Proving our Worth.
The FIFA Men’s U20 matches hosted in Edmonton went on to draw more than 240,000 fans and the event became the largest single sport event in the history of Canada, but our goal of bringing in the FIFA Women’s World Cup was just beginning.
The support for the sport was spreading across the city. At last count we had almost 27,000 registered players, and after several years away, Edmonton welcomed back the North American Soccer League organization, FC Edmonton. Soccer Canada was beginning to take notice.
Building the right team.
Soccer Canada had set their sights on hosting for the seventh edition of the quadrennial FIFA Women’s World Cup, and they began highlighting potential host cities to include in their bid. They needed to build a team of cities who could successfully host what is probably the world’s most prestigious women’s sporting event. Edmonton wasn’t forgotten.
We made the list of cities approached about becoming a host city for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. While we were very excited, there was a lot of work to be done, and we knew we had to impress. There was 6 host city spots - far too few for the number of interested Canadian cities. We quickly assembled a strong contingent to represent our city, with delegates from the City of Edmonton, Province of Alberta, Alberta Soccer Association and Commonwealth Stadium. United they flew to meet with Soccer Canada to learn more about how they planned to attract the event.
It quickly became clear that we had a serious shot. That belief was strengthened when it was announced that Toronto most likely wouldn’t be able to participate as a host city for 2015, due to the hosting of the 2015 Pan Am Games. We left the session with reassurances that Edmonton would at least be in the mix of host cities. But first, Canada needed to be awarded the seventh edition of the quadrennial FIFA Women’s World Cup, last hosted by Germany in 2011.
With its diversity, the Canadian population will be a great support to all the teams and will once again add a special atmosphere to the tournament.
FIFA President, Joseph S. Blatter
Getting down to Business.
Back in Edmonton our team quickly began to gather all of the info required for Soccer Canada as part of the bid package. We highlighted our:
- Strong federal and provincial support
- World-Class venue, Commonwealth Stadium
- The strong socio-cultural community
- The evolution of the sport in our city
- Past success in hosting world-class events
With our help, Canada was chosen as the host country for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and Edmonton was listed as one of the host cities. But we wanted more - we wanted the biggest matches.
In 2013 the match schedule announcement was made. Edmonton would host a number of significant matches that included the opening game, the quarter finals, the semi-finals, the bronze medal game and all of Canada’s round robin matches. We wouldn’t be hosting the finals match, but 11 games in total was more than any other city and left us very satisfied.
More than just a big event.
This event means more to our city than simple bragging rights and a chance to wear our white and red. Initial projections indicate the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 will produce industry output of over $267 million nationally. The projections, compiled by the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance, look at several factors including the projected expenditures of out of town visitors attending the competition, capital construction costs and the operational expenditures associated with hosting the competitions.
While the economic impact will undoubtedly be impressive, the positive social impact will have an effect on all levels of soccer across the country. Helping to grow the game and leave a legacy for sport, for women, and for Canada that reaches far beyond the competition.