Former Oakville soccer stars, local soccer club celebrate national women’s team Olympic win
Published August 6, 2021 at 8:50 pm
The flood of tears came to Oakville’s Kara Lang Romero right after Julia Grosso fired in the game-winning penalty shot to deliver the Canadian national women’s soccer team its first ever gold medal at the Olympics.
“My kids just had to ask if these are happy tears,” the former women’s national team forward tweeted after Canada’s 3-2 penalty-kick win over Sweden in the gold-medal match, Friday, at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
Lang Romero wasn’t the only local former national women’s star celebrating on this day.
Oakville’s Diana Matheson, who was forced to retire just before this year’s Tokyo Olympics because of a foot injury, was also celebrating when Grosso delivered the winning dagger.
“Julia Grosso!!!!!!,” tweeted out the two-time Olympic bronze medallist.
And you can bet thousands of young female soccer players were watching as well, including right here with members of the Oakville Soccer Club.
Canada’s first Olympic women’s soccer gold will be an inspiration for young female players for years to come. After all, one day it could be them celebrating a gold on an Olympic soccer field.
“Absolutely,” Katryna Indewey, Executive Director of the Oakville Soccer Club, said about what many young female soccer players here are likely thinking. “I think that’s one of the most magical parts about it. Being role models, participating in and winning these types of titles and championships. Why couldn’t that be you?
“It could be any one of them. That’s the exciting part. They watch players, especially the Canadian women’s team that has been so successful in the past and now to see they have gold, the sky’s the limit really.”
Lang and Matheson have been two of the local players young female players have looked up to for years. Their journey and success, along with members of today’s national team, prove an inspiration for many young female soccer players in Oakville who are looking to follow in their footsteps.
“It’s really close to home,” Indewey said of the young kids seeing where Lang and Matheson once where and the great success they went on to enjoy. “Somebody stood where you stood and moved on to all of these other opportunities is coming out of the same programming, the same club.
“It brings it that much closer to possibility when players realize, ‘Hey, you were once here too. That could be me.'”
“Something like this is definitely a motivator for players and anything we can see as a motivation to the female game is important,” added Indewey.
Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé was phenomenal in penalty shots to help Canada win a team gold for the just the fourth time at the Summer Games in our country’s history.
The first team gold since 1908.
While the Oakville Soccer Club executive director feels it was an important win for Canada, it’s also a big win for female sports in the country.
She believes it’s important the focus on female sports stays at forefront and not just every four years in the Olympics. Canada should invest in this pathway and make sure our players something to aspire to.
“What we need to see now is to take that energy and excitement, and the engagement that this win spurs on, to these young athletes,” Indewey explained. “And we need to remember that investing in women’s sports is important. We need to see pathways for females and we need to see highlights and spotlights so players, especially young females, know there is a pathway for them.
“We need to see these women’s leagues be created, expanded, have professional opportunities for female players so the motivation is there to go through the pathway, to climb through the ranks and to maybe end up on the Olympic field one day.”
And what better role model than Christine Sinclair. The greatest international goal scorer ever in her 21 years on the soccer pitch, the Canadian captain finally has an Olympic gold medal after a pair of bronze medal wins.
“Oh my God. Has there ever been anyone more deserving than Christine Sinclair?,” tweeted Lang Romero. “Gold for Canada!”
Tied at 1-1 and as the game moved through extra time and the penalty kicks, Indewey is certain everyone was holding their breath across the country.
“I don’t think all of Canada breathed for a few minutes,” she said before laughing out loud.
“What a deserving day and what an exciting day. It’s just a great day for soccer, for Canada. A great day for women in sports.”
A day you can bet young female soccer players in Oakville and across the country will remember for a long time.
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