Player's Own Voice podcast: Bev Priestman likes Canada's 2023 World Cup chances
The coach of the Canadian national women's soccer team is not one to rest on her laurels.
While the rest of the country was still celebrating the team's historic gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, Bev Priestman was already looking ahead to a couple of serious years of coaching work.
In her mind, a huge win doesn't teach players very much, but a single loss in a hard-fought series of games — like the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying tournament — that's where the improvements happen.
Priestman says that playing a brave style of soccer is what got the Canadian team to Olympic gold. But keeping that fearless attitude is more of a challenge once a reputation is established, and more scrutiny piles on to a high-seeded squad.
Priestman makes good use of her experience in three soccer cultures — England, New Zealand, and Canada. She picks up on national strengths wherever she works. In Canada, she thinks mental toughness is the X-factor. Maybe it's something about a culture that shovels snow in the dead of winter? Priestman says Canadians are uniquely willing to believe they can compete with anyone on the world stage.
The challenge, heading into the World Cup next summer in Australia, is going to be managing a sustained effort.
Whichever team is most fresh gets the glory in the final, according to Priestman. Canada has no problem attacking from the outset of a tournament. And the team has great depth on the roster. Closing strength? It will be the coach's job to make sure that's in place at the end of the World Cup.
Priestman is working on it.
There are transcripts of our podcasts for a hard-of-hearing audience. To listen to Bev Priestman,Allison Forsyth, Jason Priestley, Mimi Rahneva, Cito Gaston, Robert Parish, Aaron Brown, Kaylyn Kyle, Kurt Browning, Bianca Farella, Summer McIntosh, Beckie Sauerbrunn or any of the guests from earlier seasons, go to CBC Listen or wherever else you get your podcasts.