‘Dedicated to this group’: Canadian women’s soccer coach Priestman dismisses exit rumors
Canadian coach Bev Priestman found himself needing to address his future. His players had to explain why they wore their training shirts inside out.
Not another normal for Canada Soccer under the cloud of a bitter labor dispute that has pitted players against their governing body and threatened legal action this weekend to get the Olympic women’s champions back to work.
Instead of discussing Thursday’s performance with the top-ranked USA in the SheBelieves Cup, it was largely about the emotional turmoil off the field.
With players reluctant to talk about major labor issues, possibly on the advice of a legal adviser, one small gesture cast a huge shadow over their latest training session at the Exploria Stadium.
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Veteran midfielder Sophie Schmidt, who announced on Tuesday that she would retire from international football after this summer’s World Cup, has a knack for making a fashion statement.
The Canada Soccer decal is usually on the side of the heart, she said.
Schmidt, who has won 218 caps for Canada, said: “And we are very proud and honored to play for Canada. But at the moment we feel that our federation has let us down.” “And that’s why we have it the other way around.”
Priestman wore his top with the weapon in the right place. But she was clearly sympathetic.
Koch said, “They push for things that should be there. To them, it represents the greater cause they are pushing for.”
The players are making the same demands ahead of their World Cups in Australia and New Zealand as the men who met ahead of their football showcase in Qatar. Both teams want to take a look at Canada Soccer’s books and look for an explanation as to why both of their schedules are being scrapped this year.
Four representatives of the team – captain Christine Sinclair, Janine Beckie, Schmidt and Quinn (who go by the same name) – met with the media after Wednesday’s session. The altercation with the four players, who were available virtually on Tuesday, lasted six 1/2 minutes before being forcibly shut down by the team’s media attaché.
“I want to be with this group”
Another topic of discussion on Wednesday was Priestman’s future.
About two weeks after men’s coach John Herdman was linked with a move to New Zealand, The Guardian newspaper reported that Priestman was weighing his options after the World Cup and considering a switch to club football with a number of interested teams. We stay
“Obviously post- [Olympic] When asked about the English report, Priestman told a virtual availability on Wednesday: “There are regular opportunities waiting for me.” But I think the most important thing is that I committed myself to this group of players and shared some incredible moments with them. And I want those moments to last.
“It is a very difficult situation, we cannot hide from it. But my goal is to be with this group of players and share more incredible moments.”
Herdman’s report hinted at uncertainty for some time before he and Canada Soccer issued a statement pouring cold water on the report.
Priestman said she contacted Herdman about how best to resolve the labor dispute. Herdman experienced this last June when the Canadian men boycotted a friendly against Panama in Vancouver.
“I’m not sure if any of us are experts, I’m not sure if there are many coaches…but I know I’m not doing my job if I don’t prepare this group to perform. . And that’s all I tried to do,” said Priestman.
Both teams are negotiating employment contracts with Canada Soccer. Men do it formally for the first time. The women’s current contract expires at the end of 2021.
Aside from the mode switch, the start of Wednesday’s practice was like any other. Before we left to warm up, the music blared and the players threw NFL footballs. A butter-fingered Priestman, for all his coaching prowess, showed that a wide receiver role is not in his future.
“I think we all get along so well in the end,” said Sinclair when asked about the relaxed atmosphere on the pitch. “Of course we are fighting for something bigger than ourselves, but we have to have a good time there.”
Focusing on football isn’t easy, Quinn admitted.
“I think the reality is we’re in the thick of it,” he said. “Unfortunately for us, we can’t just focus on football right now. We have to focus on things that are bigger than our team, bigger than ourselves and what we are fighting for.”
Hardly a recipe for success against an American team that has a 52-4-7 record against its northern rival.
Despite the tension from the labor department, Priestman said all of his players would be available Thursday.
But she admitted that her conversation with Schmidt was “a little soul-destroying for me.”
“For me, and more importantly for me as a coach who works with players, it was very difficult for Sophie to tearfully talk about her retirement.” “I’m so thankful it stopped. It’s kind of an emotional upheaval that’s been there.
Priestman said she was “incredibly proud and honored to represent the group of players who stood before me… [and] What do they stand for?”
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He said his team is working on the future of the next generation of players.
He added, “What struck me loud and clear is that this group isn’t just fighting for itself for the next six months.”
Priestman explained his personal position.
“If you ask me as a woman, do I believe in equality? Absolutely,” she said. “I have a little boy and I want him to know that I have to perform and do what I do in this world just like everyone else.”
The Canadian Women’s Soccer Alumni Association added its voice in support of the players.
The association said in a statement on Wednesday that the current conflict “is nothing new and is the result of a toxic, unfair and broken system that has gone unchecked for the past 30 years.”
The Association’s Co-President is Helen Stombos, who scored Canada’s first World Cup goal during the 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
When asked about cuts to the 2023 schedule, Priestman had little to offer, saying she was in a difficult position representing both the players and Canada Soccer.
“I think everything that has been documented is common knowledge and it’s a very difficult time.”
Canada and the United States last met in June 2022, when the United States won 1–0 on a 78th-minute Alex Morgan penalty in the CONCACAF W Championship final in Mexico’s Guadalupe.
It was the first meeting between the two since Canada’s 1-0 victory in the semifinals of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics in August.
Priestman said his players would seize the opportunity on Thursday.
“They are elite high performers, when that whistle blows they will give everything for the country. I know,’ said Priestman.
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US coach Vlatko Andonovski, whose team has already fought and won the battle for wage equality, also hopes that the battle for Canada Soccer will come to an end soon.
“We know what the situation is and we really hope they solve their problems,” he said in a separate statement on Wednesday. “We’ve been able to do this from our side and we’re on their side to support them in resolving the issue.”
Other Canadian wins over the U.S. were in 1986 (2-1 in Blaine, Minn., in Canada’s second-ever official women’s tour), 2000 (3-1 in a friendly in Columbus, Ohio), and 2001 (3- 0). took place in the Algarve Cup in Portugal).
The sixth-ranked Canadian heads to Nashville after Thursday’s game to face No. 9 Brazil on Sunday. Next is a collision with No. 11 Japan on February 22 in Frisco, Texas.
The February international window is one of the few occasions for the Canadian women’s World Cup to come together. There is still a window at the beginning of April and in July just before the World Cup.
The Canadian team would be in a legal position to strike in April and Sinclair said on Tuesday the team would not participate until grievances were resolved.
The USA is the defending champion of the Shebeliv’s Cup and has won five of the seven editions of the tournament. France won in 2017 and England in 2019.
Canada finished third in 2021, the previous trip to the event, Priestman’s first as Canada coach.
Priestman is currently without the injured Nichelle Prince, Jade Riviere, Dean Rose and Desiree Scott.