Fresh off Olympic bronze, CanWNT eager to find next crop of young stars

Canada women's national team celebration - bronze medal - 2016 Olympics

With another Olympic bronze medal in their collection, the Canadian women’s national team are now looking ahead to a rather promising future.

Head coach John Herdman’s side enjoyed success at Rio 2016 with a core of youngsters that included striker Janine Beckie (age 21), midfielder/fullback Ashley Lawrence (21), center back Kadeisha Buchanan (20), midfielder Jessie Fleming (18) and striker Deanne Rose (17).
It’s expected that Canadian fans will get a chance to celebrate the team’s achievement with some friendlies at home in the not-too-distant future, though the details are yet to be confirmed.

What is confirmed, however, is that Canada will take part in both the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup and the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup later this year.

First up is the U-17 World Cup, being played in Jordan from 1852377857" style="line-height: 1.6em;" tabindex="0">Sept. 30 to Oct. 21. Canada are in Group B with Germany, Venezuela and Cameroon, needing a second-place finish to reach the quarterfinals of the 16-team competition.

Rose is the only Olympian who is age-eligible for the tournament, though the team will likely also feature defender Kennedy Faulknor (who made four senior-team appearances in 2015), midfielder Sarah Stratigakis (who played at last summer’s Pan American Games) and striker Jordyn Huitema (who led Canada with eight goals at the CONCACAF Girls Under-15 Championship earlier this month).

The U-20 World Cup is in Papua New Guinea from 1852377858" style="line-height: 1.6em;" tabindex="0">Nov. 13 to Dec. 3, with Canada in Group B alongside Japan, Spain and Nigeria. Like the U17 World Cup, it’s a 16-team competition in which the top two teams in each group reach the knockout stage.

Rose, Fleming and striker Gabrielle Carle – who was an alternate on Canada’s Olympic team – are age-eligible for this tournament.

Other notable names who could be on the squad include fullback Sura Yekka (who has 13 senior-team caps), midfielder Sarah Kinzner (who played at the 2015 Pan American Games) and midfielder Anyssa Ibrahim, a 17-year-old with loads of youth-team experience.
Players who excel for Canada in either of these tournaments could find themselves part of Herdman’s side sooner rather than later, if recent history is any guide.

Six players who represented Canada at the 2014 U-20 Women’s World Cup – Buchanan, Lawrence, Fleming, Beckie, Rebecca Quinn and Nichelle Prince – ended up playing for Canada at the 2016 Olympic Games.

And with Herdman under contract to manage Canada through the 2019 Women’s World Cup and 2020 Olympics, there’s no doubt he’ll also be keeping a very close eye on these competitions.