Defenders Kadeisha Buchanan and Shelina Zadorsky, plus midfielders/forwards Tiffany Cameron, Ashley Lawrence, Adriana Leon, Christabel Oduro and Nichelle Prince were named to coach John Herdman’s roster. None of them have yet appeared in a senior match for Canada.
Canada will head to China and face the hosts Jan. 12, South Korea Jan. 14 and Norway on Jan. 16.
Late last year, Herdman warned that the national program would take some steps back after its bronze-medal finish at the Olympics, as there was a dearth of twentysomething talent in the country and he’d have to dip down to the U-20 and even the U-17 ranks for players. He is now focused on getting those young players worked into the system, and is expecting growing pains along the way.
“It’s a young group, it’s the start of a new journey,” Herdman said in a media conference call on Friday.
“We’ll get the right people on the bus for the new part of our journey.”
And, Herdman made it clear that winning this tournament would be nice, but it isn’t the be all and end all. He wants to put the young players in a competitive environment, and he understands that mistakes will be made.
“To achieve winning, sometimes you have to forget about winning,” he said.
What does that mean? Allowing the team to learn from its mistakes in 2013 will make the core group stronger by the time the Women’s World Cup comes to Canada in 2015.
“In 2015, those mistakes won’t be tolerated anymore… But we can’t think about winning; we’ve got to think about other things in the process right now.”
Canada beat China at the end of May last season in Moncton, thanks to last-gasp goal from Christine Sinclair. Canada’s all-time leading scorer is on the roster for the tournament, but will begin serving her four-match suspension. The ban was levied by FIFA for her outburst to the media after Canada’s 4-3 loss to the United States in an Olympic semifinal, in which she openly criticized referee Christina Pedersen.
Even though she can’t play, Sinclair told Herdman she wanted to go on the trip.
“I didn’t really have an option, Christine wanted to be there,” said Herdman. “She’s stamping her mark on the culture and investing in these young players.”
And, Sinclair wants to adjust as Herdman continues to refine his tactics. He still wants far more possession out of this team, and he wants Canada to develop a wide attack. Right now, Canada’s game is very narrow, a tactical “Christmas tree” as Herdman described it. Canada needs more from the flanks. It needs more crosses. Right now, attacks go up through the middle, and it’s all a bit predictable. What he wants to do is develop a great outside player like the Americans have in Megan Rapinoe or the French have in Elodie Thomis.
“There still are some major gaps in our tactical approach,” said Herdman.
But the Canadians will still need to be ready for some physical, long-ball games. When the women face Norway, they’ll see a team coached by Even Pellerud, who used to run the Canadian program, and was known for his direct approach which demanded more brawn than beauty. It promises to be the most fascinating match of the tourney.
?GK- Karina LeBlanc |
GK- Erin McLeod | SWE / Dalsjofors G.o.I.F.
CB- Kadeisha Buchanan | CAN / Erin Mills Mighty Eagles U-16
CB- Shelina Zadorsky | CAN / Toronto Lady Lynx
CB- Emily Zurrer | SWE / Dalsjöfors G.o.I.F.
FB- Robyn Gayle |
FB- Bryanna McCarthy | USA / University of West Virginia
FB- Lauren Sesselmann |
FB- Rhian Wilkinson | NOR / Lillestrøm SK Kvinner
M- Kaylyn Kyle |
M- Ashley Lawrence | CAN / Erin Mills Mighty Eagles
M- Diana Matheson | NOR / Lillestrøm SK Kvinner
M- Christabel Oduro | CAN / Hamilton FC
M- Sophie Schmidt | SWE / Kristianstads DFF
M- Desiree Scott | CAN / WSA North Stars
M- Chelsea Stewart | USA / UCLA
F- Tiffany Cameron | USA / Ohio State University
F- Adriana Leon | USA / University of Florida
F- Nichelle Prince | CAN / Pickering SC
F- Jodi-Ann Robinson |
F- Christine Sinclair |