Canada Soccer announced on Tuesday that five Vancouver Whitecaps FC alumnae have been named to Canada's women's national team ahead of the 2016 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship.
Goalkeeper Erin McLeod, midfielders Desiree Scott and Sophie Schmidt, and strikers Christine Sinclair and Melissa Tancredi also spent time wearing the Blue and White for Whitecaps FC.
Head Coach John Herdman has named the 20 players who will represent Canada in Texas. Canada will be looking to secure its spot at this summer’s Olympic Games through a victory in the semi-final knockout round, but the team’s goal for this competition is to take home CONCACAF’s top spot.
The roster, which features three goalkeepers, six defenders, five midfielders, and six forwards, has come together after Canada regrouped following its sixth place finish at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015 this past summer. In selecting the 20 players, down from the FIFA Women’s World Cup roster of 23, Herdman has chosen a blend of experience and youthful vigour that he believes is the key to putting Canada atop the podium in Texas next month.
“We are really excited about this squad and the confidence, determination and skill they bring to the pitch,” said Herdman. “We had a strong group of players to select from, which made final selection extremely challenging, but we have put together a team that will go out there and get the job done, which is simply to make this country proud by qualifying for RIO 2016.”
Herdman selected 13 players who were part of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ squad, 7 from the 2012 London Olympic bronze medal winning squad, and a total of 7 players 20 years old and under.
“We’ve been evaluating players, in and out of the Women’s National Team camp, and have had a lot of good opportunities to see players in high pressure environments, including the FIFA Women’s World Cup and Pan Am Games, but also through the EXCEL development program,” said Herdman. “The team we have selected today represents the best of Canadian soccer, consisting of a subtle blend of youth and experience. Right now, we are in a position to focus on the upcoming qualification tournament and hopefully position ourselves to defend our Olympic bronze medal this summer in Rio.”
Canada, currently ranked 11th in the world, will compete in Group B of the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, opening its Olympic qualification campaign against 89th ranked Guyana on 11 February, before taking on 48th ranked Trinidad and Tobago on 14 February, and 76th ranked Guatemala on 16 February. Group A includes #1 ranked USA, Mexico (26th), and Costa Rica (34th) and Puerto Rico (108th).
Canada will play its entire tournament at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, which will also host Group B, the knockout round and final match.
Canada’s CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship 2016 roster by position
GOALKEEPERS (3): Erin McLeod, Stephanie Labbé, Sabrina D'Angelo.
DEFENDERS (6): Shelina Zadorsky, Kadeisha Buchannan, Rebecca Quinn, Rhian Wilkinson, Allysha Chapman, and Josée Bélanger.
MIDFIELDERS (5): Diana Matheson, Sophie Schmidt, Desiree Scott, Ashley Lawrence, and Jessie Fleming.
FORWARDS (6): Janine Beckie, Christine Sinclair (Captain), Nichelle Prince, Deanne Rose, Gabrielle Carle, and Melissa Tancredi.
- Canada captain Christine Sinclair, Canada’s most capped international player, all-time Canadian top goal scorer and second in the world for international goals, will once again lead Canada through Olympic qualification. Sinclair is currently tied with Mia Hamm for second all-time in international goals and will be looking to surpass her at the competition.
- Five of Canada’s top ten most capped international women’s players are on the squad, including Sinclair (232), midfielders Diana Matheson (178) and Sophie Schmidt (137), full back Rhian Wilkinson (168) and goalkeeper Erin McLeod (112).
- All four of the active top ten Canadian women’s goal scorers will be present, including Sinclair (158), Schmidt (16), Matheson (16) and Melissa Tancredi (22).
- The average age of the roster is 25 years old.
- Deanne Rose is the youngest player on the team at 16 years old.
- Melissa Tancredi is the oldest player at 34 years old.
Detailed Canada Soccer CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship 2016 roster
GK – Erin McLeod, February 26, 1983 (age 32). From: St. Albert, AB
GK – Stephanie Labbé, October 10, 1986 (age 29). From: Edmonton, AB
GK – Sabrina D'Angelo, August 24, 1992 (age 23). From: Welland, ON
D – Kadeisha Buchanan, November 5, 1995 (age 20). From: Brampton, ON
D – Rebecca Quinn, August 11, 1995 (age 20). From: Toronto, ON
D – Shelina Zadorsky, October 24, 1992 (age 23). From: London, ON
D – Josée Bélanger, May 14, 1986 (age 29). From: Coaticook, QC
D – Allysha Chapman, January 25, 1989 (age 27). From: Courtice, ON
D – Rhian Wilkinson, May 12, 1982 (age 33). From: Baie-d'Urfé, QC
M – Jessie Fleming, March 11, 1998 (age 17). From: London, ON
M – Ashley Lawrence, June 11, 1995 (age 20). From: Caledon, ON
M – Diana Matheson, April 6, 1984 (age 31). From: Oakville, ON
M – Deanne Rose, March 3, 1999 (age 16). From Alliston, ON
M – Sophie Schmidt, June 28, 1988 (age 27). From: Abbotsford, BC
M – Desiree Scott, July 31, 1987 (age 28). From: Winnipeg, MB
F – Janine Beckie, August 20, 1994 (age 21). From: Highlands Ranch, CO
F – Gabrielle Carle, October 12, 1998 (17). From: Lévis, QC
F – Nichelle Prince, February 19, 1995 (age 20). From: Ajax, ON
F – Christine Sinclair, June 12, 1983 (age 32). From: Burnaby, BC
F – Melissa Tancredi, December 27, 1981 (age 34). From: Ancaster, ON