'Caps for Canada: Chelsea Buckland

Whitecaps Prospects product ready to perform for hometown crowd

Later this month, BC Place will be host to the 2012 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament. For many players on the team, this won’t be the first time playing in front of fans in Vancouver, as the squad includes 14 former members of Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Over the next two weeks, whitecapsfc.com will be profiling each of these players as we get set to support our fantastic Canadian women!

For the vast majority of players on the Canadian women’s national team, preparing for the CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament is nothing new. Most of them have been through this before; many have played in multiple World Cups and Olympics tournaments. But for former Whitecaps FC player and North Delta native Chelsea Buckland, this month’s tournament will be a fresh experience.

WATCH: BUCKLAND TALKS ABOUT TOURNAMENT

At the tender age of 21-years-old, Buckland is the only player on the roster who will be playing in a senior international tournament for the first time. That being said, this still won’t be her first time playing for the women’s national team. She’s played in three friendly matches, making her international debut in a 1-1 draw against Switzerland on May 15 of last year, while recently netting her first international goal in Canada’s 2-1 win over Sweden on November 22.

“In the style when we’re playing with two centre forwards, she really understands how to move with and for the other forward,” said women’s national team head coach John Herdman to The Province last month. “And then she goes and scores a goal against Sweden. It makes all the difference.”

The native of North Delta, BC, is no stranger to being a difference-maker. Collegiately, Buckland has led her Oregon State University Beavers in scoring for the past two seasons while playing alongside fellow Whitecaps product Jenna Richardson.

Much of Buckland’s confidence was developed while playing for Whitecaps FC. She blossomed with the Whitecaps Prospects program in 2008, scoring 11 goals in the Pacific Coast Soccer League despite missing a third of the 16-game season. She then made the jump to the W-League, recording two assists with the ‘Caps women’s team in 2009.

Now, with confidence in hand, Buckland is taking her game to the highest level, making an impact for her country on the international stage.

“She came into the Sweden camp and certainly did some things that caught our eye,” added Herdman. “She moves well, the timing of her movement is good, she reads the game well.”

And making her major tournament debut in front of her hometown crowd? What could be better.

For more details on how to purchase tickets, please visit the CanadaSoccer.com CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying tournament information page.