With FIFA announcing Canada will co-host the 2026 World Cup, fans of the beautiful game here in Ottawa are rejoicing.
For some soccer fans in Ottawa, there are memories of Canada facing off against countries such as France and Russia back in 1986. For younger people, who don’t remember the first and only time Canada participated in a World Cup, there’s hope of seeing Canadian players take their place alongside giants of the sport.
And for some serious players in this city, there’s an outside shot they might even suit up for Team Canada.
It’s what customers and staff at DiSalvo Sports, the city’s primary soccer sporting goods store, wanted to talk about.
“It’s really exciting. I feel it gets us Canadians more involved with the beautiful game. Like it should be. As a sport, as a country, we’re growing in the game. Our generation is getting a lot better and hopefully the young players out there get noticed and get their opportunity.”
“It’s actually huge. So, I’ve been in Canada for two years. I’m from Kenya. To me, when I first heard it I thought, ‘I hope I’m in Canada in 2026,’ because I’ll be graduating in two years. Hopefully I’ll be around to witness it because it’ll be a perfect opportunity to have something like that in Canada. It’ll be a good chance to get Canada on the map. Let’s show people what we’re about here.
”The kids can see it now. The pros are coming. They can look up. Maybe they’ll go to a game and say, ‘I want to do that.’ Being in our back yard, they see it. They may dream it now… Put in the hard work and maybe they can get there.”
“I’m happy that Canada will host it. Unfortunately soccer is not that popular in Canada. People prefer hockey. I wish Canada, in the future, puts more effort to join the other countries in soccer because we have the potential.”
“I think it’s exciting news. It’s good to get Canada out on the world stage. I mean, Canadian soccer, we haven’t had much experience in the World Cup in a long time. I mean as a fan, I hope they win. But realistically speaking, I think as long as they have a strong performance and do well in the group stage that’s fantastic either way. I sure it’ll be really good for younger kids just coming up playing soccer to see the Canadians play against some of the best teams in the world.”