Edmonton soccer superfan treks across continent to cheer on Canada

A local soccer superfan is getting ready to watch Canada hit the pitch from home on Tuesday after trekking across the continent to see them live over the past several weeks.

Canada is facing off against Argentina in the Copa America football tournament semifinal.

Larry Zima could be seen in the stands during penalty kicks of Canada’s quarter final game against Venezuela.

“It was surreal … it just hit us and the group we were with just let loose,” said Zima to CTV News Edmonton Morning Live’s Nicole Lampa. “It was a fantastic feeling, to know that we moved on as one of the top four teams.”

CONMEBOL Copa América is a South American soccer tournament which began in 1916. It is the oldest still-running continental soccer tournament in the world.

The tournament consists mainly of South American teams, with teams from other regions being invited to fill out the roster. This is Canada’s first time in the tournament.

While in the United States for the tournament, Zima did also swing by Florida to catch Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

“It was solid, 5,000, 6,000 Oilers fans, it was a sea of orange,” said Zima. “It was like a home game, just pumped with our fans, singing the national anthem … it was like being here, but not being here.

“Disappointing outcome, but still a remarkable experience.”

While at that game, Zima also had a chance encounter while wearing his Evan Bouchard jersey.

“I’m standing outside the stadium and a lady comes up and she says, ‘Do you like Bouchard?’ and I say, ‘Best defenceman we have,’ she looks at me and says, ‘I’m his mother, I want a picture with you,'” said Zima.

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

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

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

“Chance encounters, wearing the colours, it’s just something that’s part of the Canadian thing that happens. There’s no egos, it’s just great to be part of it.”

Canada faces off against Argentina tonight at 6 p.m.

After tonight’s game, Canada will be off to either the third place game or the final. Zima has tickets to both and plans to cancel whichever one Canada isn’t in so he can cheer them on in person again.

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