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Soccer's World Cup trophy arrives in Canada

Soccer's World Cup trophy arrives in Canada

Posted by Juan Gavasa on February 13, 2014

Millions of Canadians may be glued to their TV sets watching the nation's best athletes compete for gold in the Sochi Winter Olympics, but Coca-Cola feels the FIFA World Cup should have a share of the spotlight. Yesterday afternoon, the prestigious soccer trophy was brought to Mississauga's Pearson International Airport as part of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour, presented by the soft drink maker.

The GTA is the only Canadian stop on the tour, which includes 89 other countries. Brazil will host this year's World Cup from June 12 to July 13.

"The trophy is unparalleled," said Coca-Cola president Nicola Kettlitz. "It's a symbol of optimism and something that we, as kids, aspire to (win) and dream of all over the world." The trophy made its appearance during a time when Canada is preparing to host the world for the 2014 Under-20 Women's World Cup and the 2015 Women's World Cup.

Next year, Coca-Cola is arranging to have the Women's World Cup trophy travel all over Canada before the tournament begins next August.

In addition to Kettlitz, Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, recently-acquired Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley, Toronto FC head coach Ryan Nelson, Mississauga East-Cooksville MP Wladyslaw Lizon and Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Linda Jeffrey were guests of honour.

Bradley, a member of the U.S. national team, said he felt inspired to see the world's greatest soccer trophy, up close and personal. "As a young boy, I was able to see my heroes play right in front of me and I was inspired by that," Bradley said.

"Those memories still stick with me today and they inspired me to reach some of my goals. I had the honour to represent the United States in 2010 and it was the proudest moment of my career. The World Cup trophy was flown into Canada on a Coca-Cola chartered plane. Canada is the 69th stop on the tour, which began in April in September and will end in Brazil in April. The trophy will have travelled over 148,000 kilometres by the time the tour is over.

Lizon was quick to point out that soccer is the most played sport in the country, according to Statistics Canada. More than 270 million people embrace the game worldwide, according to FIFA.

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