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Soccer is Canada’s fastest-growing sport

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Soccer Canada

Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world, and Canada is among the countries that have embraced it fully. The Canadian national soccer team qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, something it had failed to do since 1986. It was the first Concacaf nation to secure its spot on the table.

We know where hockey stands. We’ve seen the booms in basketball, in tennis and golf, but the biggest change in Canada’s ever-evolving sports landscape is what’s happening with Canada soccer. Contrary to conventional thinking or stereotype, soccer is both the single most popular participatory sport in the country and Canada’s fastest-growing. There are close to one million people registered in soccer in Canada compared to in the neighbourhood of about a half million playing hockey.

It is a significant difference, but it does make lots of sense. One of Canada’s greatest strengths as a nation is its multiculturalism, that it’s a melting pot. So it only seems appropriate that a global nation like Canada is heavily involved in a sport that’s globally loved and embraced.

While no one would have Canadian Soccer team to win this competition, it was still a big achievement, just qualifying. This was the second time the team was taking part in the competition since it started.

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So, why is the growth of soccer such a big deal here? First, Canada is synonymous with ice hockey. A 2020 survey revealed that 40% of Canadians prefer hockey to any other sport.

We’re seeing Soccer more and more at the youth level. In fact, while Canada has about a quarter of the total soccer playing population of the United States, Canadians, and more specifically, young Canadians, are playing soccer at twice the rate as Americans. Accessibility has been a huge part of this surge, and that’s not just about cost and the sudden access to more sophisticated training and facilities.

The sport is simply more visible, with MLS and other high end leagues emerging over the last few decades with Canadians front and center. That’s leading to tremendous success on the international stage. The titanic accomplishments of the Women’s National Team, who hail as reigning Olympic champions, are the most profound example of that. It’s one thing to see it, it’s another thing to see champions from where you live.

In 2014, Canadian Youth Sports reported that soccer is the most famous team sport. According to the reports, 767,000 youth played the sport, making it quite popular. Also, soccer has the highest attendance of other sports in the region.

A 2017 survey by SportsNet reported that soccer is the fourth most played and loved sport among Canadians. It’s the most watched sport after hockey, football, and baseball. Soccer ranked higher among the Millennials and Gen X. And there is more evidence of soccer being quite popular in the country.

As the immigrant population grows in Canada, especially from countries that already have a strong sense of allegiance to soccer, the possibility for Canada to capture the hearts of new fans is strong. Statistics Canada reported in March 2022 that nearly 80 per cent of the 1.8 million population increase in Canada — from 2016 to 2021 — was due to immigrants. The report said that India and China took top spots as the home countries of new immigrants. Soccer in these countries is highly popular, in terms of both player participation and viewership. Both India and China have held the FIFA U-17 World Cup and hold the first and second-place records for highest attendance.

Even though it’s a bit more challenging to find in-depth viewership data, whatever is found has a significant record of the sport. For instance, about 1.15 million Canadians turned up for the World Cup qualifying match, where Canada won against Mexico in the last quarter of 2021. This was the largest viewership ever recorded.

During the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, a total of 4.4 million people watched the Canadian national women’s football team who won the gold. It was the most watched event of the entire competition.

Concerning participation, soccer ranks much higher than hockey. According to the latest report by Canada Soccer, the sport has over a million registered players. Hockey has about 60600 registered players, while ice hockey has about 345000.

Canada has three teams in Major League Soccer; Toronto FC, Vancouver Whitecaps, and Montreal. Toronto FC was the first team to enter the league in 2007, while Montreal was the last, joining in 2012.

The growth of MLS in Canada has proven very instrumental in developing the entire sport. Even though critics insist that Canadian teams import talent from the US, it’s still a fact that soccer is growing rapidly in the country.

Culturally, hockey remains the favourite sport in Canada. But if you consider the entire sporting industry, with a focus on the fastest growing, soccer is taking the lead. With more than a million registered soccer players in 2022, the sport’s future is sealed and guaranteed.

Among the main reasons for this growth is accessibility. Soccer can be played anywhere, as long as there is an inflatable ball, as it does not require such expensive equipment as hockey.

 

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Novak Djokovic shares message to Australian Open runner-up Elena Rybakina – Tennis World USA

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Novak Djokovic congratulated Australian Open runner-up Elena Rybakina on “an amazing tournament.” On Saturday, 23-year-old Rybakina fell just short of landing her second Grand Slam title. In the Australian Open final, Rybakina was up by a set before 24-year-old Aryna Sabalenka stormed back to win 4-6 6-3 6-4.

Six months ago, Djokovic and Rybakina lifted titles at Wimbledon. “@lenarybakina, amazing tournament,” Djokovic captioned his Instagram Story.

Djokovic congratulates Rybakina

Rybakina has now made Grand Slam finals in two of the last three Major tournaments.

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After winning Wimbledon and finishing as runner-up at the Australian Open, Rybakina admits her confidence levels have increased and she now believes even more that she can win Grand Slams. “For sure, that’s the goal, to be in the second week of all the Grand Slam, to play finals.

I mean, now I have more confidence of course even after this final. I just need to work hard, same as I did during pre-season and actually throughout the years, be healthy, and for sure the results are going to come. I would say I’m trying to not think about expectations and everything.

Still after a great pre-season like this I was thinking I should show it on the court. Then, of course, the results are going to be there. First few weeks was not that great…but I think in the end it’s just confidence to go forward, to keep on working.

I feel now good physically also. I know if I’m going to keep on working, the results are going to be (good),” Rybakina said after the match, per Tennis Majors. Rybakina has proved over the last six months that she has what it takes to be a legitimate Grand Slam contender.

En route to reaching the Australian Open final, Rybakina defeated world No 1 Iga Swiatek. It will be interesting to see how will Rybakina do after a strong Australian Open run.

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Bo Horvat puts up four assists as Canucks top Blue Jackets – Sportsnet.ca

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