With just 40 days to go until the FIFA Women's World Cup kicks off in Canada teams are ramping up for the final stages of their preparations. The first step for teams in those final preparations is to name the 23 players who will make up their World Cup roster.
The team that Herdman named for the event brings a wealth of international experience to the table including a spine that was part of the bronze medal winning team at the 2012 London Olympics. 14 players from that Olympic team are back for this event on a roster that includes a total of 12 players with 80 caps or more. The most experienced in the bunch is Christine Sinclair who will captain the team and look to add to her 153 international goals.
That spine of the team will be complimented by some exciting young talent that Herdman has brought in to the mix in recent years. Kadeisha Buchanan, Ashley Lawrence, and Jessie Fleming are the youngest players on the roster with all three taking part in the U-20 World Cup which Canada hosted last summer. Fleming was also part of Canada's squad at the U-17 World Cup last year meaning her inclussion on this roster brings her to three different World Cups in two years.
While the bulk of the roster was very much predictable with Herdman once again turning to the familiar faces that he has relied on for the past three years there are a few pleasant surprises in the mix. The return of Lauren Sesselmann from injury is a big boost for the back-line and the fact that she has been able to log some competitive minutes this past month should help her heading in to the World Cup.
The biggest surprise is Diana Matheson though as she is still on the sidelines dealing with a pair of injuries. The central midfielder is working her way back from knee surgery while also dealing with a broken foot that she suffered last month. Getting her match fit in time for the World Cup seems like a stretch but it would be a huge boost for Canada to have her back on the field.
If Matheson is not able to get fit in the next few weeks the team could still replace her on the final roster before it is submitted to FIFA. Ideally she will be back in time for the friendly against England in Hamilton on May 29th and can get some minutes before the real games get going but it may be optimistic to hope to see her back on the field given her current status.
With Sess and Matheson both on the roster it means that Herdman has named the strongest 23-player group that he could have selected. That is good news for Canadian fans as this team is going to need to be at their absolute best if they are going to put their last place showing from the 2011 World Cup behind them.
GK- Stephanie Labbé | unattached / sans club
GK- Karina LeBlanc | USA / Chicago Red Stars
GK- Erin McLeod | USA / Houston Dash
D- Kadeisha Buchanan | USA / West Virginia University
D- Allysha Chapman | USA / Houston Dash
D- Robyn Gayle | unattached / sans club
D- Carmelina Moscato | unattached / sans club
D- Marie-Eve Nault | unattached / sans club
D- Lauren Sesselmann | USA / Houston Dash
D- Rhian Wilkinson | USA / Portland Thorns FC
D- Emily Zurrer | unattached / sans club
M- Jessie Fleming | CAN / London NorWest SC
M- Selenia Iacchelli | unattached / sans club
M- Kaylyn Kyle | USA / Portland Thorns FC
M- Ashley Lawrence | USA / West Virginia University
M- Diana Matheson | USA / Washington Spirit
M- Desiree Scott | ENG / Notts County Ladies
M- Sophie Schmidt | unattached / sans club
F- Josée Bélanger | unattached / sans club
F- Jonelle Filigno | USA / Sky Blue FC
F- Adriana Leon | USA / Chicago Red Stars
F- Christine Sinclair | USA / Portland Thorns FC
F- Melissa Tancredi | USA / Chicago Red Stars