TORONTO, Canada—Canada Soccer announced it’s roster today ahead of the Women’s National Team’s two international friendlies against the Czech Republic and Brazil in Cartagena, Spain this June as they continue to prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
The world no.8 Canadian side is using this camp as a last chance audition and evaluation before the roster for the games is solidified and head coach Bev Priestman is certainly drawing from a very strong pool of Canadian talent as competition for places heats up.
“This camp will give us the opportunity to get two games under our belt before the Tokyo Olympic Games, which is critical as part of our preparations,” Priestman said in a press release. “It will also provide another opportunity to assess players, and test and develop player partnerships, especially given that we will have key players coming back from injury.”
The Head Coach heads into this camp with the strongest possible squad available to her after having previous selections hindered by injuries or travel restrictions due to the ongoing pandemic and sees this window as a perfect opportunity to evaluate this pool of players in conditions like the ones they’ll face at the Olympics.
“Facing Czech Republic and Brazil will provide us with similar conditions to what we will face at the Tokyo Olympic Games, with two very different opponents within a three-day window, so it is a great opportunity to see how we cope in those circumstances as well as in the heat,” said Priestman “With more players in season now, I’m excited to see how players come in more and more ready for Tokyo and hope we can build on a successful April window. Additionally, this is the first camp with Kadeisha Buchanan in and we also have four players who are returning from longer term injuries and so having everyone in at once is crucial in helping select the Olympic roster.”
Priestman has named a strong squad of established veterans and young players for these friendlies, the highlight of the bunch, as always, being all-time international record goalscorer Christine Sinclair. Other veterans returning to the squad include Desiree Scott, Sophie Schmidt, and goalkeepers Stephanie Labbe and Erin McLeod, while 2020 Canadian Youth International Player of the Year Jade Rose highlights the youth within this squad as well.
The roster also includes French League team of the season member Ashley Lawrence of Paris St. Germain and 2020 Canadian Player of the year Kadeisha Buchanan of Olympique Lyonnais, who draws back into the squad after missing the last two camps due to medical and travel-related reasons. Forward Jordyn Huitema (PSG) and defender Vanessa Gilles (Girondins de Bordeaux) are also joining the camp from French clubs.
The camp has two potential international “A” debutantes in the mix, with fullback Bianca St-Georges of the Chicago Red Stars back from injury and forward Cloe Lacasse, fresh off of a title victory with Benfica and ready to build on her inclusion in the last camp in Wales and England.
Also returning to the squad after injury are goalkeepers Kaileen Sheridan, who was unfortunately injured early in the SheBelieves Cup match against the USA, and Sabrina D’Angelo and West Ham forward Adriana Leon.
With the squad for these matches currently sitting at twenty-eight, Priestman will have a lot of trimming to do ahead of the Olympics, where she will be allowed a roster of 18. At the last Olympic Games in Rio in 2016, then-head coach John Herdman opted to take two goalkeepers, six defenders, five midfielders and five forwards. A lay-out Priestman will be familiar with as she served as Herdman’s assistant at the games. Players with the ability of Ashley Lawrence to play in multiple positions will certainly be a boon to the squad, as will those coming into this camp in full-fitness, as the games at the Olympics come at a rapid pace.
The striker position will prove to be an especially interesting decision for Priestman, as newcomers Evelyne Viens and Cloe Lacasse will be looking to push the likes of Jordyn Huitema, Janine Beckie and Adrian Leon for spots after their strong contributions for their respective clubs this season. Lacasse has scored at a regular clip for Benfica on their way to the Portuguese title and Viens has already proven to be a reliable and productive member of the set-up after contributing in the last friendlies against Wales and England.
Defensively, Priestman will be keeping an eye on the emerging Vanessa GIlles as she looks to work her way into a strong defensive core that includes the likes of Shelinda Zadorsky, Allysha Chapman and Ashley Lawrence and has been further strengthened by the return of Kadeisha Buchanan. The head coach also has options in goal as Stephanie Labbe looks to build on her strong showing of three clean sheets in her last four Canadian appearances to maintain the no.1 jersey as Kaileen Sheridan returns to the squad. Erin McLeod may have something to say as well.
So far this year, Canada has a record of three wins and two losses, including their most recent 3-0 and 2-0 victories against Wales and England respectively. After a disappointing SheBelieves Cup before those matches, where the Canadians were only able to win one of their three games, Priestman’s team will be looking to continue the positive momentum they built up during their trip to the UK in the last international window going into this camp in Spain.
Though this is the last camp before selection, Priestman is hoping to play two more friendlies ahead of the Olympics and has established her intentions to wait until the last opportunity to select her roster to give players returning from injury enough time to return to fitness and challenge for a seat on the plane to Tokyo. With nothing solidified in that regard, this may be the best opportunity for many in the camp to put their best foot forward to ensure they’re a part of Canada’s quest for a third straight Olympic medal in July.
The friendlies against the world no. 27 Czech Republic on June 11 (11:00am ET/8:00am PT) and the world no. 7 Brazil on June 14 (3:00pm ET/12:00pm PT) will be broadcast from the Estadio Cartagonova on Canada Soccer’s YouTube channel. Extended coverage can be found across Canada Soccer’s digital channels on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram and Twitter featuring the hashtag #CanWNT.
Goalkeepers (4): Sabrina D’Angelo (Vittsjö GIK), Stephanie Labbé (Rosengård), Erin McLeod (Orlando Pride), Kailen Sheridan (Gotham FC).
Defenders (9): Kadeisha Buchanan (Olympique Lyonnais), Gabrielle Carle (Florida State University), Allysha Chapman (Houston Dash), Vanessa Gilles (FC Girondins de Bordeaux), Ashley Lawrence (Paris Saint-Germain), Jayde Riviere (University of Michigan), Jade Rose (Super REX Ontario), Bianca St-Georges (Chicago Red Stars), Shelina Zadorsky (Tottenham Hotspur).
Midfielders (7): Jessie Fleming (Chelsea FC), Julia Grosso (University of Texas at Austin), Jordyn Listro (Orlando Pride), Quinn (OL Reign FC), Sophie Schmidt (Houston Dash), Desiree Scott (Kansas City NWSL), Sarah Stratigakis (University of Michigan).
Forwards (8): Janine Beckie (Manchester City FC), Jordyn Huitema (Paris Saint-Germain), Cloe Lacasse (Benfica), Adriana Leon (West Ham United), Nichelle Prince (Houston Dash), Deanne Rose (University of Florida/North Carolina Courage), Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns), Evelyne Viens (Gotham FC).