Clarissa Larisey vs. Ashley Lawrence, anyone?
We now know who the Canadian women’s national team stars in the UEFA Women’s Champions League will play in the group stage.
Seven CanWNT stars will be involved in the 2023-24 UWCL group stage. Chelsea, who reached the semi-finals last season as well as winning another domestic double, have three of those players: Jessie Fleming, Kadeisha Buchanan, and Lawrence.
Then, there’s Evelyne Viens and Marie-Yasmine Alidou, goalscoring sensations so far this season for AS Roma and Benfica, respectively. Viens and Alidou each scored multiple goals (Alidou netting four times and Viens twice) in their team’s lopsided qualifying round wins and will hope to continue that fine form against what will inevitably be much stronger opposition.
Finally, Vanessa Gilles and Lyon are also there, as is Larisey of Swedish side Häcken.
There could and perhaps should be many more.
Chelsea’s English Women’s Super League rivals Arsenal have another two Canadians, forward Cloé Lacasse and backup goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo, but last season’s semi-finalists were one of two teams along with 2022-23 runners-up Wolfsburg to be stunned by French side Paris FC, losing on penalties after a 3-3 aggregate draw in the first of two qualifying rounds.
Julia Grosso’s Juventus also fell in that early stage, losing on penalties to Eintracht Frankfurt, while Jayde Riviere’s Manchester United were beaten in the second round of qualifying by Paris Saint-Germain.
Related read: UWCL without CanWNT stars, Grosso’s Juventus & Lacasse’s Arsenal knocked out of Women’s Champions League
For the septet who have made it to the tournament proper, they found out their opponents on Friday as the group stage draw was held.
And it threw up a Canadian vs. Canadian clash as Larisey’s Häcken were drawn into Chelsea’s group, along with Real Madrid and this year’s surprise package so far Paris.
Alidou’s Benfica and Viens’ Roma both have tough tasks ahead.
The Lisbon side will face reigning champions Barcelona, Rosengard, and Frankfurt, while the Italian club, who were quarter-finalists last season, will have to take on Bayern Munich, PSG, and Ajax.
Finally, Gilles and Lyon, another 2022-23 quarter-finalist, drew Slavia Prague, St. Polten, and SK Brann.
Here is the 2023-24 UWCL group stage draw in full.
The group stage will begin on November 14-15 and end on January 30-31. Matches will be broadcast in Canada on DAZN.