THORNHILL, Canada—Still basking in the glow of last summer’s Olympic Gold Medal, the Canadian Women’s National Team begins to turn its attention to next year’s Concacaf Women’s Championship and beyond. First up are a pair of friendlies at Mexico on November 27 and 30.
Here’s the squad for this concluding November window, which they announced on Thursday:
For the most part, It looks like we’re sending the A team out to close out Canada Soccer’s banner year. However in the official announcement XNT boss Bev Priestman highlighted the opportunity in these friendlies to “assess some players for the future and start some of our tactical adjustments ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023.”
That forward vision accounts for several fresh faces in the squad, including first-time call-up Amanda West from the University of Pittsburgh. The 20-year-old Burlington ON striker netted 11 goals in 11 games for the Panthers this season, on her way to her third-straight All-ACC recognition.
The core of the team features eighteen returnees from the Olympic Champion side, including nine players fresh off their NWSL campaigns. I’ll be looking to fitness and form as reasons for heavier rotation between the two friendlies alongside Priestman’s need to assess new players and player combinations, given the long and competitive American league schedule,
Chelsea’s Jessie Fleming on the other hand is in stellar form seven games into the FA Women’s Super League season, netting a trio of goals and an assist in the domestic table and another tally in four Champions League fixtures. Her calm leadership and creative playmaking ability continue to prove essential for both club and country. All signs point to her emerging as Canada’s next “great one” between now and the 2023 World Cup, beginning with this November window.
Notable absences are WSL standouts Janine Beckie and Adriana Leon for “medical reasons”. Jayde Riviere and Gabrielle Carle are staying home as they both have upcoming fixtures in the NCAA Women’s College Cup.
From the Olympic squad: unavailable for the November camp are Janine Beckie and Adriana Leon for medical reasons as well as both Gabrielle Carle and Jayde Riviere through school commitments.#CANWNT #CANWNTGold— Canada Soccer's Women's National Team (@CANWNT) November 18, 2021
Celebration Tour Continues
Tucked into the squad announcement for this November window was the initial confirmation that the Olympic Celebration Tour will continue. This is welcome news as the localized pair of friendlies in Ottawa and Montreal in October was a far cry from what everyone hoped. Fans throughout the country deserve to cheer on our Gold-Medal team, and they’ll get the opportunity to do so in Spring 2022.
While the public focus will be on celebrating the triumph in Tokyo, Priestman and co. are sure to use these games as trial runs for the Concacaf Women’s Championship in June and July. The region’s ecosystem for the current cycle was restructured this past August: all eyes will be on the 2022 tournament, which serves as qualifiers for both the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.