July 17th Edition

CanWNT Women's World Cup Preview

CanWNT Women’s World Cup Preview

It is a WORLD CUP Week! 🌍🏆⚽️

There is always something special about the opening week of a tournament. Games every day, and so many different possibilities of what might happen. The buzz is real this week as Australia and New Zealand become the first co-hosts of a Women’s World Cup tournament, which also features 32 teams for the first time.

Start preparing for a wacky sleep schedule, because the soccer world is about to go down under.

We look at that, and plenty more ahead in this week’s edition of The Northern Pitch.

CREDIT: Canada Soccer / TSN

It is a date that Canadian Soccer fans will have had circled on their calendar for a long time: July 20, 10:30 p.m. ET / 7:30 p.m. PT. Canada vs. Nigeria in the country’s 2023 World Cup opener in Melbourne, Australia.

The Canadians open what could be a tricky group against a very solid opponent, 14-time African women’s champions Nigeria. Canada have never defeated the Super Falcons at the World Cup, drawing 3-3 back in 1995, before a 1-0 loss back in the 2011.

The team features plenty of quality, including Barcelona striker Asisat Oshoala and legendary captain Onome Ebi, who will be appearing in her sixth World Cup.

Unfortunately, they have a signficant off-field storyline going into this competition as well, as they have had significant issues with their federation over World Cup compensation, including threatening to boycott the opening match.

Canada, meanwhile, no strangers to organization drama, head into the tournament on the back of a 0-0 draw with a tournament favourite, albiet heavily injured, English national team this past week.

After their opener against Nigeria, Canada play the Republic of Ireland on July 26 at 8:00 a.m. ET / 5:00 p.m. PT, before rounding out the group at 6:00 a.m. ET / 3:00 a.m. PT against the hosts Australia on Monday,July 31.

The Olympic Gold Medalists come into the tournament looking to prove they are still among the world’s elite, and that they can replicate their form from the Olympic Games at a World Cup tournament.

Get hyped, get caffinated, and get ready for a wild ride.

Other news this week


It’s summer time, which means transfer season baby — and lots of Canadians on the move.

🇦🇹 Scott Kennedy signs with Wolfsberger AC. After the Gold Cup campaign, the Canadian centre-back has earned a two-year deal with the Austrian-side. Wolfsberger AC survived the relegation round after finishing 9th in regular season. In the Austrian Bundesliga, the bottom half of the table (bottom 6) must go through a 10 game playoff round in which the team in last is relegated, while the two top clubs earn a spot in the Europa Conference League. In other words, Kennedy should have ample game time and experience in a European competition.

🐎 Cavalry FC sign William Akio from Scottish club Ross County. The former Valour FC player returns to Canada after a year with Ross County and a short-term loan with Raith Rovers. Akio signed a 2-and-a-half year deal with the Alberta-side, seeing him with the club until the end of 2025. This is a welcoming signing for Cavalry, especially after the José Escalante debacle. Their attacking options look solidified and stable.

🦅 Vancouver FC sign Renan Garcia. Some may point to Renan Garcia’s age, however, esoteric knowledge and footballing experience is valuable, especially for a young club. 4000 minutes of experience spanning from Italy, Portugal, Romania, UAE and Brazil. With Alejandro Diaz officially signing a 1-year deal, will this be enough to turn their season around? We shall see.

🇪🇸 Real Valladolid receive multiple transfers for Cyle Larin. Seems the relegated side’s strategy from Larin is showing signs of fortune. The transfer options offered to Real Valladolid has been described as “firm offers from two or three cubs.” Some of those clubs, according to Spanish media, include Valencia, Real Betis, Osasuna, Real Mallorca, Cadiz, RC Celta, and Getafe. That’s a nice buffet. As stated in a previous newsletter edition, we want to see a Real Betis move. An underappreciated club with an extensive fanbase throughout Spain, a club more popular than their bigger neighbours Sevilla. Beticos are some of the best fans in Spain. That’s our vote.

🇮🇹 Juventus looking to potentially sell Julia Grosso. Another potential good news story for a Canadian player, the current Serie A midfield player of the year could seal a move away from the Bianconere. The Turin club are asking for 400,000 Euros for the Gold medal winner, which would make it the second highest transfer fee in women’s football. This summer at the World Cup will provide the perfect opportunity for Grosso to attract offers, as it’s the best opportunity for any player seeking a move. With a year left in her contract, Juve could be looking to bank in the opportunity. We’re hoping for a move to England (Chelsea, we’re looking at you). Make your club Canadian — you’re almost there anyway.

🔄 TFC traded MAK for New England’s Latif Blessing. It’s sad to see a Toronto man being traded out of 6ix. It was clear that MAK’s tenure at TFC was in its final days ever since the fan incident at BMO. However, the acqusition of Latif Blessing could be a solution for TFC. The Ghana international has a wealth of experience in MLS and could be what they need at the moment. He also won an MLS cup with LAFC and Toronto need some championship pedigree. For MAK, this seems like a welcome move. Under Bruce Arena, New England have been consistent favourites and always finish high on the table. This could be big opportunity for him to grow and flourish under the right manager.

CREDIT: @vxsualsbykobe / DARBY

🔵 CF Montréal visited Chicago and went down bad 3-0, with a Shaqiri banger. However, CF MTL found their groove again after defeating Charlotte FC 2-0 at home. MTL is a club of highs and lows. After losing 3 games in a row, they needed a win bad. This weekend, CFM featured newly signed Kwadwo “Mahala” Opoku, and the return of Mathieu Choinière and beloved captain Samuel Piette. Stade Saputo have been waiting for reunion of the Quebecois duo. Opoku is the the solution to MTL’s attack, not only scoring the opening goal but his work rate and dribbling in tight spaces is what was missing in the final third. Meanwhile, Chinonso Offor scores the second goal from a Joel Waterman assist from the defensive zone. Oh, and Scott Arfield started for Charlotte. All-in-all, good day at the office. Side note: Jules-Anthony Vilsaint, could be the future forward for MTL.

🌊 Vancouver Whitecaps defeated Austin 2-1 on Wednesday, then hosted Galaxy at home on Saturday, winning 4-2. Let’s focus on the latest game at BC Place. This was the most exciting matchup of the weekend. There were screamers, great tactics, a red card and overall exciting football. Vancouver Whitecaps continue to attack with flair and purpose. The combination between Ryan Gauld and Brian White is presenting itself to be the most effective forward combination among all Canadian franchises, with Ryan White scoring the opener and Brian Gauld scoring a brace. However, credit to LA, their two goals were pure quality from Gaston Brugman and Marco Delgado. Please, if possible, watch the full game. It was thoroughly entertaining.

🔴 Toronto FC, this is starting to feel like a broken record. The only consistency that TFC is experiencing is L’s. On Saturday, Toronto travelled to Chicago and lost 1-0. Now sitting second to last in the Eastern conference, it doesn’t seem like they will dig their way out of the bottom half of the table. Now with Messi set to play for Miami, feels like TFC are about to be leapfrogged. Ibarra’s feelings about TFC at this moment must feel amplified.

🍁 Meanwhile in the CPL, it has not been the most exciting week in terms of scorlines. Two matches ended in a draw, with York United drawing with Pacific FC, while Forge hosted Valour in a 1-1 draw at Tim Hortons Field. Goals coming from Terran Campbell’s chip over the keeper and a strong header from Valour’s Klaidi Cela. Cavalry hosted HFX Wanderers at ATCO Field and walked away with a 1-0 win. This match could’ve also ended in a 0-0 draw if it weren’t from an unfortunate deflected own goal by Daniel Nimick. While in the capital, Atlético Ottawa hosted Vancouver FC defeating them 3-1. This win pushes Atlético into third place while VFC remain last place in the standings.

Northern Picks

Gems from at home and across the pond.
This week’s picks come from Desmond Smee (@dez.the.barber)

📺 What to watch

What I watch and what I listen to can fit in to one category cause I usually watch all my footy podcasts or else I feel like I’m missing out on the vibe. This is especially the case with @filthy_fellas. I’ve been watching these guys for a minute, seen them go through multiple format switch ups and they landed on their best. 6-8 mandem round table just roasting their friends about their football takes and life in general. They dont hold back but you can tell they all got love for each other. Lots of creatives that do their own thing on the side as well like @jordyinit who’s rapper with a very similar flow to Knucks. And @specsgonzalez who has his own side podcast called No Rules which is less footy but more jokes.

On the other side of things I like watching The Overlaps with Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher and Roy Keane. Love hearing stories of the old locker rooms and hearing about player culture from back in the late 90s early 2000s in the prem.

✅ Who to follow

I’ve been following Cafe Nivelcrack for a minute. So cool to see a brick and mortar business with a footy theme who also host watch parties. I own a barbershop @boomboxbarbershop and it’s cool following likeminded businesses to take inspiration from.

Another account I follow is @kasiflavour10. My family is from South Africa and it’s cool to see someone embody the unique soccer culture of South Africa. They create and sell some crazy garments as well.

For shooters I could probably list off all the homies but I’ll say @pitch.side is doing good things. Seeing iconic moments from the stands is a unique take — makes you feel like you’re there.