Priestman Dealing With ‘Difficult Situation’ Ahead Of SheBelieves Cup Clash
On Wednesdy morning, a day before Canada begins play in the SheBelieves Cup against their arch-rivals the US, Bev Priestman met the media to discuss the upcoming games.
Canada Soccer kindly requested to the media that we refrain from asking questions about the labour agreement dispute and the ongoing situation with pay equity and gender equality.
Priestman began the call making a statement in regards to the call with the Canada Soccer Players Association yesterday.
“I wanted to address the challenging and difficult circumstances,” she said. “Obviously, it’s challenging and difficult as a coach and for the group of staff it’s very challenging and I am incredibly proud and honored to represent the players I have in front of me.”
She added that she wants the dispute resolved ‘as quickly as it can’, adding that she knows what the CSA wants and what the players want on the opposite end.
Priestman mentioned that due to the unfortunate situation, training sessions have been canceled and players are emotionally drained. In a big year that will also include the FIFA Women’s World Cup, it makes things more difficult.
“If you’re asking me as a woman if I believe in equality, I absolutely do. I have a little boy and I want him to know that I have the same opportunity as everybody else.”
She was first asked in regards to availability and she confirmed that, despite the unfortunate circumstances, everyone is available to play and she touched on the conversation she had with Sophie Schmidt, who had revealed her plan to retire following the World Cup.
“I think the conversation with Sophie was a bit soul destroying for me. You talk about what she has gone through with the Olympics and sitting in stands with that much experience and what I have seen with her is an incredible character and at times the best trainer on this team, but the good thing to me is everyone is available.”
Priestman also mentioned that yesterday was the first day this week where she felt the team was 100% concentrated on the game on Thursday against the Americans.
Earlier today an article in The Guardian newspaper was published saying that Priestman was going to evaluate her future with Canada and potentially look for another opportunity and she was asked to clarify on this.
“The big thing to note is that I am committed to this group of players and I have shared incredible moments with them, and I want those moments to continue and it really is a difficult circumstance. My aim is to be with this group of players and to share more incredible moments.”
She was asked about the game on Thursday night against the US and if she feels it will be similar to the Concacaf W Championship final when they lost 1-0.
“To be honest, I hope it doesn’t and to be honest we agreed that we didn’t give our best in that game. I hope we can take it to the US and I think we can and if the mindset is right we can show what we have shown in our identity, and what I can expect from the US is that they don’t want to get beat by Canada again. I’ll expect a difficult game, and it’ll be a fantastic game”.
Priestman was asked about what she wants to get out of playing in the SheBelieves Cup and she answered with the following.
“It’s our last tournament [before the World Cup] and I think for me the one thing is last year we made some huge gains objectively, and the one thing I would like to see during this tournament is to be more consistent and asses our team depth and it’s our last chance to do that.”
I asked Priestman about managing the team energy due to the fact they will be playing three games in three different cities in three different states.
“I don’t think I have ever played a game where I haven’t used every sub available, so again you will see that and we have the depth in this group and it’s the strongest depth we have ever had. What you will see is a lot of different players across the three games and there is a lot of different quality and styles, and it will be a good assessment for the impossible task of picking 23 players for the World Cup.”
Canada will face the US at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida on Thursday night with kick off scheduled for 7:00pm and the game can be seen on OneSoccer or on FuboTV.