The Canadian women’s national team’s return to competitive action is just two weeks away and on Wednesday, head coach Bev Priestman named her final roster for the CONCACAF W Gold Cup.
Cut down sizably to 23 players from the initial group of 35 named in the provisional squad 12 days ago, one of the most notable omissions is attacking midfielder Marie-Yasmine Alidou, who has scored 20 goals in 28 games so far in her debut Benfica season.
Related read: Marie-Yasmine Alidou’s transition to attacker at Benfica sees her left off Bev Priestman’s W Gold Cup CanWNT squad
Obviously, Christine Sinclair is not there, with this being the first roster announcement since the 40-year-old Canadian icon retired from national team duty.
Neither is fellow veteran Janine Beckie. Beckie had been named to the preliminary roster, her first time in the CanWNT squad since she suffered her devastating ACL injury last March. After returning to training on turf in September, Beckie rejoined the CanWNT group in an unofficial capacity in the lead-up to the two-legged Olympic qualifier against Jamaica that month.
However, she has not been deemed fit enough to go to the tournament and is one of 12 names cut, alongside Alidou. Neither has fit-again veteran Desiree Scott despite recently signing a new contract with the Kansas City Current, although the midfielder will take part in the pre-camp roster.
Elsewhere on the roster, there weren’t many surprises.
The usual suspects are there — minus the retired Sinclair and Sophie Schmidt, the injured Beckie, and the pregnant Allysha Chapman — as Sinclair and Beckie’s new Portland Thorns teammate Jessie Fleming heads for Canada duty for the first time since leaving Chelsea.
Meanwhile, Roma striker Evelyne Viens and Sporting Lisbon scoring sensation Olivia Smith are both rewarded for continuing to set Europe alight. In their respective debut seasons for their clubs, Viens has netted 10 goals, while Smith has seven goals and six assists in her last eight Sporting games in her first season as a full-time pro.
Forwards Clarissa Larisey and Deanne Rose have both been recalled after solid starts to the season for BK Häcken and Leicester City, respectively.
Other invitees to the preliminary roster who have been cut include talented Vancouver youngster Jeneva Hernandez-Gray and new Bristol City signing Sarah Stratigakis.
Canada open their W Gold Cup campaign in just over two weeks’ time, on February 22 against an opponent that won’t be decided until the preliminary rounds are complete on February 17.
It will be Canada’s first competitive action since Priestman was rewarded for CanWNT’s post-World Cup resurgence in form with a new long-term contract last month.
Related read: Hewitt: Why Bev Priestman is the right choice for Canada as CanWNT head into massive 2024
“It’s great to kick off an exciting year with some meaningful competition,” said Priestman.
“Just like the Olympics, the Gold Cup offers great challenges that serve to test us as a team, including managing quick turnaround and travel. Added to that, this window will also require us to manage players in and out of season to get through a tournament setting. We hope to build on the strong performances from the back end of 2023 as well as move towards where we hope to be by July, both in terms of squad selection and what we look like on the pitch. We can’t wait to get going.”
The group will hold a pre-tournament camp from February 12-18 for out-of-season players, mainly North American-based.
Full Canada roster for CONCACAF W Gold Cup
GK – Sabrina D’Angelo | ENG / Arsenal FC
GK – Lysianne Proulx | AUS / Melbourne City FC
GK – Kailen Sheridan | USA / San Diego Wave FC
D – Kadeisha Buchanan | ENG / Chelsea FC
D – Vanessa Gilles | FRA / FCF Olympique Lyonnais
D – Jade Rose | USA / Harvard University
D – Shelina Zadorsky | ENG / West Ham United FC
D – Sydney Collins | USA / NC Courage
D – Gabrielle Carle | USA / Washington Spirit
D – Ashley Lawrence | ENG / Chelsea FC
D – Jayde Riviere | ENG / Manchester United FC
M – Simi Awujo | USA / University of Southern California
M – Jessie Fleming | USA / Portland Thorns
M – Julia Grosso | ITA / Juventus FC
M – Quinn | USA / Seattle Reign FC
M/F – Olivia Smith | POR / Sporting CP
F – Jordyn Huitema | USA / Seattle Reign FC
F – Cloé Lacasse | ENG / Arsenal FC
F – Clarissa Larisey | SWE / BK Häcken FF
F – Adriana Leon | ENG / Aston Villa FC
F – Nichelle Prince | USA / Kansas City Current
F – Deanne Rose | ENG / Leicester City FC
F – Evelyne Viens | ITA / AS Roma