Those who follow women's soccer in Canada closely have already been talking about Jessie Fleming for a while now. It was just a matter of finding the right time to introduce her to the rest of the WoSo World. The 15-year-old from London, Ontario is the most talked about Canadian soccer prospect in recent years and was a star of the CONCACAF U-17 Championships where she helped lead Canada to a place in next spring's World Cup and took home the Golden Boot as the event's top scorer.
Fleming is also a promising athlete away from the soccer field. She is already a three time OFSAA gold medalist with first place finishes in cross country, 1500m, and 3000m events to her name. Her 1500m time was so impressive that as a 14-year-old she was only 8 seconds off the Canadian junior record (for athletes under 17) and she could represent Canada internationally in track as well if she wanted. She is just a pure athlete who is driven to be the best at whatever she does.
That is why getting her involved in a national team camp is the smartest thing that John Herdman could do. With Fleming showing so much promise in other sports it would be a huge lose for Herdman's program if she were to prioritize any of them ahead of soccer. So with the next round of camp primarily taking place during her high school's Christmas break the timing seems right to bring her into the squad.
Fleming is not the only young face on the most recent roster as Herdman has again called in Surra Yekka, the speedy 16-year-old, and Kadeisha Buchanan. That trio will bring plenty of youth to Brazil and will provide a taste of what the future holds for the team.
The youngsters are once again joined by the core group that we are used to seeing on every CanWNT roster. With Canada getting serious about their preparations for 2015 now is the time for that core group to start getting on a roll again after some tough outings in 2013. Getting Sinclair scoring goals and finding people to compliment her has been a struggle of late but this event should provide them with a good chance to build that confidence back up.
Canada will take on Scotland (December 11th), Chile (15th), and Brazil (18th) in the event before likely taking part in a final on the 22nd against the second best team following the round robin. Brazil (ranked 4th) and Canada (7th)should both qualify for the final with relative ease considering that they are noticeably stronger sides than Scotland (20th) or Chile (unranked but would be in 40's).
Herdman noted that a group like this is useful for Canada since it could be similar to what they would face in the 2015 World Cup. Canada will likely be drawn with one of the other strong teams in women's soccer along with two weaker nations. Those weaker teams can often provide a tricky test as Canada saw against the 17th ranked South Korea.
Potentially getting two matches against Brazil would also be good for Canada since they are an opponent in the upper tier of women's soccer. If Canada are going to make any sort of run in 2015 they will have to be able to beat teams like Brazil so now would be a good time to start building that confidence and learning how to win in tough games.
GK- Stephanie Labbé | SWE / KIF Örebro DFF
GK- Karina LeBlanc | USA / Portland Thorns FC
GK- Erin McLeod | USA / Chicago Red Stars
D- Kadeisha Buchanan | USA / West Virginia University
D- Robyn Gayle | USA / Washington Spirit
D- Carmelina Moscato | USA / Seattle Reign FC
D- Marie-Eve Nault | SWE / KIF Örebro DFF
D- Lauren Sesselmann | USA / FC Kansas City
D- Rhian Wilkinson | USA / Boston Breakers
D- Sura Yekka | CAN / Brams United
D- Emily Zurrer | USA / Seattle Reign FC
M- Selenia Iacchelli | CAN / Edmonton Victoria SC
M- Jessie Fleming | CAN / Norwest Soccer Club
M- Kaylyn Kyle | USA / Boston Breakers
M- Diana Matheson | USA / Washington Spirit
M- Sophie Schmidt | USA / Sky Blue FC
M- Desiree Scott | USA / FC Kansas City
M- Brittany Baxter (née Timko) | unattached
F- Adriana Leon | USA / Chicago Red Stars
F- Christine Sinclair | USA / Portland Thorns FC