Thorns’ Victory a Bittersweet win for Canada

As Portland captures the inaugural NWSL championship, it has a distinct Canadian flavour
by Henrik Lonne   |   Thursday, September 05, 2013

Made in Canada - coverage of the Canadian MLS, NASL & USL Clubs, CSL, PCSL, Canadian Championship & Canada National Teams

The Portland Thorn’s Canadian duo played a big part in the team’s 1st NWSL championship. Goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc kept a clean sheet and Christine Sinclair, probably one of the best female strikers in her era, scored a stoppage time goal to make it a 2-0 win.

Having 2 Canadians playing a prominent part in the inaugural NWSL championship game is a small, early vindication of the Canadians Soccer Association’s decision to join United States Soccer Federation in establishing the league. It shows Canadian girls that the dream of going pro is attainable if they work hard and practice and that great soccer performances aren’t reserved to the Americans, Germans or Japanese.

(Re)Building the Canadian soccer development system (both for boys and girls) is dependent on great coaches that can educate players and an infrastructure that supports them. But it is also important to create role models who show that dreams can become real.

Having Canadian players becoming marquee players in the NWSL is a great 1st step in inspiring these dreams, and given where domestic (women’s) soccer stands in Canada anyone would be a fool to complain.

Yet the dreamer and the idealist (me) will point out how it would be so much more inspiring if Sinclair and LeBlanc won this inspiring win for a Canadian team. There are many positive things about the NWSL for Canadian soccer, but just as Major League Soccer expanding into Canada has been and will be important for men’s soccer in Canada, it is hard to see beyond the fact that it is sad that Canada doesn’t have a team.

Ideally Canada would have its own leagues for both men and women, but at least the NWSL needs a Canadian team. Rumours have circulated around a Toronto team, but really the eyes should be pointed towards Vancouver.

The city has been a great supporter of the Canadian women’s team for years, but even more so the Vancouver Whitecaps have fielded a team in W-League for years and even won the championship in 2004 and 2006. That is, until 2013. This year the Whitecaps didn’t field a team.

The organisation likes to style itself as a club, rather than a franchise and has historically done much for Canadian soccer for both men and women, so if any organisation should be fielding a Canadian-based team in NWSL it should be them.

When the organisation announced that it wouldn’t field a team in the W-League, it stressed that it is still committed to women’s soccer. If this is true, it should strongly consider a team in the NWSL.

Henrik LONNE

Copenhagen Business School
Club Domestic:
AGF Aarhus
Club Foreign:
Toronto FC
Born and raised in Denmark, the US performance in the 2002 World Cup dragged Henrik into the world of North American soccer. Subsequent trips to Canada made him a Toronto FC fan from abroad. The passion he now has for MLS outshines most European leagues.