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Edmonton soccer fan travels across continent to cheer on Canada

Edmonton soccer fan travels across continent to cheer on Canada
Edmonton soccer fan travels across continent to cheer on Canada

A local soccer fan is preparing to watch Canada take to the field from home tonight, after traveling across the continent in recent weeks to watch the teams live.

Canada will face Argentina in the semi-finals of the Copa América soccer tournament.

Larry Zima was seen in the stands during Canada’s penalty shootout in the quarter-final against Venezuela.

“It was surreal… it just hit us and the group we were in just let loose,” Zima told Nicole Lampa of CTV News Edmonton Morning Live. “It was an amazing feeling, knowing that we were moving on as one of the top four teams.”

CONMEBOL Copa América is a South American football tournament that was first held in 1916. It is the oldest continental football tournament in the world that still exists.

The tournament is primarily made up of South American teams, with teams from other regions invited to fill out the roster. This is the first time Canada has participated in the tournament.

While Zima was in the United States for the tournament, he also passed through Florida and played in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

“It was solid, 5,000, 6,000 Oilers fans, it was a sea of ​​orange,” Zima said. “It was like a home game, full of our fans, singing the national anthem … it was like we were here, but we weren’t.

“Disappointing outcome, but still a special experience.”

During that match, Zima also had a chance encounter while wearing his Evan Bouchard jersey.

“I was standing outside the stadium and a woman came up to me and asked, ‘Do you like Bouchard?’ I said, ‘The best defender we have.’ She looked at me and said, ‘I’m his mother, I want to take a picture with you,'” Zima said.

After Canada’s victory over Venezuela, he also happened to meet a player’s family.

Edmonton soccer superfan Larry Zima talks to CTV News Edmonton Morning Live’s Nicole Lampa on Tuesday, July 9, 2024. (CTV News Edmonton)

“I’m standing in the jetway getting ready to come back from Dallas and this family is like, ‘Who’s the best player we have?’ and you have to say Shaffelburg… their faces light up and she says, ‘That’s our boy,'” Zima said.

“Chance meetings, wearing the colours, it’s just part of the Canadian thing. There’s no egos, it’s just great to be a part of it.”

Canada takes on Argentina tonight at 6pm

After tonight’s game, Canada will go to either the third place game or the final. Zima has tickets to both and plans to cancel the tickets that don’t include Canada so he can cheer them on in person again.