Germany wins by second-largest margin in Women’s World Cup history with 10-0 win over Ivory Coast

Ceila Sasic (3’, 15’, 31’) and Anja Mittag (29’, 35’, 64’) would both score hat tricks as top-ranked Germany enjoyed a 5-0 lead within the first 35 minutes of their Women’s World Cup (WWC) match against the Ivory Coast. Ranked 67 in the world, the Ivory Coast are the lowest ranked team competing at the WWC, making their debut in Ottawa.

Additional goals by Simone Laudehr (71’), Sara Dabritz (75’), Melanie Behringer (79’) and Alexandra Popp (85’) resulted in the second largest margin of victory in the history of the WWC. Of note, Germany holds the record with an 11-0 win against Argentina at the 2007 edition of the WWC (which Germany went on to win).

Heading into the match, Sasic (who plays for FFC Frankfurt) had 57 goals in 104 caps with Germany. With three goals in a time span of just 31 minutes, it set two new records. Not only was it Germany’s record-breaking fourth hat trick, it proved to be the fastest hat trick scored by a player in WWC history. The previous record had been set in the inaugural WWC in 1991, set jointly by Carin Jennings and Michelle Akers in a 33-minute time span.

Following halftime, Sasic was subbed, a merciful move on the part of the German squad. It also reflected strategy as the Germans next match is against Norway, a rematch of Euro 2014 women’s. Statistically, German won the possession battle with 61%, while outshooting the Ivory Coast by a 31-4 margin. As a side note, shots on target were 4-1 in Germany’s favor while they prevailed in corners by a 12-5 count. Fouls compounded the woes of the Ivory Coast as they endured 29, compared to only 10 for the Germans.

Despite the lopsided score, the Ivory Coast did have chances to break the shutout. Binta Diakite had a goal disallowed due to a foul on German goalkeeper Nadine Angerer. In addition, Ange N’Guessan had an open goal but she headed the ball. Lack of experience proved to be a factor in the loss for the Ivory Coast as they were the unfortunate recipients of six yellow cards. Once the squad tired after halftime, it resulted in holes in their defense which Germany exploited to add five more goals.

Through it all, goalkeeper Dominique Thiamale played valiantly for the Ivory Coast. The crowd at Ottawa’s Lansdowne Stadium showed tremendous empathy and support for her valiant play. In the first half, she made five crucial saves in what was only the second international match of 2015 for the Ivory Coast.

The strong start for Sasic and Mittag place them in the conversation for the Golden Boot Award. They would add to Germany’s historic momentum by becoming only the third duo in WWC history to score hat tricks in the same game. The first such occurrence was in 1991 when Brazil’s Pretinha and Sissi accomplished the feat.
It would take another 16 years for the feat to be duplicated, as Germany’s Birgit Prinz and Sandra Smisek both logged hat tricks. Ironically, only one player even registered a hat trick in the previous WWC and that was Homare Sawa with the Japanese squad that eventually claimed the title.

Canadian captain Christine Sinclair logs game-winning goal to open 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup

In the opening game of the 2015 FIFA Women’s’ World Cup, it was only fitting that Canadian captain Christine Sinclair provided the heroics. Scoring the first goal of the event, Sinclair’s goal also stood as the game-winning goal in an emotional 1-0 win against China, ranked 16th in the world.

Adding to the drama was the fact that said goal was scored past the 90th minute of play. With the score deadlocked at 0-0, the Chinese tried to waste time, running out the clock, as the Canadian fans booed in disapproval. A key strategy for Canadian head coach John Herdman involved substituting players later in the game to attempt and create scoring chances.

Kaylyn Kyle replaced Jonelle Foligno after 61 minutes of play. His following substitution saw Desiree Scott step in for Jessie Fleming. His final decision featured Leon for Melissa Tancredi at the 77th minute.

Making her 224th international appearance, Sinclair earned the chance to score on a penalty kick in stoppage after Adriana Leon fell to the ground after contact with Zhao Rong. The goal would prove to be the 154th in her distinguished career. Statistically, Canada had possession of the ball for 62 percent, while outshooting the Chinese by a convincing 14-5 margin.

With an outstanding crowd of 53,058 fans at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium, national pride ran rampant. In addition, the attendance set a new record for a national team match in Canada. The previous record was 51,936 when the Canadian men’s team played Brazil (also at Commonwealth Stadium).

US soccer captain Christie Rampone scores with cover appearance on SI Kids

Looking to be the first US soccer captain since Mia Hamm to lead her team to a Women’s World Cup victory, Christine Rampone has an extra incentive. Of note, a World Cup victory would complement a great personal milestone for Rampone. Celebrating her birthday on June 24, during the World Cup, she shall turn 40.

Appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated Kids (cover date June 2015), Rampone is joined by Alex Morgan, one of the world’s most popular players, and Abby Wambach, a 12-year veteran on the team who shall be counted on for leadership. As a side note, Morgan is featured on a pull-out poster in the magazine.

RamponeSIKids

With the words, “The Avengers” in bright blue, adorning the bottom left of the cover, these real-life superheroes bring high motivation. Four years ago, the US endured a visceral loss in an emotional World Cup final to a Japanese squad looking to raise the spirits of a devastated nation suffering from the effects of an earthquake.

Gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated Kids represents a special milestone for Rampone as she is the mother of two young children. In addition, she was among the members of the US national women’s soccer team selected as Sports Illustrated Sportswomen of the Year for 1999.

Having competed in four World Cups for the US, including the emotional victory in 1999 (which is also the last time that the US claimed the World Cup), she is the appropriate choice to serve as captain of the US contingent heading into the 2015 edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

In Rampone’s distinguished career, it will signify a historic achievement in her career as she shall be one of only five women internationally to have played in at least five World Cup events. Making her debut for the US national team a generation ago on February 28, 1997, her first career goal with the national team occurred on May 2, 1997, versus South Korea.

Heading into the 2015 edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, avenging that loss is definitely the US team’s mission. Taking into account that the championship game shall be held in Vancouver, it offers a unique element of redemption. During the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, Canada defeated the United States in the gold medal games of men’s and women’s ice hockey. Only adding to the sporting rivalry between the two nations, the possibility of Canada and the US in the World Cup title game would likely be the highest rated soccer game in TV history for both countries.

Intriguing personalities to look for at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup

One of the realities of the Women’s World Cup is that many of these competitors will be looked upon as sex symbols. Although it may present a point of tension among some, the number of web pages devoted to the most attractive female footballers is in significant abundance. Perhaps it is not so wrong to celebrate the beauty of these women, but it is essential to recognize and acknowledge their sporting abilities. Beauty aside, these are truly some of the world’s most talented footballers and could easily hold their own against several men’s teams. Their opportunity to compete on a global scale may lead to a much greater appreciation of their contributions to the Beautiful Game.

Megan Rapinoe

Appearing in the 2014 edition of the ESPN Body Issue

Appearing in the 2014 edition of the ESPN Body Issue

A member of the Seattle Reign, Rapinoe’s soccer resume also includes stints with the Chicago Red Stars, Philadelphia Independence and France’s Olympique Lionnaise. Her breakthrough moment occurred at the 2011 edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Trailing against Brazil, her cross to Abby Wambach tied the game, sparking the greatest comeback in US soccer history.

The following year, she would accumulate seven points (including a Goal Olimpico) in a gold medal effort at the 2012 London Summer Games. Such momentum led to a pair of remarkable milestones in 2013. Not only was she recognized as the Best Player of the Algarve Cup, she earned an assist on Abby Wambach’s record-breaking goal in international play with 159. Said assist occurred in a friendly against South Korea on June 20.

Considering that Rapinoe is a strong supporter of several LGBT organizations, having come out in July 2012, she may become the focus of attention for several members of the media looking to write positive pieces about players with same-sex preferences. An ambassador for Athlete Ally, an organization determined to end homophobia in sport, her status as world-class soccer player may help increase awareness. Currently in a relationship with musician Sera Cahoone, a World Cup title would be the perfect complement to an outstanding career.

Anouk Hoodendijk (Netherlands)

Taking part in a photoshoot for Nike

Taking part in a photoshoot for Nike

An 11-year veteran of the Dutch national women’s team, her presence shall be one based on leadership. In her international career, scoring the game-winning kick in the penalty shootout against France may have stood as a career highlight. Of note, it helped the Netherlands advance to the semi-finals of the Women’s Euro 2009.

A lifelong supporter of the Dutch powerhouse Ajax Vrouwen, the club established a female team in May 2012. The opportunity to compete for the squad in their inaugural season was a cherished moment in her career. Having also been signed by the Arsenal Ladies (England), she never suited up for the squad.

Julia Simic (Germany)

Julia Simic

Julia Simic

Simic is a product of Germany’s player development, having competed with their U18 and U23 teams. From both German and Crotian descent, she is a competitor with VfL Wolfsburg, a championship team from the Women’s Bundesliga, she is signed through 2017. In anticipation of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Simic was among five female soccer players that appeared in a partial state of undress in the pages of German Playboy.

Jessica Landstrom (Sweden)
JessicaLandstrom

Having scored a goal in her debut for the Swedish national team (November 8, 2007), Landstrom is aiming for another podium finish in Canada. At the 2011 edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Sweden earned a bronze medal, one of the highlights in her proud career. Influenced by elite strikers such as Lotta Schelin and Victoria Sandell Svensoon, Landstrom wants to stake her claim as the next of the elites.

Currently, a member of Sky Blue FC, Landstrom has also played in Germany. Ironically, she holds a unique connection with a current member of the US national team. Having established herself as a star in the Swedish league, American-born Christen
Press departed Goteborg FC, only to be replaced by Landstrom.

Back in 2008, Landstrom also came out, expressing her same-sex preference. At a time when many athletes were not comfortable disclosing such information, she helped open the door for other athletes to do so. Also a highly educated individual, Landstrom possesses a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.

Érika Cristiano dos Santos (Brazil)

CALENDÁRIO DO CENTENÁRIO DO SANTOS FC - Érika,  jogadora do Santos FC, durante lançamento do calendário do centenário e da coleção moda praia do clube. O calendário é um ensaio sensual das jogadoras santistas e é datado de abril de 2011 até abril de 2012, quando o Santos FC completará 100 anos. - Estádio Urbano Caldeira (Vila Belmiro) - Santos - SP - Brasil - 13/04/2011 - Foto: Ricardo Saibun/Gazeta Press

CALENDÁRIO DO CENTENÁRIO DO SANTOS FC – Érika, jogadora do Santos FC, durante lançamento do calendário do centenário e da coleção moda praia do clube. O calendário é um ensaio sensual das jogadoras santistas e é datado de abril de 2011 até abril de 2012, quando o Santos FC completará 100 anos. – Estádio Urbano Caldeira (Vila Belmiro) – Santos – SP – Brasil – 13/04/2011 – Foto: Ricardo Saibun/Gazeta Press

Providing the Brazilian contingent with a talent that can complement those of Marta, de los Santos is a rising star in the game. Competing with Centro Olímpico, she contributed to Brazil capturing the silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Possessing the versatility to play both forward and defense, de los Santos will likely log a significant amount of playing time. Her sex appeal with fans may raise her to an unforeseen level of popularity or media interest. A few seasons ago, her club team in Brazil donned a fashion runway wearing tiny swimsuits. With a confidence that could be interpreted as empowering, de los Santos captured the imaginations of those in attendance with her stunning appearance in a black and white number.

Of note, this year’s World Cup does not mark the first time that dos Santos competes in North America. During 2009, she competed in the now-defunct Women’s Professional Soccer with FC Gold Pride.

In World Cup play, dos Santos is looking for redemption. Having faked an injury during an emotional quarterfinal loss against the United States, she was shown the yellow card. It led to a downward spiral in her career, where she missed two years with the Brazilian national team due to injury.

Corine Franco (France)

Featured in the French version of Self Magazine (Photo credit: Getty Images)

Featured in the French version of Self Magazine (Photo credit: Getty Images)

As the veteran leader of the French national team, Corine Franco wants to ensure that France does not endure another fourth place finish which befell them in a loss to Canada at the 2012 London Summer Games. Compounding such a loss was the fact that France also finished in fourth at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The team captain of Olympic Lyon, she has competed in almost 90 international games for the French national team. Serving as the captain for France’s entry into the 2015 World Cup, the determination for a podium finish is stronger than ever. As a side note, she was one of three footballers from the French national team to appear in a complete state of undress for Self Magazine. Photographed by Getty Images, the images showcased the confidence of these athletic women to appear in such a manner.

Sydney Leroux and Lauren Sesselmann
Considering the rivalry that exists between Canada and the United States in women’s soccer, it is an anomaly of sorts to see a pair of players competing for the opposite country. Should these two countries cross paths in the elimination matches at this year’s World Cup, there is no question that their allegiances shall make for an interesting story with members of the media.

Born in British Columbia, Leroux is a competitor for the United States national team. Having captured the gold medal at the 2012 London Summer Games, it only added to the bitter taste that Canadians felt after a controversial loss to the US in the semi-finals. When Nike revealed the new uniforms for the US team a few weeks ago, Leroux was one of the players who modeled them.

Having been ranked by many sports websites as one of the most beautiful competitors at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Sesselman’s popularity is bound to increase. With a very strong following on social media, the irony of her career with Canada’s national team is that she was born in Wisconsin. Canadian sports fans who were not familiar with soccer quickly became interested after seeing her and fellow teammates Emily Zurrer looking stunning in swimsuits in Sportsnet Magazine’s Beauty of Sport edition.

Hope Solo
HopeSoloESPY

Despite a brilliant career complemented by so many remarkable achievements, the great tragedy of Hope Solo’s career is the controversy that has defined it. Although some criticisms may not be fair comment, the sad reality is that Solo will likely have to tolerate it for the remainder of her career. Considered one of the world’s most beautiful female soccer players, Solo has graced the cover of popular magazines such as ESPN, Newsweek and Vogue. There is no question that the media spotlight shall shine brightly on Solo, who is looking to help the US avenge its second place finish at the 2011 edition of the World Cup.

Marta Vieira da Silva (Brazil)

Photo credit: Paulo Fridman / Corbis. Soccer

Photo credit: Paulo Fridman / Corbis. Soccer

Quite possibly the world’s greatest female soccer player, a World Cup championship would cement Marta’s sterling legacy. Taking into account that Brazil is one of the world superpowers in soccer, fans have been disappointed that its female stars have not been able to emulate their male counterparts on the world’s biggest soccer stages. Having won a champion with the Western New York Flash in WPS play, Marta is accustomed to big game situations. With a much improved supporting cast on the Brazilian squad, it would come as no surprise to see Marta competing in Vancouver.

Abby Wambach

Abby Wambach on 1 of 4 variant covers for Sports Illustrated's 2015 World Cup coverage

Abby Wambach on 1 of 4 variant covers for Sports Illustrated’s 2015 World Cup coverage


If any player may be considered the villain of the World Cup, it might be Abby Wambach. In criticizing the use of artificial turf at all of the Canadian venues for the event, it struck a media firestorm.

Faking into account the rivalry between Canada and the United States, Wambach may be booed in the preliminary matches. The tensions were understandable as the upcoming World Cup shall be the first (including the men’s edition) that shall be played exclusively on artificial turf.

Having scored more goals than any other player in the history of the US women’s program (178), a Women’s World Cup title is the only accolade eluding her. Possessing two Summer Games gold medals, she has also won an ESPY Award for Best Play. This past April, she appeared on American Idol, offering Ryan Seacrest a US jersey and the chance to be a waterboy for the women’s team.

Controversy aside, Wambach is definitely the veteran leader of this United States team and her goal is to lead the US to its first World Cup title since hosting the event in 1999.

Christine Sinclair

A jubilant Sinclair inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame in 2013 (Photo credit: Michelle Siu, Canadian Press)

A jubilant Sinclair inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2013 (Photo credit: Michelle Siu, Canadian Press)

If the 2012 London Summer Games were Christine Sinclair’s coming out party, then the 2015 edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup is a remarkable appreciation tour. With the event being hosted in her native Canada, Sinclair has become one of the most influential athletes, male or female, in Canada’s sporting conversation. Since the London Summer Games, female soccer players have started to garner the attention and celebrity status once reserved for Canada’s female hockey heroes. Should Canada claim the World Cup, it would be safe to assume that Sinclair’s strong leadership would make her the choice to claim the Lou Marsh Trophy, honoring the Canadian athlete of the year.

Canadian soccer documentary RISE perfectly captures the female sporting zeitgeist

From the outset, the most redeeming quality of RISE, a documentary on the Canadian national women’s soccer team, is the fact that it is showcasing a remarkable group of women who are serving as role models for today’s generation of young soccer players. So many members of the current Canadian roster did not grow up with any female soccer role models. Not only does this classify them as pioneers, but it adds to the athletic context of the documentary.

Directed and produced by American-born filmmaker Bobbi Jo Hart of Adobe Productions, her behind-the-scenes access spanned a period of three years. Condensing three years of research and footage into a one-hour documentary may have been an Amazonian task, but the result is a poignant and compelling.

Vancouver would serve as the main setting for Hart’s documentary, which is appropriate as the gold medal game of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup shall take place there. Also serving as the home of the training facility for Canada’s national soccer team, the most unique training ritual caught by Hart’s lens are the grueling yet therapeutic ice baths that players must endure for their tired legs.

Translating her vision into an entertaining package built on empathy and empowerment, while enlightening viewers in the hard work and sacrifice that entails the journey towards the World Cup, Hart perfectly blends the emotion of competition and the feelings of players through up-close and personal interview footage. Akin to the classic women’s hockey documentary “The Game of Her Life”, RISE serves as the jumping on point for novice soccer fans, while showing a warm and candid side to the players.

First broadcast on TSN (the Canadian version of ESPN) on May 26 and CTV on May 31, it has aired in repeats on TSN2. As a side note, it aired with French subtitles on RDS (Reseau de Sports), also part of the TSN family of networks. Having gathered game footage in Edmonton, Toronto and Winnipeg, Hart builds on the momentum from the 2012 London Summer Games, where Canada earned a bronze medal, the first in Canadian women’s soccer history. Of note, Edmonton served as the backdrop for Canada prevailing over South Korea in a friendly.

Contests in Toronto and Winnipeg highlighted the growing rivalry between Canada and the US. With a sold-out crowd at BMO Field in Toronto, the emotions of fans and players alike punctuates the perfect picture of patriotism while showcasing the growing impact of female sport in Canada.

Taking into account that Canada struggled through a last place finish at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the last three years have represented a dramatic turnaround. Not only does the crowd support in Toronto and Winnipeg (where they once drew 350 fans to a 1990 game featuring Canada’s women) emphasize the impact of said turnaround, but an exhibition match at York University where Canada defeated world ranked number 5 Sweden serves to strengthen the team’s confidence, perfectly captured behind Hart’s lens.

As an intimate window into the lives of athletic women putting soccer on Canada’s sporting map, RISE bestows the same heroic recognition once reserved only for male athletes. Proving to be an invaluable archive, a chronicle that shall stand up over time, its greatest victory may be the number of girls that may decide to start playing the game, growing up with the hope of emulating the likes of Kyle, Matheson, Sesselmann, Sinclair and Tancredi, among others.

Lauren Sesselmann earning superstar status with Canadian national soccer team

As euphoria builds in Canada towards the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup of Soccer, the true victory is the growing recognition of its female soccer stars. While team captain Christine Sinclair is a household name, akin to Canadian women’s hockey legend Hayley Wickenheiser, the remainder of the roster is earning its well-deserved time in the spotlight.

Among the players who star status is rising rapidly is the stunning Lauren Sesselmann. Having won gold with Canada at the 2011 Pan-Am Games and a bronze medal at the 2012 London Summer Games, she has been part of a golden era in Canadian women’s soccer. With a captivating personality and girl next door looks, she continues to capture the imagination of soccer fans, both novice and familiar.

Image obtained from TSN.ca

Image obtained from TSN.ca

The most unique aspect about Sesselmann is the fact that she is an American-born player. Raised in Wisconsin, her father was born on a military base in Newfoundland, Canada. Of note, Sesselmann would only acquire her Canadian citizenship in 2010 earning her first cap for the Canadian national team on September 17, 2011. Ironically, the rival American soccer team features Sidney Leroux, a Canadian-born player from British Columbia.

Having played at the NCAA level with the Purdue Boilermakers, Sesselmann would compete at the professional level with six different teams. Selected 44th overall in the 2009 WPS Draft by the Chicago Red Stars, she would also be claimed by the Houston Dash in the 2014 NWSL Expansion Draft.

Appearing in Sportsnet Magazine's Beauty of Sport edition

Appearing in Sportsnet Magazine’s Beauty of Sport edition

Her first experience in Canadian popular culture stemmed from an appearance in Sportsnet Magazine’s Beauty of Sport edition. Along with national team member Kaylyn Kyle and Emily Zurrer, this beautiful trio were featured in a swimsuit photo shoot in Las Vegas. Although the photo shoot gained a new legion of fans and admirers, the upcoming World Cup is a chance to appreciate her talents on the field.

Testament to her growing popularity and celebrity status in Canada is a promising acting career. Appearing in The X-Species, a Canadian-produced film directed by Neko Sparks to be released later this year, it stands as her second acting credit. Last year, she played the role of Faith in the film Dark Awakening, which starred Jason Cook and Lance Henriksen. There is no question that the camera loves Sesselmann and vice-versa.

Complementing her budding acting career is an exercise DVD that can be purchased from her website Fit As A Pro. Conceived in the aftermath of the 2012 London Summer Games, she shares her own innovative training program. Titled Five 10-Minute Full Body Workouts for SMALL SPACES, she looks to provide guidance and consult individuals looking to get fit without any equipment needed.

Taking into account that the 20th Century saw male athletes such as Jim Brown, Chuck Connors, Frank Gifford and Joe Namath make the transition from actor to athlete, Sesselmann is setting a precedent. Over the years, several female athletes have balanced modeling careers; therefore, Sesselmann may launch a new trend that sees other female athletes consider an acting career.

Considering the hypnotic impact that hockey holds over Canadian culture, women like Sesselmann are making a strong case for soccer to be part of such inclusion. While a victory in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup would represent a remarkable milestone for Sesselmann and her teammates, her growing impact as a role model, sex symbol and pop culture icon are raising the awareness of women’s soccer in Canada.

FIFA 2015 Women’s World Cup stickers poised to become collector’s items

Members of the Canadian national women's soccer team hold the Panini logl (Image obtained from: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Panini-Womans-World-Cup-2015-Canada-Stickers/1620112151551242?fref=photo)

Members of the Canadian national women’s soccer team hold the Panini logl (Image obtained from: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Panini-Womans-World-Cup-2015-Canada-Stickers/1620112151551242?fref=photo)

With any world class sporting event, merchandising becomes all too obligatory. In this case, the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup is not immune. Hosted in Canada, firms such as Canada Post and the Royal Canadian Mint have already issued some treasured collectibles.

Another unique collectible appearing in retail outlets comes via global sticker giant Panini. Having issued a commemorative sticker album, this keepsake marks a unique milestone for Panini. Of note, it marks only the second time that a sticker album focused on female soccer is being released. The first has gained collector’s item status, issued for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Completing the set shall be an ambitious task. With over 430 stickers to accumulate, the challenge is the fact that one packet only features seven stickers. Therefore, a collector would have to purchase at least 60 packets and hope to not obtain one duplicate. Luckily, online forums exist for trading while Panini offers completists the chance to purchase remaining stickers online or via mail order.

Although the print run for the 2015 sticker album shall likely be higher than the 2011 edition (taking into consideration the size of the consumer market in Canada and the United States), the outcome is likely a very popular product. In North America, where the collecting trend is trading cards, there have never been an exclusive card set devoted to female soccer.

Over the last few years, Upper Deck has released a moderate number of women’s soccer trading cards. Said cards were featured in their World of Sport card sets (released in 2011 and 2012), along with a few high numbered cards in the Major League Soccer sets. Although Donruss (whose parent company is Panini) featured a few American-born female soccer players in a card set recognizing American sports heroes, such cards have never fully realized their potential.

With Panini’s sticker album, every athlete competing at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup shall be featured. Of note, this marks a milestone for many of these athletes as they have never been featured on a sticker or other type of collectible. Such a product can only help to stimulate interest in the game while allowing the competitors to feel a certain degree of celebrity status.

Perhaps the most important legacy of the Panini Sticker Album may be the ability to encourage a trading card manufacturer to release a full set devoted exclusively to women’s soccer. It would be even more encouraging if it was a Panini-owned company such as Donruss, Playoff and/or Score that helped get the ball rolling.

Christen Press among rising stars for USA Soccer at 2015 FIFA Women’s Worlds

As the United States looks to avenge their second place at the 2011 edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, a budding superstar shall be looking to realize such ambitions. Having earned her first cap with the United States in 2013, Christen Press shall be making her World Cup debut this year.

Of note, the year 2015 has served as a coming-out party for Press, placing her name in the American soccer conversation. Recently, Press has been featured in a television advertising campaign for Coppertone, increasing awareness of the upcoming 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Having also been involved with several advertisements and promotional spots for Nike, Press is emerging as an endorsement darling.

PressCoppertoneScreenShot

Quite possibly the most enjoyable moment in her road towards the World Cup occurred in May 2015. Press was featured on The Simpsons television program, along with teammates Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach. In addition, Press has graced the pages of several popular magazines, including the likes of Self, Howler, and Glamour (which also included several of her US soccer teammates).

Having quietly assembled a solid soccer career, the 26 year-old currently plays for the Chicago Red Stars of the National Women’s Soccer League. During her first season with the club in 2014, she established herself as a franchise player. Having led the team with 6 goals, despite only appearing in 12 games, she was rewarded with the Red Stars Golden Boot.

Her finest performance of the season came on a Fourth of July 4 match against the defending champion Portland Thorns. Scoring twice in six minutes, Press’ efforts forced a draw, after being down 2-0 at halftime. In the aftermath of the season, she was recognized as a member of the league’s Second team All-Stars.

ChristenPressCoppertone

Prior to her NWSL heroics, Press gained her first taste of soccer glory when she was bestowed the 2010 Hermann Trophy, recognizing the best female player in NCAA soccer. Having graduated from prestigious Stanford University as the all-time leading scorer, she would earn 2011 Rookie of the Year honors in Women’s Professional Soccer.

Joining the Swedish Damallsvenskan, Press would add other remarkable accomplishments in her promising career. Logging time with both Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC and Tyresö FF, she was the top scorer in the 2013 Damallsvenskan season with 23 goals. Her legacy in the league was secured as she became the first American to claim the league’s Golden Boot award

In the last decade, Press has emerged as one of the finest players developed within the US program. From her roots with the youth national teams, including the under-20 and under-23 teams, she has emerged as a future star on the senior team. Although she attended the 2012 Summer Olympics in London as an alternate for the gold-medal winning US team, her first cap with the team would come on February 9, 2013.

Competing in a friendly against Scotland, Press (who was lined up as a right midfielder) would make an impression as she scored the first two goals of the match, and her career. With a superlative performance complemented by an assist, she was recognized as the Player of the Game. Her second cap also came against Scotland, resulting in her third career goal for a 2-0 victory.

With this accomplishment, Press became the third American woman to score two goals in her US national team debut. The first player to accomplish the feat was Cindy Parlow Cone in 1996, followed by Sherrill Kester in 2000. Press would continue to build on the momentum as she became the first (and only) US woman to record three goals in her first two games. As 2013 progressed, she would score four goals in her first four career matches, becoming the fifth US player to lay claim to such an achievement.

Should Press manage to provide such scoring heroics in a championship effort at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, it will elevate her into the same stratosphere as the likes of Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain and Abby Wambach. Taking into account that the US are among the favored countries to win the hotly contested event, it may prove to be the most competitive yet.

Coca-Cola and Christine Sinclair team up for historic ad campaign

As momentum for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup builds up among Canadian sports fans, Coca-Cola Canada has greatly contributed to sparking interest. Its most recent TV spot celebrates the women’s game while paying tribute to one of the Canadian team’s all-time greats.

Part of an unprecedented partnership with FIFA, the 2015 edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup marks the first time that Coca-Cola is involved with the event. Said spot highlights Canadian team captain Christine Sinclair, an ad meant to encourage and empower women in sport.

ChrstineSinclairCocaCola

Titled, “It’s a Girl’s Game”, the spot was conceived by Sid Lee, and features Sinclair and a teenage girl playing a soccer video game together. Jumping into the video game, which features male players on the pitch, Sinclair is dominating the field. In the game’s aftermath, Sinclair is seen celebrating with the consumption of Coca-Cola. Afterwards, the screen features the inspirational line, “Happiness is seeing yourself in the game. Proud supporter of women in sport.”

Considering that some of the values of the Coca-Cola brand include concepts such as “inclusiveness, happiness, and optimism”, their support of FIFA’s Women’s World Cup is a superlative way of celebrating the growth and positive impact of female soccer in Canada. As a side note, soccer is one of those rare sports where men and women can truly play together and there is no gender barrier or disadvantage.

Coke-FIFA-case-e1431008508500

Coca-Cola shall also feature a series of collector cans, commemorating the six host cities of the event. Adding to the collectability is a special edition aluminum bottle which shall be available at the FIFA Women’s World Cup trophy tour.

Ottawa, April 1, 2015: Nepean Hotspurs players with Nozomi Yamago of Japan, current FIFA World Cup winner, on first leg of the FIFA Women's World Cup trophy tour. Photo credit: Joe Lofaro

Ottawa, April 1, 2015: Nepean Hotspurs players with Nozomi Yamago of Japan, current FIFA World Cup winner, on first leg of the FIFA Women’s World Cup trophy tour. Photo credit: Joe Lofaro

In partnership with FIFA, Coca-Cola is also the sponsor for this 12-city trophy tour. Having started in the nation’s capital of Ottawa, Ontario on April 1, fans have the opportunity to get their photograph taken with the Women’s World Cup trophy. An added bonus for the fans in Ottawa was the chance to meet Nozomi Yamago, a member of the Japanese team that captured the FIFA Women’s World Cup when it was last contested in 2011.

Of note, this is the first time that the FIFA Women’s World Cup has toured Canada, only adding to the impact of the event for fans throughout the country. Other features of the tour including the chance to participate in a virtual game against the Coca-Cola Ultimate Goalie, along with an opportunity for fans to record a message of good luck.

Female soccer stars immortalized on commemorative Canadian postage stamp

As the 2015 FIFA Womens’ World Cup approaches quickly, host country Canada is immortalizing several of its soccer heroes. Canada Post is issuing a commemorative postage stamp featuring Christina Sinclair and Kadeisha Buchanan. In recognition of Japan’s status as defending World Cup champion, goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori also graces the image of said stamp.

Released on May 6, 2015, it pays homage to the superstar (Sinclair) that paved the way for soccer in Canada while recognizing the new generation (Buchanan) of Canadian women helping to build on such momentum. Among the Canadian dignitaries at the release of said stamp included the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport and responsible for Canada Post. She was joined by the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport), along with Deepak Chopra, President and CEO, Canada Post.

Image obtained from http://www.canadapost.ca

Image obtained from http://www.canadapost.ca

Designed by Debbie Adams of Toronto, the stamps were printed on Tullis Russell paper with lithography of eight colors. In addition, the stamp depicts the name of every host city (and its respective province) during the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which shall culminate with the championship game contested on July 5 at BC Place in Vancouver.

Of note, the stamps are available in booklets of ten, while the Official First Day Cover will be cancelled in Edmonton, site of the opening game between Canada and China on June 6, 2015. In addition, a collectible plaque featuring the image of the stamp is available and limited to only 1,000 units.

Since the London 2012 Summer Games, women’s soccer has become an integral part of Canada’s sporting conversation, elevating Sinclair to an iconic status once reserved for hockey heroes. Having played in more than 150 games for the Canadian national team, Sinclair is the only competitor to have scored a hat trick against US goaltender Hope Solo. Heading into the 2015 World Cup, this shall be Sinclair’s fourth consecutive appearance. Having also played at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Games, she earned a bronze in 2012, while being honored as the flag bearer at the Closing Ceremonies.

Buchanan is one of the rising stars on Canada’s defensive unit, praised by head coach John Herdman as the “Christine Sinclair of defenders”. Currently competing at the NCAA level with the University of West Virginia Mountaineers, she is ranked number 6 in the US among collegiate and non-professional female competitors.