'Over the moon': Coquitlam father elated at daughter's gold-medal-winning kick
Carlos Grosso was on the edge of his seat during many of the middle-of-the-night women’s soccer matches at the Tokyo Olympics. But he never expected it would be his daughter, 20-year-old Julia Grosso, who’d bring home the gold with a winning penalty kick for Canada.
“We are excited, over the moon. Super, super, super happy. You can’t describe the words,” said the proud father, who watched with friends and family from his home in Coquitlam.
His heart was in his throat when the game ended 1-1 after extra time and went to penalty kicks. He was thrilled when Canada tied the shootout and had a chance to win it. Then, he saw it was Julia who would kick for gold.
“The camera was doing the replays and then all of a sudden it was straight to her and, ‘Oh Julia’s up,’” he said. “We are a little bit nervous, right? But she had all the confidence because she’s practised that.”
“I was freaking out, to be honest, that was the most nerve-wracking moment of the whole game,” said Julia’s older sister Carli, who was also watching from Coquitlam.
“I knew she was a PK taker. I was anticipating it. I just didn’t know when.”
The Grosso home erupted in deafening cheers when Julia’s penalty kick tipped into the net off the Swedish goalie’s glove to capture the gold medal.
“Oh my goodness, we were going insane,” said Carli. “I was crying. I was bawling my eyes out. I saw my dad – he probably won’t want to admit it – but I saw him tearing up a little bit, which is not normal for him.”
The Grosso family is thrilled for the 20-year-old soccer phenom whose dream of playing for the Canadian national team began while watching the World Cup in 2015. And they’re equally excited for team leader and Burnaby native Christine Sinclair.
“She treats my sister like a little sister, my sister absolutely adores Christine,” Carli said. “And I think the team getting together and not only winning for Canada but winning for her, I think is such a moment.”
“First I think of Christine,” said her former national team teammate Andrea Reid, who also woke up early to watch the gold medal match.
“I’ve known her for a very long time, since she was younger than some of those players, and I am so elated it’s hard to find a word,” said Reid, who along with Sinclair was instrumental in building the Canadian women’s soccer program.
“Women’s soccer now has come to a point people are not talking about women’s soccer, they are saying, ‘Did you catch the soccer game?’ Cafes were open at 5 o’ clock in the morning and people gathering to watch, and that’s a beautiful testament to how far the game has come,” said Reid.
Grosso has come a long way too. The newly-minted gold medallist plans to finish college at the University of Texas and turn professional in December.
“We are really excited,” said her dad. “We don’t know where she is going to end up, right? But wherever she goes, we will be supporting her.”