Thrilled to help Canada’s national women’s soccer team win gold at the Tokyo Summer Olympics, Adam Day is equally thrilled by what the victory could mean at the grassroots level of the sport in Surrey and other cities and towns across the country.
“It doesn’t seem real, not yet – and I’m not sure this will ever sink in,” Day told the Now-Leader a few days after arriving home from Japan, following the gold-medal match Friday, Aug. 6.
“I was like, listen, take this in, because not everybody gets this opportunity and you never know if something like this will happen again,” Day continued.
“This could be the biggest thing any of us will achieve in our lifetime, but we’ll see what happens.”
With the national team, Day is a technical staff member alongside head coach Bev Priestman, who lives on the Semiahmoo Peninsula, and Delta-raised Jasmine Mander, among others. The team’s longtime equipment manager, Maeve Glass, lives in South Surrey.
— Surrey United Soccer Club (@SurreyUnitedSC) August 6, 2021
While the players received medals for their Olympic win, coaches did not.
“We knew that coming in, that the staff don’t get medals,” Day explained. “The staff get the opportunity to take pictures with a gold medal, which is what we did. I think we’re trying to get some made up, replicas or whatever the case may be, but the first question I get is, ‘Well, how was it?’ and the second question is, ‘Where’s your medal?’ But I don’t have a medal to show anyone,” he added with a laugh.
The drama of the team’s shoot-out win over Sweden was felt across Canada as fans tuned in for the early-morning game, Pacific time.
“I felt that with us, the staff and the players, there was a lot of calm despite what was going on, a lot of calm and confidence,” Day reported. “Because it was such a bubble that we were in, there wasn’t much external pressure. When we beat Sweden, it was just mayhem – people from around the world buzzing us. Maybe shock is the world, and I don’t think we realize just how big this is.
“I said to the staff that this gold medal won’t be beaten, it can only be matched,” Day continued. “We were the first to do it, and who knows when the next medal comes around for Canada. Hopefully there are many, many more, but you just don’t know. It was just a surreal moment.”
— Jasmine Mander (@JMander10) August 5, 2021
Originally from London, England, Day moved to Canada 15 years ago and soon got involved in coaching soccer. He’s been working with Guildford Athletic Club since 2018, in addition to recent coaching assignments with Surrey United and a new job coaching the men’s team at Capilano University in North Vancouver.
With Guilford AC, Day’s work involves getting more girls to play soccer, and keep them playing.
“This (Olympic) win is only going to help to promote the women’s game, grow the women’s game,” he said.
“I know this will inspire another generation of young girls to play football. My own daughter, she plays football and watches occasionally, when I force her to,” he joked, “and she was interested in the Euros a little bit, with England in it, but when she saw the (national) team in the semifinal and then the final, she wanted to go play in the (yard) and be Christine Sinclair, and I think that’s what something like this does, especially on the global scale.”
For Day, it’s been a travel-filled year with the national team.
“Guildford (AC) has been amazing because I’ve had to be away a lot since January, every camp,” he explained. “The club has given me two, three weeks to go off and help represent Canada, so a massive thank-you to Karen (Gallagher, president) and David (Hohlbein, vice-president) and the rest of the club for allowing me to do it. I think everyone was pleased I was involved in it, and to get the gold and just bring a little bit of attention back to the club, I’m pleased. It’s a great club, a grassroots club, and it’s a nice reward for the club as well.”
Guildford Athletic Club welcomes players to register for the fall soccer season. For details, visit guildfordac.com or call 604-583-9233.