela won a Bronze Medal at the Parapanamerican Games in Toronto. Since then, the two sides have a win and two draws each in four matches from 2016 to 2022. Their last match was a thrilling 3:3 draw at the 2022 IFCPF Men’s World Cup in Salou, Spain.
“Our first match will be against Venezuela and it is possible the most important match for us,” said Drew Ferguson, Canada Soccer’s Para Soccer National Team Head Coach. “An early win could go a long way to getting into a medal game. We’re evenly matched and it should be an intense game, but hopefully we can come out on top.”
Canada will face Venezuela, Brazil, Chile, Argentina and USA across six days in the group phase from 18 to 23 November, with all matches scheduled for the same venue. After a day’s rest, all six teams will play a ranking match on Saturday 25 November, be it for 5th Place, for a Bronze Medal, or a Gold Medal.
“With Venezuela we have a bit of a rivalry these past few years, so it’s an exciting first match,” said captain Samuel Charron, who has seven goals and two assists in eight career matches against Venezuela.
Charron said Canada are healthy and ready to go and that they appreciate the support from Canadians back home. As a multi-sport event, Charron expects a few new fans to emerge from watching the Para Soccer National Team in action at this year’s Parapanamerican Games.
“It’s important for us to show that we are good team and hopefully our fans will enjoy it,” said Charron. “We’re out here for our families, friends and the Canadian fans, so we want to do well for Canada and we believe we have a chance to do that.”
Across the tournament, fans will find extended coverage across Canada Soccer’s digital channels on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter featuring the hashtag #CanPara.
Canada Soccer outlines return to soccer guidelines. The return to soccer guidelines provide member organizations with a five-step process, including a checklist of weighted questions known as the Return to Soccer Assessment Tool.