Canadian women set for ‘Celebration Tour’ in wake of Olympic soccer success

Canadian women set for ‘Celebration Tour’ in wake of Olympic soccer success

All 22 members of Canada’s Olympic champion women’s soccer team will take part in the “Celebration Tour,” with games later this month against New Zealand in Ottawa and Montreal.

Canada Soccer confirmed Tuesday that captain Christine Sinclair and all other players on the team that won gold in Tokyo earlier this summer will involved in the friendlies Oct. 23 at TD Place in Ottawa and Oct. 26 at Saputo Stadium in Montreal.

“To have all 22 players back together for the start of the women’s national team ‘Celebration Tour’ was really important because this group deserve to share this moment with our loyal fans,” Canada coach Bev Priestman said in a statement. “We’re all excited to get back on the pitch together and celebrate with our fans.”

Canada is ranked sixth in the world, compared to No. 23 for New Zealand.

Priestman has also invited four other players to camp: Marie Levasseur from France’s Fleury FC, Victoria Pickett from the NWSL’s Kansas City team, Jade Rose from Harvard University, and Nikayla Small from Wake Forest University.

“We felt it was also an important opportunity to assess and build for the future by taking a look at some new players or assess players we know in different positions around the training environment as we start the journey for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 and Olympic Games 2024,” said Priestman.

The Canadian women will play their first official matches next July at the 2022 CONCACAF W Championship.

Canada and New Zealand have met at the last two World Cups. The teams played to a scoreless draw in Edmonton in 2015, with Canada winning 2-0 in Grenoble, France, in 2019.

Canada won 3-0 the last time the two met, at a tournament in China in November 2019.

New Zealand appointed former Czech international defender Jitka Klimkova as its women’s coach last month. Klimkova served as a New Zealand youth coach and senior assistant coach before moving to the U.S. There she coached the U.S. U-19 and U-20 teams and was a member of the coaching staff of the senior side that won the 2015 World Cup in Canada.

The Canadian women are 8-1-4 all-time against the Football Ferns, with the lone loss coming in their first meeting in December 1987.

Canada Roster (x- denotes training player)

Goalkeeper: Stephanie Labbe, Paris Saint-Germain (France); Erin McLeod, Orlando Pride (NWSL); Kailen Sheridan, NJ/NY Gotham FC (NWSL).

Defenders: Kadeisha Buchanan, Olympique Lyonnais (France); Allysha Chapman, Houston Dash (NWSL); Vanessa Gilles, FC Girondins de Bordeaux (France); Ashley Lawrence, Paris Saint-Germain (France); x-Jade Rose, Harvard University (NCAA); Jayde Riviere, University of Michigan (NCAA); Shelina Zadorsky, Tottenham (England).

Midfielders: Gabrielle Carle, Florida State University (NCAA); Jessie Fleming, Chelsea (England); Julia Grosso, University of Texas at Austin) NCAA); x-Victoria Pickett, Kansas City (NWSL); Quinn, OL Reign (NWSL); Sophie Schmidt, Houston Dash (NWSL); Desiree Scott, Kansas City (NWSL); x-Nikayla Small, Wake Forest University (NCAA).

Forwards: Janine Beckie, Manchester City (England); Adriana Leon, West Ham (England); Nichelle Prince, Houston Dash (NWSL); Deanne Rose, University of Florida (NWSL); Christine Sinclair (capt.), Portland Thorns (NWSL); Evelyne Viens, NJ/NY Gotham FC NWSL); Jordyn Huitema, Paris Saint-Germain (France); x-Marie Levasseur, Fleury FC (France).


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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 12, 2021

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press