On June 1, 2017, Paris Saint-Germain took on Olympique Lyonnais in the UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) Women’s Champions League Final in Cardiff. Both French teams featured talented Canadians: Kadeisha Buchanan started for Lyon, while her friend and national teammate Ashley Lawrence played for Paris Saint-Germain. The game ended with a close-fought 0-0 draw, and Lyon won 7-6 on penalty kicks.
Many Canadian soccer fans are hoping the win for the young Canadian star will bring more awareness to the women’s game back home. In recent years, Canada’s women’s team has been far more successful than the men’s, yet women’s soccer is still often overlooked. McGill goalkeeper Hannah Boshari told The Daily that she’s “not too sure how many people in Canada are actually aware that there is the UEFA competition for women’s club teams.” The men’s Champions League Final is one of the most watched annual sporting events in the world, while (as Boshari points out) many are unaware that the women’s version exists. Now, however, the women’s final may grow in popularity as more and more Canadian women are shunning the American women’s league to play in Europe – and finding success there.
“You mostly just hear about the American [Soccer] League and especially the fact that women’s soccer players can’t make a living from playing soccer, so hopefully with this win it will start inspiring more young Canadian girls that there are other opportunities than just the American League for them to go pro and have a go at professional soccer,” says Boshari.
Buchanan’s victory in Europe is proof that the Canadian women’s game continues to grow outside of North America, and into Europe – which is traditionally seen as the world’s main soccer market. Success in Europe for any Canadian is bound to inspire and encourage young Canadian players back home, and certainly improve our national team’s ability.
“Since the famous bronze medal at the Olympics, a lot more people are tuning in to watch the women’s team, so hopefully with more club success of individuals, our national team will keep gaining more supporters,” concludes Boshari.