A look back on 10 stories that defined the year.
In what has been a roller coaster year for Canada’s national teams and the Canadian clubs, 2012 has been punctuated by a number of key moments that have helped make the Canadian Soccer Association’s 100th year arguably its most exciting.
Above all else – the year will be remembered for its unprecedented level of support.
Canada’s Women’s National Team received incredible support from fans on both coasts with memorable home matches in Vancouver and Moncton. Fans in Toronto helped turn BMO Field into a fortress where Canada’s Men’s National Team went undefeated throughout the season. Meanwhile, Canada’s professional clubs enjoyed a number of special days that helped to keep soccer in the country’s sporting focus throughout the year.
So as we take one final moment to reflect on the season that was – we would like to extend a sincere thank you to all of the fans that supported Canada and Canadian soccer as the Association celebrated its Centennial year.
Here is our recap of the top 10 stories that defined a remarkable season for Canadian football.
10 | The Centennial
With the Women’s National Team and former Canada heroes on-hand, Canada’s Men’s National Team battled USA to a 0:0 draw at BMO Field on 3 June as the Canadian Soccer Association celebrated its 100th birthday.
9 | Fortress Toronto
Toronto FC drummed up notable home support as the club made it all the way to the semi-final of 2011-2012 CONCACAF Champions League. On perhaps the most special night of the campaign, over 50,000 fans packed Rogers Centre in Toronto to watch the home side battle LA Galaxy to a 2:2 draw.
8 | Home Sweet Home
In front of a crowd of over 22,000 at BC Place in Vancouver – Canada WNT booked its place at London 2012 with a convincing 3:1 win over Mexico. Christine Sinclair and Melissa Tancredi provided the goals on an emotional night that will live long in the memory.
7 | Bienvenue Montréal
Impact Montréal arrived into MLS with a bang – boasting big crowds and a number of big performances. Led by 2012 club MVP, Canadian international, Patrice Bernier, the Impact made a splash in Montréal as they remained in contention for a playoff spot until the very late stages of the season.
6 | Derby Delight
Doneil Henry and Lucas Cavalinni came up big as Canada’s U-23’s shocked rivals USA with a 2:0 win away from home in Nashville, TN at CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying. The result for Tony Fonseca’s young side played a major role in sending the Americans out of the tournament and ensuring that Canada would go on to qualify for the knock-out stages.
5 | Silver Lining
Canada battled all the way to the tournament finals at both the U-20 and U-17 CONCACAF Women’s Championships. Despite close losses to USA in both matches, the silver-medal performances showed real promise for the future. Both teams would go on to take part in the respective 2012 FIFA World Cups for their age groups.
4 | Playoff Bound
In a season that raised the bar for Canadian clubs in MLS – Vancouver Whitecaps FC became the first of the country’s clubs to qualify for the post-season.
3 | Quick Thinking
After Simeon Jackson was brought down on the right wing, Atiba Hutchinson acted quickly to catch the Panamanian back-line sleeping – setting up Dwayne De Rosario for a big goal at BMO Field. De Ro’s strike, the 20th of his Canada career, took him past Dale Mitchell as the nation’s all-time leading scorer.
Canada would hang on to win 1:0. Cue the frenzied celebrations in front of a crowd of over 16,000 in Toronto.
2 | The Sincy Show
Simply one of the best individuals performances in the history of Canadian soccer.
Christine Sinclair stated her case as the best women’s soccer player in the world with a clutch hat-trick in the Olympic semi-final against USA at Manchester’s fabled Old Trafford stadium.
1 | Bronzed
After enduring a French onslaught throughout the bronze-medal match at London 2012, Canada kept things a 0:0 with some dogged defending and a standout performance from ‘keeper Erin McLeod.
Canada’s resistance was sweetly rewarded.
Overcoming fatigue, Canada pushed bodies forward in injury time and assembled a string of intricate passes eventually leading to a rebound chance for Diana Matheson – who made no mistake.
Matheson slotted the ball coolly into the open goal before wheeling off towards the corner flag while placing a big kiss on the Canadian crest.
The goal won Canada its first-ever medal in Women’s Olympic Football and clinched the country its highest-ever finish at a major international tournament.
Later in the day, the Canadians took part in a memorable medal ceremony at the iconic Wembley Stadium in London.
Soccer fans from coast-to-coast rejoiced.
Canada Soccer outlines return to soccer guidelines. The return to soccer guidelines provide member organizations with a five-step process, including a checklist of weighted questions known as the Return to Soccer Assessment Tool.