Canada Soccer has released the Women’s National Team roster ahead of two matches against Costa Rica on 8 June in Winnipeg and 11 June in Toronto. The June matches will mark the first meetings between Olympic Bronze Medalist Canada, ranked fifth in the world by FIFA, and upcoming CONCACAF rival Costa Rica since the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament in February 2016, which secured Canada’s spot at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Costa Rica is a team that has increased its competitive edge over the past few years, becoming a real threat in the CONCACAF region. In the 2016 Olympic qualification match, remembered mostly for Christine Sinclair’s juggling highlight-reel goal from the top of the box, Costa Rica kept Canada at bay for most of the first half, defending deep and denying any effort to break through. Sinclair led the way with goals on either side of the break. Sinclair’s brace was briefly cut in half by a Raquel Rodríguez penalty, but later complemented by a Deanne Rose insurance goal towards the end of the memorable 3:1 win.
“It’s great to be back in Canada and the players are really looking forward to this series against Costa Rica,” said Head Coach John Herdman. “They have two world class players in Raquel Rodriguez (Sky Blue FC) and Shirley Cruz (Paris Saint Germain) and as a team they’ve been improving over the years. It’s important that our team are continually exposed to CONCACAF opponents, who offer a very different challenge to what we’ve just experienced in Europe with Germany and Sweden. With the critical upcoming 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, which is the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 qualification tournament, we will draw on this experience in our planning and preparation.”
With many of the Rio 2016 stars set to return to the pitch in Canada including Captain Christine Sinclair, Canada’s preliminary roster is stocked with world-class talent. Fans in Winnipeg will welcome home two-time Olympic Bronze Medalist Desiree Scott, while fans from the Toronto area will get the chance to cheer on southern Ontario locals Rebecca Quinn, Kailen Sheridan, Lindsay Agnew, Allysha Chapman, Ashley Lawrence, Kadeisha Buchanan, Shelina Zadorsky, Jessie Fleming, Nichelle Prince, Deanne Rose, and Adriana Leon.
Canada last played in Winnipeg in 2014 against the USA resulting in a 1:1 draw. Kadeisha Buchanan gave the raucous crowd something to cheer about as she opened the scoring in the first half before the Americans tied the game with fifteen minutes to go to draw 1:1.
Toronto fans last saw Canada in action against Brazil as part of the Road to Rio series in June 2016 as Canada prepared for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Canada fell to Brazil in that match 0:2 but came back and defeated them 1:0 in Ottawa three days later, and then 2:1 when it mattered most in the Bronze Medal Match of the Rio Olympic Games.
At the upcoming Toronto match, Canada Soccer will honour Women’s National Team players Josée Bélanger and Kaylyn Kyle, who announced their retirement from international play earlier this month. Additional retirement announcements are expected prior to the 11 June home match, and fans will have the opportunity to celebrate these players in Toronto as well.
Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team earned the honour of being the first Canadian team to win back-to-back Summer Olympic medals since 1908, and the first-ever women’s Canadian team to repeat on the Summer Olympic podium, when it captured bronze this past summer. With an eye to continue as Canada’s most successful summer Olympic team, the team is now focusing on the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 and 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Canada Soccer Women’s National Team v Costa Rica Roster (by position)
GK Stephanie Labbé, age 30, from Edmonton, AB/ Washington Spirit (NWSL)
GK Sabrina D’Angelo, age 24, from Welland, ON/ North Carolina Courage (NWSL)
GK Kailen Sheridan, age 21, from Whitby, ON/ Sky Blue FC (NWSL)
FB Lindsay Agnew, age 22, from Kingston, ON/ Washington Spirit (NWSL)
FB Allysha Chapman, age 28, from Courtice, ON/ Boston Breakers (NWSL)
FB Ashley Lawrence, age 21, from Caledon, ON/ Paris St-Germain FC (Division 1 Féminine)
CB Shannon Woeller, age 27, from Vancouver, BC/ FF USV Jena (Bundesliga)
CB Kadeisha Buchanan, age 21, from Brampton, ON/ FCF Olympique Lyonnais (Division 1 Féminine)
CB Shelina Zadorsky, age 24, from London, ON/ Washington Spirit (NWSL)
M Jessie Fleming, age 19, from London, ON/ UCLA (NCAA)
M Rebecca Quinn, age 21, from Toronto, ON/ Duke University (NCAA)
M Sophie Schmidt, age 28, from Abbotsford, BC/ FFC Frankfurt (Bundesliga)
M Desiree Scott, age 29, from Winnipeg, MB/ FC Kansas City (NWSL)
F Nichelle Prince, age 22, from Ajax, ON/ Houston Dash (NWSL)
F Deanne Rose, age 18, from Alliston, ON/ Scarborough GS United
F Adriana Leon, age 24, from King City, ON/ Boston Breakers (NWSL)
F Jordyn Huitema, age 16, from Chilliwack, BC/ Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite BC Soccer REX
F Janine Beckie, age 22, from Highlands Ranch, CO/ Houston Dash (NWSL)
F Christine Sinclair, age 33, from Burnaby, BC/ Portland Thorns FC (NWSL)
Additional Roster Notes:
- The 19-player roster includes 16 Rio 2016 Bronze Medalists, three two-time Olympic Bronze medalists (Sinclair, Schmidt and Scott)
- The average age of the roster is 23.6 year of age and includes three teenagers in Huitema, Rose and Fleming
- The youngest player on the squad is 16-year-old Jordyn Huitema, who remains eligible for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2018
- 11 of the 19 players play in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), two play Division 1 Féminine in France, two in the Bundesliga in Germany, two in the NCAA, and two in club soccer in Canada
- Ashley Lawrence will celebrate her 22nd birthday on 11 June at the Toronto home match
- Christine Sinclair will celebrate her 34th birthday on 12 June, the day after the Toronto home match