ANALYSIS – The CanWNT roster was revealed for the Arnold Clark Cup. This is the inaugural edition of the Arnold Clark Cup, which only has the top 10 sides involved. Canada will go up against third-ranked Germany, ninth-ranked Spain, and eighth-ranked hosts England.
The CanWNT Roster Revealed for the 2022 Arnold Clark Cup
— Canada Soccer's Women's National Team (@CANWNT) February 7, 2022
New faces to the CanWNT roster
The CanWNT had some new faces on the roster. There are also some familiar faces that did not play in Tokyo 2020. Sura Yekka, for example, is a right-back, who currently plays for the second division of Division 2 Feminine’s Le Havre AC. She has played for the national team since 2013 and has made 13 appearances.
Similarly, Cloé Lacasse is also on the team. She is a Benfica player in Portugal’s Campeonato Nacional Feminino league. Her debut came in a surprising 2-1 loss to Mexico on November 27.
Marie-Yasmine Alidou is going to make her debut with the CanWNT in the Arnold Clark Cup. The midfielder is from Quebec and is one of a few players making their debut. Tanya Boychuk, the 20-year-old, who speaks three languages, will be also making her debut. Boychuk played with the CanW20 team in 2018 and 2020. Four of her five goals for the CanW20 team were scored in 2020. Lastly, there is Victoria Pickett, a midfielder for NWSL’s Kansas City Current. She like Lacasse earned her first CanWNT debut on November 27 against Mexico.
Devon Kerr is another player to mention. She played for the under-17 level in 2014. Kerr then played US at the U-19, U-20, and U-23 teams. Kerr last represented the U.S. in 2018.
This is what CanWNT head coach Beverly Priestman said about Kerr, who currently plays for the Washington Spirit according to Benedict Rhodes of the Canadian Premier League.
“Devon is athletic, a great shot-stopper,” she said. “I just said to her ‘it’s a great opportunity to assess you alongside our keepers’. Devon has been the number two in NWSL, and so the level of game time hasn’t been there. So, I thought that this window was a great opportunity to assess her. She’s a great goalkeeper, and we need to keep sort of expanding that pool given Steph’s retirement and where we’re heading in the future.”
— Canada Soccer's Women's National Team (@CANWNT) January 19, 2022
This is important especially with Last Word on Soccer’s CanWNT player of the year, Stephanie Labbé’s retirement last year. Jessie Fleming, one of the three CanWNT players is in the running for the best Concacaf player of the year. She is also the only one of those three players on the roster. The Chelsea midfielder played a crucial role in the CanWNT winning Gold in Tokyo last year. This included converting four penalties in the knockout round, including two of them during the penalty shootout. She and Nichelle Prince will be needed offensively for the CanWNT. This is because both Adriana Leon and Christine Sinclair will not be part of the Arnold Clark Cup.
Notable Players from Tokyo 2020
One of the standouts of the team in the Olympics was Vanessa Gilles. In particular, her game against Brazil was spectacular. Also, Kadeisha Buchanan, who currently plays for Olympique Lyonnais, has made 109 appearances for the CanWNT and scored four goals. She was also the only CanWNT player to be nominated in the FIFPRO Best XI. Also, left-back and midfielder Ashley Lawrence is also on the roster. She was the only CanWNT to be a finalist for BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year award. Other notable players include Julia Grosso, Sophie Schmidt, Janine Beckie, Desiree Scott, and Deanne Rose.
— Raheem (@bashirra) October 27, 2021
There are two names that Canadian fans will be surprised not to see on the roster. Adriana Leon is a winger for West Ham United. Leon finds herself at the right place at the right time. This was shown in the Celebration Tour game in Montreal against New Zealand. She has an instinct for scoring goals, which is one aspect that the CanWNT can improve upon. Leon has an injury and hence why she is not on the roster.
Also, sincere condolences to Christine Sinclair and her family from everyone at Last Word on Sports. Sinclair’s mother, after 40 years of battling multiple sclerosis has sadly passed away. As a result, Sinclair will not participate in this month’s Arnold Clark Cup.
Canada does not depend on Sinclair for goals like it did in the past. However, Sinclair still can step up in big moments. For example, in the final, she drew a penalty that resulted in Fleming tying the game against Sweden in the Olympic final. She also played well defensively against Sweden, which is something that was not seen on the scoresheet. Her leadership will also be missed as Sinclair has been a part of the CanWNT since the year 2000.
CanWNT – Beverly Priestman and her Plans for the CanWNT
The CanWNT head coach Beverly Priestman talks about winning Gold, but also a need to move on and try to be successful in a FIFA Women’s World Cup. This is what Priestman said according to CPL Soccer:
“I think now there’s a line in the sand where yes that Olympic medal happened but actually I want to move beyond the middle and we have to set that new vision and you know tweak some things that will help us longer term.”
All three games will take place in England in February. The Canadian team will first start play at Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough. That game will take place on February 17 at 2:30 p.m. ET. The next two games will be against Germany at 3:15 p.m. ET at Carrow Road in Norwich. Then the last game will be against Spain at Molineux Stadium in Wolverhampton. The Germany game will be on February 20 while the Spain game will be on February 23.
The games will all be televised nationally in Canada on TSN. This is a great step for the women’s soccer game in Canada. A similar cup, the SheBelieves Cup, which Canada was a part of last year, was only shown on the OneSoccer streaming service. It was also not televised nationally.
Photo Credit: Canada Soccer by Mexsport on November 27, 2021.