Canadian soccer fans wait in anticipation as the countdown to watch the country’s national women’s team on home turf is well on its way.
To whet the appetite and raise anticipation for this prestigious sporting event the Ottawa Host City Venue, in participation with Ottawa Tourism, has launched a campaign to hide 100 mini match soccer balls over 100 days in the nation’s capital leading up to the tournament kick-off on June 6.
The real life daily scavenger hunt, which began on Feb. 26, has sponsoring businesses and local celebrities hiding mini match balls throughout Ottawa and relaying clues to the hoards of fans over social media.
Ottawa Venue general manager Valerie Hughes, and her team responsible for this live countdown campaign, recognized the traction and a greater demand for participation from fans all over Ontario.
The response “was why the hunt has moved beyond Ottawa,” said Hughes. “In Toronto we thought we would share in the wealth. Even though Ottawa is the host city, we are the only city in Ontario that is going to be hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup. We just want everyone to be a part of this exciting competition that is coming.”
Fans from Toronto and local soccer clubs from surrounding regions are now participating in the hunt for the next 10 days. Kitchener, Oshawa, Hamilton, London and Woodbridge have all been infiltrated by mini-match balls tucked away in various corners of the cities’ soccer venues.
The Ontario Soccer Association in Woodbridge Ont., located near Humber College’s North campus, held two days of consecutive hunts for local fans.
Hawks’ soccer alumna and current goalkeeper coach Katerina Conde is also a member of Woodbridge Soccer Club’s technical coaching staff.
“We found out and I know we (Woodbridge) are big on encouraging the development of female soccer players and female coaches,” said Conde.
“We told the girls and their parents to check #tickettour,” she said. “I know they are hiding the soccer balls around the OSA. I was tempted earlier this week to leave work and go grab the ball I saw hidden in Dundas Square.”
The response in Ottawa and Toronto has been positive. The action surrounding the mini match ball scavenger hunt not only resonates with young fans and parents, but older female soccer players themselves.
Players, like Humber varsity soccer defender Sabrina DiFlorio, commends Ottawa Host City Venue on the goal to push awareness all across Ontario.
“I think that because the scavenger hunt started in Ottawa a lot of people didn’t know about it, but introducing it to Toronto, I think would have a bigger impact” on ticket sales, said DiFlorio. “As a soccer player, promoting the women’s national team is very important because it doesn’t get the attention it deserves.”