Olympic qualifying is fast approaching, and Canada Senior National Team coach John Herdman already has an eye on the next World Cup cycle. “We’ve reviewed and analyzed the team post FIFA Women’s World Cup, so we are in the process of building towards the Rio Olympics,” Herdman said in a news release. “We’re looking at this first training camp in Vancouver from Nov. 21 until early December as an opportunity to assess a group of young players from our EXCEL program, and from the Pan Am Games.”
Herdman added: “This is really an important assessment period before we bring together the final group in January that will make up the Canadian team for our Olympic campaign.” This will be the first time the Senior Women’s squad has regrouped since making the quarterfinals of this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup. The main goal of the camp is to evaluate young talent ahead of Olympic qualifying for the Rio 2016 Games.
Herdman will use a young roster, leavened with a few core players, when Canada plays in a friendly tournament, the Tournament of Natal, in Brazil in December 2015. Canada plays Mexico on Dec. 9, Croatia on Dec. 13 and Brazil on Dec. 16. Canada’s roster numbers are flexible, with five players’ availability dependent upon their team’s progression in the NCAA tournament. “The tournament in Brazil is part of the assessment phase, so we will be bringing in a lot of young players in November, right through into the tournament in Brazil in December.”
Herdman said, “We know a lot about the players who have been with the team in the past, so some of the players coming to Brazil will be those we need to learn a little bit more about as we look to keep improving the team for Rio.” Among veteran players missing from the December roster are Desiree Scott, Kaylyn Kyle, Lauren Sesselmann and Emily Zurrer. Among the younger players, teenager Jessie Fleming is not on the original roster.
The CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament will be held Feb 10th– 21stin on Feb. in Texas. The draw has the USA in Group A facing Puerto Rico, Mexico and Costa Rica, while Canada plays Guatemala, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago in Group B. The top two teams at the eight-team tournament will qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The following 15 Canadian players will be entering Canada’s Women’s National Team camp on 21 November:
Goal keepers Sabrina D’Angelo; Stephanie Labbé; Erin McLeod
Centre Back Shelina Zadorsky
Full Back Allysha Chapman; Kennedy Faulknor; Rhian Wilkinson
Midfield: Diana Matheson; Deanne Rose; Sophie Schmidt
Forward: Gabrielle Carle; Summer Clarke; Marie Levasseur; Christine Sinclair; Melissa Tancredi
In addition, the following players currently competing in NCAA play may enter the camp and competition dependent on the results of their current season:
– Janine Beckie | USA / Texas Tech
– Kadeisha Buchanan | USA / West Virginia U.
– Ashley Lawrence | USA / West Virginia Univ.
– Nichelle Prince | CAN / Toronto Lady Lynx
– Rebecca Quinn | USA / Duke University