To promote women’s soccer in Canada, Christine Sinclair is the go-to spokesperson, the poster child for the game in this country.
But, if there’s a positive to come out of the first two games of the Natal Tournament in Brazil, it’s that we may, finally, have other scoring options to talk about. Sure, Sinclair scoring three times over the course of wins over Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago got the headlines. She’s moved into second all-time on the women’s international football scoring charts. But, for too long, Canada has had little to offer in terms of secondary scoring. And, as Sinclair ages, we can’t just worry about who is going to support her; we need to find out if there’s actually an heir apparent out there.
And that’s why, two-thirds through the tourney, Canadian national women’s team coach John Herdman is enthused by what he’s seen from the younger players he’s brought into the fold. Janine Beckie, the NCAA scoring terror who was left off the World Cup squad, has scored. Nichelle Prince has bagged a couple. Teenager Marie Levasseur has been an offensive catalyst.
Herdman said the goal for Natal was “to bring in new faces, to give them opportunities while maintaining that mindset — winning football matches. I think the team has stayed on course for that. We’ve been able to give debuts to very young players. Everyone’s either had a start or come into a game.
“We’ve seen new faces scoring goals and consistent faces scoring goals. The chemistry’s starting to build, it’s not perfect for sure, but there’s been some flashes that certainly got us excited internally as a team and we can definitely see there’s more to come.”
At the Women’s World Cup, no other scoring options than Sinclair appeared, and even Herdman allowed after the tournament that the Canadian attack was “predictable.” Before Natal, he said the young ”mavericks” being brought into the fold would add more spontaneity to the side.
So, to see other names on the scoresheet — and not just one or two goals over the course of a tournament either — is actually more exciting than seeing Sinclair pull into second place on that all-time scoring list.
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