It was the usual suspects when Canada named their roster for Rio Monday morning. Anyone who saw the players selected for the tune up games against Brazil could've hazard a guess at the players selected for the upcoming Olympics. But before Canada play their final tune-up against the third-ranked French on the 23, here are three thoughts on John Herdman's team for this August.
Young Players have to Step Up
With an average age of 25 and two-thirds of the roster playing in their first Olympics, the young guns of the CanWNT will need to make their impact. On top of the two recent friendlies, Herdman has made an effort to give the young players of the squad as much playing time as possible.
The Algarve Cup, World Cup, and a very young PANAM Games roster have helped give them international experience, and they'll need it. Matches against Germany and an improved Australia side will test all facets of this team and the youth will need to take the experience they've gained and turn it into solid team play on the pitch.
The playing time, and the time spent playing together should help the squad - but time to learn is over as Canadians from coast to coast will be tuning in for these matches looking for the new players to perform.
Depth may Hold Canada Back
Arguably one of Canada's weakest points is their bench players and this tournament will not be any different. Three games in seven days will wear down the starting 11 and it will not only be crucial that the starters perform but to avoid injury as well. Going into this tournament Canadian fans will be crossing their fingers that Labbe will be staying away from dangerous challenges with regular starter Erin McLoed out with a knee injury and backup goalkeeper Sabrina D'Angelo lacking caps and a healthy wrist to perform confidently. The strikers tell a similar story, if Janine Beckie or Nichelle Prince go down early Canada may be starved for goals with Melissa Tancredi then likely to start.
On the plus side, Canada has two experienced bronze medalist waiting in the wings in times of injury with Kaylyn Kyle and Marie-Eve Nault. But if Canada has ambitions of reaching the knockout stage, and even coming home with a medal, the team will need to stay healthy and rely on their starting 11 to carry them through.
Time for Transition
Sinclair Sinclair Sinclair. For the casual fans, not those of this blog, will know that the CanWNT is made up of far more than just Sinclair and 10 other players. This tournament is an excellent opportunity for the media and fans to focus in on the other players that don't wear number twelve.
While Sincy remains a mainstay of the team, and its marketing focus, it will be important for the team to showcase the newer players coming through the ranks. Jessie Fleming, Janine Beckie, and Ashley Lawrence are all excellent examples of strong players who will lead this team for years to come. Tancredi, Sinclair, Wilkinson and Matheson are all players that will likely not make it to the next Olympic cycle, and we should be able to hand off the spotlight to these young players before the golden age of Canadian Women's Soccer fades out.
The full list of players can be found below:
Marie-Eve Nault - D
Kaylyn Kyle - M
Kailen Sheridan - GK
Gabrielle Carle - F