Women’s Olympic Qualifying: Canada not fit or fast enough

January 29, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Posted in General Football | 4 Comments

The thrill of qualifying for the Summer Olympic Games  in London this summer was dampened somewhat by a 0-4 drubbing at the hands of a superb American squad at BC Place this evening in the CONCACAF qualifying tournament’s final match.   Canada were clearly the inferior team, and coach John Herdman’s work is clearly cut out for him if the team is to be competitive in the Games.

Tonights match showed a number of things:  the US team was, almost player for player,  fitter, faster and stronger than our Women’s team.  Coach Herdman needs to get our players to the fitness centre if we are to hope to compete for a medal in London.  Our strength, speed and fitness must improve if we are to improve on our abysmal 2011 Women’s World Cup.  If other team’s are technically superior, as a good number of the teams in London will be, we must be fitter and faster in order to compete with them.

It happened time and time again during the match that Canadian defenders were left for dead by much faster American players.  The first goal by Alex Morgan saw her sprint past one of our defenders and then shrug off another as she made her way to goal.  On the American’s team’s second goal, Canada’s defenders were left huffing and puffing in the wake of the American forwards, seemingly too slow and tired to react properly.

Because they were less fit and fast, Canada’s players time and time again ended up fouling the Americans to try to slow them down. If the referee called the game properly, we should have had many more yellows than we did.  Only striker Christine Sinclair and our dynamic little number 11 Desiree Scott (of the Vancouver Whitecaps) looked as though they were anywhere near as fit and fast as the US team.

If Friday night’s victory over Mexico  was a time to celebrate and dream, Sunday night was the time to wake up:  our squad needs a lot more fitness and strength training if we are to make a dent in London this summer.



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  1. I agree.Personally I do not believe the canadians are that far behind the US in skills and tactics (a disaster in the world cup) but the gap is clearly fitness (can be “solved” in the gym etc) and speed on the backline (can be improved in strength,fitness and speed training but may also need some tactic/personnel tweaks).

    • The bad news: Only six months to try to do it (nowhere near enough time). Maybe enough time to find some of the missing personnel pieces, but it’ll be tight in terms of getting enough field time (friendlies) for all of them to mesh well. On top of that, with the suspension of play of WPS, there’s suddenly a massive gap in terms of training/game time that a good number of our WNT players would have had.

      • Yes but fitness gap can be closed in six months…boxers, tim cruise type actors can achieve amazing results in 6months the question is will csa spend the money on some serious trainers ( ie bring in 12-15 personal trainers etc).

  2. Six months is fine if you’re talking about someone with a lot of free time on their hands, and sittiing around — and if they’re not in the best of shape to begin with.

    The reality facing the WNT is somewhat different. Some players are on foreign contracts, and depending on when their season ends, won’t be made available for full-time WNT training for more than a couple months. Another chunk are tied up at either Canadian/US universities, with another group completely at sea at the moment with the WPS situation.

    Then there’s the law of diminishing returns to consider. As much as certain players have been the object of criticism for their fitness, (some of which I’ve lobbed myself) we’re talking about exceptionally fit individuals whose “shortcomings” become apparent only when they’re measured against the very best in the world. Can they improve? Certainly. And so they should. But the returns will be only incremental, requiring a much longer and intense level of training to achieve the same measure of improvement that you and I would get out of a much shorter time frame. Give the average house player 60 hours of fitness training, and the same amount of training to a selects player, and you’ll get very different results.

    I seriously doubt we’ll see a noticeable difference in fitness at the Olympics. But by 2015, if the CSA provides the resources for it to happen, we should see a difference.

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