Canada Soccer announced on Thursday that midfielder Julia Grosso and striker Jordyn Huitema from the Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite Super REX Centre, in partnership with BC Soccer, have been called up to the Canadian women's national team for the Algarve Cup.
17-year-old Grosso from Vancouver, BC and 16-year-old Huitema from Chilliwack, BC are the two youngest players on the roster. Since making her senior debut in the 2017 Algarve Cup final, Huitema has made seven senior international appearances, scoring two goals, while Grosso made her senior national team debut against the United States in November.
The Algarve Cup, a prestigious annual international tournament in Portugal, runs from February 28 to March 7. The tournament will mark newly-appointed women’s national team head coach Kenneth Heiner-Møller’s first competitive matches at the helm with Canada having won the 12-team tournament in 2016 and finishing as runners up in 2017.
Drawn into Group B, Canada will face Sweden in its opening match on Wednesday, February 28 at 10:00 a.m. PT at Bela Vista Municipal Stadium, followed by Russia on Friday, March 2 at 10:00 a.m. PT at Estádio Algarve, and Korea Republic on Monday, March 5 at 6:00 a.m. PT at Lagos Municipal Stadium. All teams will play a fourth match on Wednesday, March 7 to determine the tournament standings.
“Once again, we are bringing a young, hungry team, blended with more experienced veteran players to the Algarve Cup as we continue to expand our tournament expertise heading into the CONCACAF Women’s Championship later this year,” said Kenneth Heiner-Møller, Canada Soccer’s women’s national team head coach. “The competition format is especially important for the upcoming CONCACAF tournament which will serve as the qualification route for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019, as it will allow us to focus on how we prepare the team for quick turnarounds between games, adapt to different opponents in short periods of time, and reinforce on-field relationships and chemistry between players.”
Canada’s 23-person squad for the Algarve Cup includes 15 players who won Bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, including Diana Matheson who is returning to the squad after a 2017 injury. Veteran goalkeeper Erin McLeod has also returned after recovering from an injury that sidelined her for the 2016 Olympic Games.
“We are looking forward to this tournament as each of the matches will present unique challenges and help us further develop as a team,” said Heiner-Møller. “We are expecting a strong opening match against Sweden, who we beat in April last year, but who have a new coach and some world-class players. We faced Russia in this tournament last year and they showed some very strong defensive organisation, and Korea Republic are known for their very technical game, so we are pleased our group will offer us such diverse opponents and we are going have to perform in each match to get the result we want.”
Canada Soccer Women’s National Team 2018 Algarve Cup Roster
Head Coach Kenneth Heiner-Møller
GK Stephanie Labbe, age 31, from Stony Plain, AB
GK Erin McLeod, age 34, from St. Albert, AB/ FC Rosengård (Damallsvenskan)
GK Kailen Sheridan, age 22, from Whitby, ON/Sky Blue FC (NWSL)
FB Lindsay Agnew, age 22, from Kingston, ON/ Houston Dash (NWSL)
FB Allysha Chapman, age 29, from Courtice, ON/ North Carolina Courage (NWSL)
FB Ashley Lawrence, age 22, from Caledon, ON/Paris Saint German (Division 1 Féminine France)
FB Shannon Woeller, age 28, from Vancouver, BC/ FF USV Jena (Frauen-Bundesliga)
CB Shelina Zadorsky, age 25, from London, ON/ Orlando Pride (NWSL)
CB Kadeisha Buchanan, age 22, from Brampton, ON/ Olympique Lyonnais (Division 1 Féminine France)
M/CB Rebecca Quinn, age 22, from Toronto, ON/ Washington Spirit (NWSL)
M Maegan Kelly, age 25, from Kansas City, MO & Toronto, ON/ FC Kansas City (NWSL)
M Desiree Scott, age 30, from Winnipeg, MB/ Utah Royals FC (NWSL)
M Sophie Schmidt, age 29, from Abbotsford, BC/ FFC Frankfurt (Frauen-Bundesliga)
M Jessie Fleming, age 19, from London, ON/UCLA (NCAA)
M Diana Matheson, age 33, from Oakville, ON/Utah Royals FC (NWSL)
M Julia Grosso, age 17, from Vancouver, BC / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite/ Canada Soccer
Regional EXCEL Super Centre (British Columbia)
F Christine Sinclair, age 34, from Burnaby, BC/ Portland Thorns (NWSL)
F Deanne Rose, age 18, from Alliston, ON/ University of Florida Gators (NCAA)
F Janine Beckie, age 23, from Highlands Ranch, CO/ Sky Blue FC (NWSL)
F Adriana Leon, age 25, from King City, ON/ Sky Blue FC (NWSL)
F Nichelle Prince, age 22, from Ajax, ON/ Houston Dash (NWSL)
F Jordyn Huitema, age 16, from Chilliwack, BC/ Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite/ Canada Soccer
Regional EXCEL Super Centre (British Columbia)
F Jenna Hellstrom, age 22, from Sudbury, ON/ FC Rosengård (Damallsvenskan)