But the game’s presence here has been constantly growing and, as demonstrated by this country’s hosting of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in June, would now likely appear on any top 10 list.
That’s what Carroll is banking on in his role as director, sales with the national organizing committee for the event. At the very heart of it, his job is to sell tickets to the 24-team event — which will see games played in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Moncton.
He points to the bronze-medal-winning women’s team at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England as a catalyst for heightened interest, with even impartial observers keen on seeing star Canadian player Christine Sinclair suit up for what will likely be her final World Cup competition.
“That notoriety helps us a lot,” Carroll said during a telephone interview on Tuesday, noting the country’s women’s team is far more competitive — and arguably popular — than the men’s club.
“This is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity (for spectators) ... the first World Cup coming to Canada.”
The 32-year-old Pasadena native feels his previous experience in a similar role of selling women’s sport as a corporate sales executive with Tennis Canada was likely what caught the attention of his employers when he applied for this new job. At this time last year, he had just finished up a one-season contract with the American Hockey League’s Hamilton Bulldogs as its manager of retention, which saw him focus on season ticket holders.
Though he enjoyed his time there, he feels more at home in his current role.
“I’m a sales guy,” he said. “In all honesty, I love the thrill of the chase and getting out there and selling tickets.”
Not that he’s going door-to-door with a booklet — he’s got a team of representatives at a call centre in Ottawa who call prospective ticket buyers and gauge interest. He oversees that group and everyone else who are selling tickets to the event across the country.
One of the biggest challenges is clearly the six-venue aspect of the tournament, which means long days over multiple time zones for Carroll. His business hours begin when the local organizing committee’s in Moncton, N.B. does and don’t end until closing time for the local committee in Vancouver, B.C.
“There’s no going home and shutting off,” he said, adding he’s got his Blackberry on “pretty well all day, every day.”
“Especially at this point in the game,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure nothing is being overlooked.”
During the tournament itself, he’ll be attempting to fill venues that can accommodate thousands right up until game time. He expects, once play is underway, his days will be 14-16 hours of work, at minimum, for about 30-35 days in a row.
The tournament runs from June 6 to July 5 and, once it wraps up, Carroll will take a couple of days off to catch up some sorely-missed sleep. From there, he’ll compile reports on ticketing, including what sold well, what offers went well and, of course, the things that maybe didn’t go so well.
His contract expires at the end of July, and he’ll soon put his thoughts towards what his next career move will be.
But first, he’ll take a little time off in August to clear his head after what will have been an absolute whirlwind of a summer.