Author Topic: Pellerud set to make Canadian farewell  (Read 915 times)

Offline David

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Pellerud set to make Canadian farewell
« on: July 10, 2008, 07:21:26 AM »
When Canada battles Brazil Thursday night at Toronto's BMO Field it will not just serve as a tune-up for the Olympics next month in Beijing. It will also be the final time Even Pellerud coaches the national women's soccer team on home soil.

In a way it is fitting. During his nine-year tenure as coach Pellerud has spoken out about the lack of exposure the Canadian Soccer Association has given his squad. The team has not played a game on Canadian soil since Aug. 22, 2006 and tonight's encounter will mark the first time the squad has played at BMO Field, the country's national soccer stadium that opened more than a year ago.

"I have almost stopped to hope," Pellerud said in published reports last October when discussing the CSA. "Deep inside me there is hope, but there is no indication of any changes at this time."

After his team failed to advance past the group stage at the 2007 World Cup, Pellerud criticized the CSA, saying the organization had not set up enough international matches in the lead-up to the quadrennial event.

In a conference call with reporters yesterday, the 54-year-old native of Norway said the mistake had not been repeated.

"Compared to last year, this is another world for us," said Pellerud, who will leave his post following the Olympics. "We didn't really feel good last year, but this year we've played between 15 and 20 international games."

In June, the team competed at the Peace Queen Cup in South Korea, making it to the final before falling to the top-ranked Americans.

"Yes we have travelled a little bit too much but that's what you have to do," said Pellerud. "We have done well and we have adjusted tactics and we have allowed a lot of players to get international playing time. The players are way more healthy than last year so, all in all, I think we should be able to go into the Olympics feeling confident and fit."

The confidence level will go up if Canada, ranked ninth in the world, can beat the fourth-ranked Brazilians. Canada will also be looking to exact some revenge against the South Americans after being thumped 7-0 by Brazil during last year's Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Striker Christine Sinclair said the outcome will be important if her teammates want to go to the Olympics on a high.

"It's very important for us," Sinclair said. "It'll be important for us to get a result and get a good game under our belts and hopefully we can get some momentum going."

In looking ahead to the Olympics, Pellerud said he expects his squad will be able to better their disappointing performance at the World Cup.

"I think coming through to the quarter-finals is a realistic goal for us," he said, "and that's our focus right now."