Home Women's Soccer NWSL Herdman: Tough times ahead for women’s soccer in Canada

Herdman: Tough times ahead for women’s soccer in Canada

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It’s reality-check time for women’s soccer in Canada.

Fresh off a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics and the news that the Canadian Soccer Association will fund 16 slots in a new American women’s pro league, it would be easy for followers of the women’s national team to be giddy about the future.

But women’s national-team coach John Herdman isn’t so sure. Instead or rosy prognostications about women’s soccer in Canada, he said it’s time for us to lower our expectations, as time has come for the program to take a few lumps.

“We’re going to take a couple of steps back before we go forward again,” said Herdman.

Herdman announced a youthful roster for a Canadian women’s camp that will be held in Vancouver that begins Dec. 12 and goes till the 20th. Herdman left off any senior players who had college or pro soccer commitments after the Olympics. And, with that room,, he’s called up five members of Canada’s U-20 squad and four more who were part of the U-17 team this year — Kadeisha Buchanan, Summer Clarke, Nichelle Prince and Ashley Lawrence.

But it’s not a move he’s entirely comfortable to make. Instead of being buoyed by the Olympic win, Herdman sees a cloudy future. By the time Canada hosts the Women’s World Cup, the core of the bronze-medal team will all be thirtysomethings. And he said there’s a significant gap when it comes to players who are 22-25 years of age in this country. There’s a dearth of talent.

“The conveyor belt is not operating properly,” he said in a Tuesday conference call with media. “We need to fix that conveyor belt.”

That is, there isn’t a steady stream of talent coming through the system. It’s coming in stops and starts. So, to make up for the lack of elite players in their early 20s, Herdman has to go to the U-20s and U-17s and give them their baptisms of fire. And, as he works in these players, he said Canadians shouldn’t have high hopes for friendlies and tournaments ahead of 2015. The key is to get this group ready for the World Cup.

“Our system needs to be revised,” said Herdman.

And he admitted that a team can absorb the introduction of a “couple of these (youth)” players” but added that he doesn’t think any team could sustain an introduction of as many youth players as he’ll be inviting to camp. That’s what makes this project just a little bit scary for the program. Yes, come January, many other senior players will be back in the fold. But, with that gap in talent will come a time when Herdman will have to make a dramatic changeover in the squad.

Booth, Melanie | 1984 | Burlington, ON, CAN | Burlington Youth SC
Buchanan, Kadeisha | 1995 | Mississauga, ON, CAN | Brams United SC
Cameron, Tiffany | 1991 | Mississauga, ON, CAN | North Mississauga
Clarke, Summer | 1995 | Richmond, BC, CAN | Richmond Girls SA
D’Angelo, Sabrina | 1993 | Welland, ON, CAN | Welland Wizards
Kyle, Kaylyn | 1988 | Saskatoon, SK, CAN | Silverwood Rangers
Lagonia, Alyssa | 1989 | Kitchener, ON, CAN | Kitchener Minor SA
Lawrence, Ashley | 1995 | Calendon East, ON, CAN | Brams United SC
LeBlanc, Karina | 1980 | Maple Ridge, BC, CAN | Golden Ears Angels
Leon, Adriana | 1992 | Maple, ON, CAN | Vaughan Azzuri
McCalla, Brooke | 1987 | Pickering, ON, CAN | Pickering
McCarthy, Bryanna | 1991 | Ajax, ON, CAN | Ajax Warriors
McLeod, Erin | 1983 | Edmonton & Calgary, AB, CAN | St. Albert
Moscato, Carmelina | 1984 | Mississauga, ON, CAN | Dixie SC
Mottershead, Alyscha | 1991 | Brampton, ON, CAN | Brams United Girls SC
Oduro, Christabel | 1992 | Brampton, ON, CAN | Brampton United Flames
Prince, Nichelle | 1995 | Ajax, ON, CAN | Ajax SC
Richardson, Jenna | 1992 | Vancouver, BC, CAN | Semiahmoo
Robinson, Jodi-Ann | 1989 | Richmond, BC, CAN | Richmond SC
Schmidt, Sophie | 1988 | Abbotsford, BC, CAN | Abbotsford
Scott, Desiree | 1987 | Winnipeg, MB, CAN | Maples Cougars
Sesselmann, Lauren | 1983 | Green Bay, WI, USA | St. Bernard Elementary School
Sinclair, Christine | 1983 | Burnaby, BC, CAN | South Burnaby Metro Club Bees
Tancredi, Melissa | 1981 | Ancaster, ON, CAN | Ancaster
Timko, Brittany | 1985 | Coquitlam, BC, CAN | Coquitlam City Panthers
Zadorsky, Shelina | 1992 | London, ON, CAN | Kitchener
Zurrer, Emily | 1987 | Crofton, BC, CAN | Cowichan Valley

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