Vanessa Gilles runs after the soccer ball while chased by Alex Morgan

Vanessa Gilles

Team Canada Medal Count

Gold medal icon 1
Silver medal icon 0
Bronze medal icon 0


Vanessa Gilles made her Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 where she helped Canada win the gold medal. Gilles played full time in Canada’s last four matches, including extra time in the quarterfinal and final. She scored the winning goal in the penalty shootout against Brazil in the quarterfinal.

Gilles made her FIFA Women’s World Cup debut in 2023, playing every minute of Canada’s group stage games. Later in the year, she was a member of the team that defeated Jamaica in the Concacaf Olympic Playoff to secure their spot at Paris 2024. In 2024 she was part of the Canadian team that reached the semifinals of the inaugural Concacaf Gold Cup. 

Gilles made her first appearance with the Canadian National Team in 2019 in a friendly against Switzerland before making her competitive debut at the Yongchuan International Tournament. She scored her first international goal in a 1-0 win over Germany in February 2022. Later that year, she helped Canada to a second-place finish at the 2022 Concacaf Championships. 

Gilles played on the SheBelieves Cup teams in 2021, 2023, and 2024, which were highlighted by a runner-up finish at the latter. 

Gilles began her international career as a member of the French U23 team in a 2018 friendly against Belgium. Her father was born in Paris, which made her eligible to represent France, but since she had not played with the French senior team, she was still able to switch her allegiance to Canada. 

Gilles played collegiately for the University of Cincinnati, where she started every game for the Bearcats over her four years. As a freshman she was named to the AAC All-Rookie team. Her sophomore year she was named the AAC tournament Most Outstanding Defensive Player and selected to the AAC Second Team. She was the AAC Co-Defensive Player of the Year and a First-Team All-Conference selection her senior year in 2017.

She turned pro in 2017, joining Apollon FC of the Cypriot First Division where she scored 10 goals in 14 games and won the 2018 Cypriot Cup. She joined French D1 club Bordeaux for the 2018-10 season. They finished as high as third in league standings in 2020 and 2021, qualifying for the Champions League with the latter result. Gilles spent the 2022 season with Angel City FC in the NWSL. She returned to France in 2023 with Lyon and won the treble (French League, Cup and Super Cup) and made the Champions League semifinals in 2024. 

A Little More About Vanessa

Getting into the Sport: Started playing soccer shortly after she quit competitive tennis at age 16… Was originally a goalkeeper but didn’t have the focus and patience for the position… Drawn to soccer because she loved the sense of sacrificing for your teammates… Has wanted to represent Canada since watching the Women’s National Team compete at the 2015 FIFA World Cup on home soil… Represented Team Ontario at the 2013 Canada Summer Games, anchoring the backline to four clean sheets in five games and the bronze medal… Outside Interests: Graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2018 with a degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in IT… Enjoys reading, trying new vegan recipes and exploring different markets… Taking weekly Spanish classes… Odds and Ends: Favourite motto: “Hard work beats talent”… Always puts her equipment on from right to left… In March 2019, Gilles spoke at the United Nations as part of the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women… Lived in Shanghai for the first 12 years of her life… In 2021 the ‘Vanessa Gilles Park’ was opened in the Gloucester neighbourhood of her hometown of Ottawa. 

Olympic Highlights

Games Sport Event Finish
Tokyo 2020Football (Soccer)WomenGold

Notable International Results

Olympic Games: 2020 – GOLD

FIFA World Cup: 2023 – Group Stage

CONCACAF Gold Cup: 2024 - SF

CONCACAF Championships: 2022 - SILVER