Olympics mark highlight to 2008 season

With the conclusion of the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, one can not help but look back on Canada’s 2008 season. This year was marked by the Association’s first-ever participation in the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament and its first in an Olympic Games since 1984. The team played in a record 24 international matches and gained valuable experience by reaching the quarter-final stage in China. “Our team has had a tremendous experience here at the Olympic Games,” said coach Even Pellerud. “Although it was a rough program with games in different cities, the organisation was very good, as was the food and accommodation.”

With the conclusion of the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, one can not help but look back on Canada’s 2008 season. This year was marked by the Association’s first-ever participation in the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament and its first in an Olympic Games since 1984. The team played in a record 24 international matches and gained valuable experience by reaching the quarter-final stage in China.
“Our team has had a tremendous experience here at the Olympic Games,” said coach Even Pellerud. “Although it was a rough program with games in different cities, the organisation was very good, as was the food and accommodation.”
Canada played four games at the 2008 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament – a 2:1 win over Argentina, a 1:1 draw with China, a 1:2 loss to Sweden, and a 1:2 loss to the United States in extra time.
“From a technical perspective, a major goal as a coach was the wish to see my players perform at the highest of their current ability,” said Pellerud. “We played at a very high level for the three group games, but could not maintain the same level for the quarter-final match against the United States. If we had, we would have beaten a team that is not that impressive any more.”
The United States eliminated Canada in the quarter-final stage and then Japan in the semi-final stage. On 21 August, it won 1:0 over Brazil to win its third gold medal in four Olympic tournaments.
“I am sure it will take some time for all of us to overcome the fact that we did not advance further. We know by now that the winning USA goal was a (missed) offside goal, but the United States had enough goal chances to justify the win.”
The USA loss marked the end of a long season that started in January at the Four Nations Tournament in China.
“It has been a great run (at the Olympics) following an amazing year,” said Pellerud. “Everything has gone according to our plans, with good performances all season long. We won the Cyprus Cup in March, we qualified for the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in April, and we reached the Peace Queen Cup final for the second time.”
Canada finished the year with a record of 10 wins, seven draws and seven losses. It was the third time Canada won 10 games in a season (after 2003 and 2006). Canada’s all-time record is 89 wins, 30 draws and 103 losses (1986-2008).
“We took note of the tremendous interest in our team back home and will thank all soccer fans for their support,” said Pellerud. “We have also appreciated how well our team is respected within the Canadian Olympic family. We cannot thank enough the people in the COC for their work both before and during the Olympic Games!”
As announced back in early June, the 2008 also marks Even Pellerud’s final season as head coach of the women’s football team. Coach Pellerud has been a part of the Canadian program since late 1999 and has an all-time record of 66 wins, 22 draws and 51 losses (2000-2008).
“The players on this team are young enough that they have another Olympic cycle in them,” concludes Pellerud. “I am convinced they can do even better in London 2012. I will always follow the team from wherever I am and will support it in every way possible.”

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