Herdman thumbs up

Canada WNT nominates roster for London 2012 Olympics

The Canadian Soccer Association has nominated its roster for the London 2012 Women's Olympic Football Tournament. Canadian head coach John Herdman has selected 18 players that will join Team Canada for the London 2012 Olympics.

Canada's 18-player roster features 12 players who have played for Vancouver Whitecaps FC, including goalkeeper Erin McLeod, defenders Candace Chapman, Carmelina Moscato, Emily Zurrer, Robyn Gayle, and Chelsea Stewart, midfielders Kaylyn Kyle, Sophie Schmidt and Desiree Scott, and strikers Christine Sinclair, Melissa Tancredi and Brittany Timko. Among that group are four players on this year's 2012 Whitecaps FC women's roster: Stewart, Kyle, Scott and Timko.

This marks Canada's second participation in the Women's Olympic Football Tournament. Canada is one of 12 teams in the competition, which is split into three groups of four teams for the group phase.

Canada, a two-time CONCACAF champion, qualified for the London 2012 Olympics out of Vancouver, BC at the 2012 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Vancouver, BC. In front of record-setting Canadian crowds at BC Place in January, Canada won a confederation silver medal after qualifying as one of two Olympic teams from CONCACAF.

Of Canada's 18 players, 14 of them were CONCACAF champions in December 2010, including two-time champion Karina LeBlanc. Canada's most experienced players, with more than 100 international appearances apiece, are Christine Sinclair (captain), Diana Matheson, Rhian Wilkinson, Brittany Timko, Candace Chapman and LeBlanc. Seventeen players have participated in at least one FIFA Women's World Cup, all with the exception of Lauren Sesselmann.

Twelve of Canada's 18 players also have experience from the last Women's Olympic Football Tournament at Beijing 2008. That was the year Canada reached the quarter-final phase of the competition, only falling in extra time to eventual champion and CONCACAF rival USA. The six players hoping to make their Olympic debut at London 2012 are Sesselmann, Chelsea Stewart, Kelly Parker, Desiree Scott, Kaylyn Kyle and Carmelina Moscato.

Seventeen of Canada's 18 players came up through the Canadian national youth program (all but Sesselmann). Six players won a silver medal at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Canada 2002: Sinclair, Timko, Chapman, Erin McLeod, Carmelina Moscato and Robyn Gayle. Six players also won a CONCACAF youth title with Canada, be it in 2004 (Timko and Emily Zurrer) or 2008 (Jonelle Filigno, Kaylyn Kyle, Sophie Schmidt and Chelsea Stewart).

Canada faces Japan on 25 July in Coventry, South Africa on 28 July in Coventry, and Sweden on 31 July in Newcastle. Both Japan (champion) and Sweden (bronze) were medal winners at the most recent FIFA Women's World Cup Germany 2011.

Either two or three teams will advance from each group, with eight teams participating in the quarter-final phase. The quarter-final matches are on 3 August, the semi-final matches are on 6 August, and the final medal matches are on 9 August.

CANADA (former Whitecaps FC players in bold)
GK- Karina LeBlanc 
GK- Erin McLeod | SWE / Dalsjöfors G.o.I.F.
CB- Candace Chapman 
CB- Carmelina Moscato | SWE / Piteå IF
CB- Emily Zurrer | SWE / Dalsjöfors G.o.I.F.
FB- Robyn Gayle 

FB- Lauren Sesselmann  
FB- Chelsea Stewart | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
FB- Rhian Wilkinson  
M- Kaylyn Kyle | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
M- Diana Matheson  
M- Kelly Parker  
M- Sophie Schmidt | SWE / Kristianstads DFF
M- Desiree Scott | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC

F- Jonelle Filigno | USA / Rutgers University
F- Christine Sinclair  
F- Melissa Tancredi | SWE / Dalsjöfors G.o.I.F.
F- Brittany Timko | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC