With the official announcement of the Canadian ladies’s Olympic soccer roster revealed by Canadian coach Bev Priestman Wednesday, the group can now consider a loftier aim.
Winners of back-to-back bronze medals, the Canadian gamers have aspirations of reaching the medal podium for an unprecedented third consecutive time on the Tokyo Olympics.
However Canadian coach Bev Priestman desires to vary the color of the medal this summer time in Japan, and he or she is difficult all 18 gamers on her Olympic roster — from veteran Christine Sinclair to teen Deanne Rose — to push themselves out of their consolation zone with a view to make it occur.
Canada head coach Bev Priestman believes her gamers can ship a fair higher consequence on the Olympics. (Rui Vieira/Related Press)
“If we received one other bronze [in Tokyo] we would nonetheless be a history-making group. However whenever you work with gamers who’ve performed in back-to-back Olympics, like Christine Sinclair, how do you retain pushing Christine to be higher than she’d been earlier than? For me, I feel the group wanted one other push, and to vary the color of the medal you need to do issues and ask extra issues of those who have not been requested earlier than,” Priestman advised CBC Sports activities.
“That is been the problem with this group, to take the shackles off, like ‘Let’s go!’… It is a mammoth job, however I do imagine if all of the jigsaw items are proper and we preserve it easy, however maximize [our] strengths, on our day Canada can compete with the perfect groups on this planet.”
With the group set, this is a breakdown of Canada’s Olympic roster:
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Extra from Tokyo 2020
Stephanie Labbé and Kailen Sheridan
Canada boasts a stable pair of shot-stoppers who each will be referred to as upon at any time because the No. 1 goalkeeper.
Labbé, 34, has been with the nationwide group rather a lot longer than Sheridan, and has gathered much more worldwide appearances (78 vs. 11). She additionally backstopped Canada to a bronze medal on the 2016 Olympics in Rio. If expertise counts for something, then Labbé can be between the posts when Canada kicks off its event on July 21 in opposition to host Japan.
Sheridan, 25, is a rising star in Canadian soccer, and gained the Gold Glove Award as the perfect goalkeeper in final season’s NWSL Problem Cup. She supplanted Labbé because the starter on the SheBelieves Cup again in February, however then suffered a quad muscle damage seven minutes into Canada’s opening sport that dominated her out for the remainder of the event. Labbé has began all however one match for Canada since then.
Labbé is Canada’s goalkeeper of the current, and Sheridan is the goalkeeper of the long run. However given the very fact they’re each on the high of their respective video games, it would not be a significant shock to see Priestman rotate between the 2 and provides them each a style of motion within the group stage.
Stephanie Labbé backstopped Canada to a bronze medal on the 2016 Olympics in Rio. (Kenzo Tribouillard/Getty Photos)
Kadeisha Buchanan, Allsyha Chapman, Vanessa Gilles, Ashley Lawrence, Jayde Riviere, Shelina Zadorsky
In seven video games in 2021, Canada has recorded 4 shutouts, together with blanking fellow Olympic contributors Brazil. It is a formidable defensive document that owes rather a lot to a sturdy and well-organized back-line.
Buchanan, the reigning Canadian participant of the 12 months, is likely one of the greatest centre backs within the ladies’s sport, and serves because the quarterback of a defensive unit that offers little or no away. Zadorsky is coming off a breakout marketing campaign in England the place she turned an everyday starter with Tottenham, and has shaped a formidable duo with Buchanan within the coronary heart of Canada’s defence.
Gilles is a relative newcomer who debuted for Canada in 2019 and solely has six appearances beneath her belt. However the Quebec native has pressured her means into the Olympic squad by advantage of her aerial energy and tenaciousness on the bottom. Her inclusion within the group means Canada has three gifted centre backs, giving Priestman the power to seamlessly swap from a four-woman defence to enjoying with three central defenders.
Skilled fullbacks Ashley Lawrence and Allysha Chapman give Canada a sturdy defensive presence on the flanks, however they’re additionally harmful going ahead and supply width to the assault. There’s been an extended standing debate over what Lawrence’s greatest place is, defender or midfielder. Lawrence’s versatility provides Priestman extra choices to tinker along with her lineup, and she will be able to simply slot into midfield in case of an damage to a teammate.
With 21 caps, Riviere is the least skilled defender on the group. However the 20-year-old is a vibrant up-and-comer who is not shy about getting ahead in assist of the assault.
Ashley Lawrence, left, provides Canada a sturdy defensive presence on the flanks however can also be harmful on the assault. (Catherine Ivill/Getty Photos)
Jessie Fleming, Julia Grosso, Desiree Scott, Quinn
With Diana Matheson dominated out on account of damage and fellow veteran Sophie Schmidt on the alternate checklist, Canada’s midfield will look significantly totally different in comparison with the final two Olympic tournaments.
Nonetheless, Scott provides Canada continuity in the course of the park. The 33-year-old native of Winnipeg has a pair of bronze medals and 162 worldwide appearances, and has been on the coronary heart of the nationwide group’s midfield for greater than a decade. Past her expertise, Scott is a vital group chief on this Canadian facet, and has deservedly earned the nickname “The Destroyer” on account of her tenacious tackling and talent to disrupt opponents from getting a foothold in midfield.
Quinn has been certainly one of Canada’s greatest gamers this 12 months, incomes plaudits for his or her excellent two-way play. Athletic and comfy in possession, they’re additionally in a position to slot into the defence, thus giving Priestman extra choices.
Fleming is coming off a stable rookie marketing campaign with Chelsea the place she gained helpful enjoying time within the English FA WSL and UEFA Ladies’s Champions League. The 23-year-old from London, recognized for her expertise on the ball and silky passing, can be appeared upon to behave as Canada’s chief playmaker in Tokyo.
Grosso, 20, can be competing in her first main event for Canada in Japan – she was an unused participant on the 2019 FIFA World Cup in France. The Vancouver native is taken into account certainly one of Canada’s brightest prospects, however she hasn’t been given a lot of a possibility since making her nationwide group debut in 2017. Her inclusion within the 18-player roster on the expense of Schmidt is a robust displaying of religion from Priestman, who’ll count on Grosso so as to add vigour and dynamism to central midfield.
As a two-way participant, Quinn, left, has been certainly one of Canada’s greatest gamers this 12 months. (Rui Vieira/Related Press)
Janine Beckie, Nichelle Prince, Deanne Rose, Adriana Leon, Christine Sinclair, Évelyne Viens
As dependable as Canada’s defence has been this 12 months, the identical cannot be stated for the assault. The Reds have scored simply six targets in seven video games in 2021, and have been shut out 4 instances over that very same stretch.
Much more troubling is that Sinclair hasn’t scored in her earlier eight appearances for the Canadian group relationship again to February 2020. That is not a superb omen contemplating how a lot Canada depends on its iconic captain to spark the offence. However Sinclair, who’s the all-time main scorer in worldwide soccer (for each women and men) with 186 targets, has a monitor document of developing huge in main tournaments, and he or she’ll have some extent to show in what is probably going her ultimate Olympic look.
With 31 targets in 75 appearances, Beckie is Canada’s fifth all-time main scorer, and is coming off a pair of seasons with Manchester Metropolis the place she impressed within the English topflight, in addition to within the UEFA Champions League. Able to enjoying anyplace throughout the entrance line, Beckie should choose up among the scoring slack and assist out Sinclair if Canada is to progress far within the event.
Viens is a former NCAA standout who was lengthy missed by Canada, and solely made her worldwide debut in February. She’s performed her means onto this group thanks largely to her stable hold-up play and the bodily and athletic presence she offers up entrance.
Leon is getting back from a foot damage that sidelined her for a number of months, and the veteran is thought for her work price and being a harmful weapon off the bench. Prince and Rose are fast kids who can unbalance opposing defenders with their direct runs after they’re in possession.
Christine Sinclair must rediscover her scoring prowess if Canada has any hope of reaching the rostrum. (Elsa/Getty Photos)
Gabrielle Carle (defender), Jordyn Huitema (ahead), Erin McLeod (goalkeeper), Sophie Schmidt (midfielder)
Huitema appeared like a lock for the Olympics a 12 months in the past. However she dropped down the ahead depth chart since then, paving the best way for Viens to take her roster spot. McLeod is a veteran who gained an Olympic bronze in 2012 and performed in three World Cups.
Carle is a promising teen who seems to be destined to turn out to be a future starter for Canada. Schmidt has been a mainstay with the nationwide group since 2005, has two bronze medals, and is certainly one of solely three gamers with over 200 caps for Canada. However she’s stagnated just a little bit for Canada over the previous 12 months.
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