I’m writing this as I watch the opening game of the FIFA 2015 Women’s World Cup! The opponents are Team Canada versus Team China in a head to head match in Edmonton, Alberta. The opening ceremonies took place at Edmonton’s very own Commonwealth Stadium two hours before the opening match kick-off. The ceremony began as a story, told through the eyes of a little girl, a soccer player. I will explain more about her role later.
Before today’s match, I went back and learned that the first FIFA Women’s World Cup was held back in 1991, in China, and since then has taken place in a different country every four years. This year, the tournament has been brought to Canada, and a total of nine games will also be held right here in Vancouver, including the final match on July 5th.
But, other than being one of the most exciting and widely viewed football tournaments out there, the FIFA Women’s World Cup itself symbolizes so much more than that. “To a greater goal” is the official slogan for this year’s competition, and perfectly sums up what the key values of the tournament really are: the empowerment and unification of women, a celebration of the sport, and the concept of striving towards a “greater goal” for sport and for humanity, beginning with girls and women. It symbolizes how far our rights as women have come in the past two decades, and how this has led us to strive to live every moment to the fullest and without regret. The competition brings together each continent, and unifies us in a way that cannot be done without a purpose as great as the one in front of us today, sport and competition. Multiculturalism is highlighted as the teams competing within the tournament fight for their country, while bonded by their commonality as females.
The little girl from the opening ceremonies carried with her a great significance, as she told us the story of the lasting legacy and global impact of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. We joined her and the athletes in celebrating the ideas of ambition, inspiration, honour, victory and pride that come with being a part of something bigger than ourselves.
Thanks to the evolution and growth of our world, the female athletes participating in the FIFA Women’s World Cup today have been given the opportunity to represent their countries. We, at home or in the stands, watch and cheer as the athletes battle their way to victory in whichever way it comes. To us, these women are female role models, who have always demonstrated to us the overall positive impact of sport both on and off the field.