Canada’s men’s soccer team is getting closer to a spot in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and their success is helping businesses closer to home.
“More and more interest as they go on and keep doing well and winning games,” said Jason Miller, general manager of Edelweiss Tavern.
The tavern is home to the official viewing party of Canada’s soccer support group, the Voyageurs. Games have been a big boost during the pandemic, with more fans turning up as Canada keeps winning.
“I can say the screens are all on it, the volume’s up loud, people are cheering Canada on,” Miller said.
Canada beat Costa Rica 1-0 in their most recent qualifying match, setting up a chance to top their group if they win against Mexico on Tuesday in Edmonton.
“The men’s team hasn’t qualified since the 1986 World Cup and that’s in stark contrast to the great success the women’s team has had, what with three Olympic medals and winning gold in Tokyo,” said John Molinaro, a soccer reporter with TFC Republic. “The men have really lagged behind.”
Seeing Canada make the World Cup would also help grassroots soccer.
“It would just be pure excitement. Everyone would be buzzing,” said Danielle Byers with the Kitchener Soccer Club.
Byers said 3,500 players have registered this year, topping pandemic levels.
She expects growth to continue and the club plans to invest in staff and facilities to keep up with the interest.