Women’s soccer team selected to shoot for Rio 2016

UPDATE (February 10): Matches will be streamed via CBC Sports

Canada Soccer selected 20 players to vie for Rio 2016 at the regional (CONCACAF) Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championships in Houston, Texas.

The women’s soccer team will look to clinch its third straight Olympic football berth. The top two teams in the tournament will secure a spot at Rio 2016, however this year the squad will look to win it all after finishing second at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 qualifiers.

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London 2012 - Women's football squad

London 2012 bronze-medal winning Canadian women’s football squad

The star-studded squad will be led by captain and Olympian Christine Sinclair. The lineup features six additional members of Canada’s bronze medal team from London 2012: Erin McLeod, Rhian Wilkinson, Diana Matheson, Sophie Schmidt, Desiree Scott and Melissa Tancredi.

View the complete women’s roster

Since London, Canada’s women program has added a variety of impressive players to its roster. Many of these athletes played alongside Olympic veterans at the Women’s World Cup, while others led the battle against top American teams at the Pan Am Games. The latter tournament was used largely as a trial for many newcomers, with regulars resting or returning to U.S. universities following the World Cup.

Canada’s is a team in transition, and nowhere is that more evident than in the emergence of defender Kadeisha Buchanan, 20, as a leader. Buchanan won the FIFA Women’s World Cup Young Player Award, and then the Canadian player of the year accolades ahead of 11-time recipient Sinclair.

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Kadeisha Buchanan holds up the best young player award from 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Kadeisha Buchanan holds up the best young player award from 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The increasingly youthful turn for Canada also includes 20-year-old midfielders Ashley Lawrence and forward Nichelle Prince. Half of the 20 players selected by head coach John Herdman are 23 years old or younger, including three teenagers.

“I’m super excited for qualifiers,” Prince told Olympic.ca on Tuesday. “I can’t wait to start playing for this team and help take it to Rio.”

“We’re going in not only to qualify, but the mindset is to win the tournament,” Buchanan added. “With that said, we have a lot of work to get to the final.”


Lawrence, who scored a World Cup goal last summer for Canada, said it was “a huge honour” to get a chance at taking Canada back to the Olympic stage. “It’s my first Olympic (qualifications), I’m really looking forward to the experience.”

Canada is ranked 11th in the world, which is highest in Pool B ahead of Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Guatemala. The Canadians’ shot at Rio 2016 will begin on February 11, as they face Guyana in the first match.

UPDATE (February 10): Matches will be streamed via CBC Sports