Canada will be at the epicenter of the most popular sport in the world this summer. The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 will bring the elite of women’s soccer to our beautiful country.
The timing is right for Canada to host this event. On the pitch, Canada will field a spirited, experienced team, and they should contend for the podium. But beyond potential glory on the pitch, the timing is right for our nation and the world to watch the “beautiful game” played by strong, resilient, and determined women.
The time is right because girls are not moving enough in our country. Worse, girls are not even getting a chance to learn how to move (one critical study highlights a gap in motor skills between boys and girls as early as Grade 4 ).
Some people struggle to find meaning in massive sporting events like the World Cup, but this one shouldn’t be difficult to embrace. It will be the stage for extraordinary performances by extraordinary women and that simple fact could ignite thousands of girls to take up the game. And that is critical because soccer is a simple and essential activity that can be played anywhere, by anyone.
The official promotional video plays on this exact potential for inspiration. The powerful vignettes show girls from around the world dribbling the ball and imagining what they are capable of. As they do so, they emulate the soccer idol of their nation: Sawa from Japan, Oshoala the Nigerian, Marta from Brazil, and Sinclair the Canadian.
It’s more than inspiring, because the video captures what happens when kids actually learn to move. Not only are the girls performing essential skills like running, weaving, dribbling, and kicking the ball, but they also display the intangible benefits of being active. These girls are not only moving, they are driven, healthy, purposeful, resilient, and confident. As they run through the street, immersed in their imagination, the girls have an internal dialogue that is strong, empowering, and joyful.
The Most Beautiful Game indeed.
If your kids are excited about watching the amazing female soccer players in the next month, you can help them respond to the inspiration even if you’ve never played soccer yourself. Complement the achievements of these amazing role models with simple, everyday action.
1. Watch some matches as a family and talk with your kids about what they’re seeing, what they’re noticing, and what they’re enjoying.
2. Playing with your children is more important than you know. You are a role model, too, and you will instil life-long habits in them. So after watching an exciting match, grab a soccer ball and head out to the backyard or your local park. Play some fun soccer activities or just kick the ball around.
3. Long after the World Cup is over, keep your kids engaged in age-appropriate activities that will continue to develop their competence, motivation, and confidence to be active for life.