Canadian women's Olympic soccer team loaded with veterans who won gold in Tokyo

The Canadian women’s soccer team’s roster for the Paris Olympics includes 13 players from the team that won the gold medal at the Tokyo Games.

Coach Bev Priestman selected three players who have struggled recently with injuries, Seattle Reign midfielder Quinn, Kansas City Current forward Nichelle Prince and North Carolina Courage defender Sydney Collins.

Left off the 18-player roster was Desiree Scott, a defender who won the gold medal in Tokyo and bronze medals at the London and Brazil Olympics.

“In many ways Desi was a really difficult conversation, decision. I felt we didn’t need the cover in the midfield position, and that’s ultimately what it came down to,” Priestman said on a conference call with reporters. “But if I had that luxury, absolutely.”

Olympic rosters are smaller than the 23-player rosters for other international tournaments, like the Women’s World Cup, making the decisions tougher.

“I think it’s very different to the World Cup for me personally,” Priestman said. “I think reflections on the World Cup come down to did I pick the right starting 11, did we play the right system to get the best out of the players I had in front of me? … I think what we’ve been seeing and feeling is that this system, with certain profiles on the pitch at the right time, we’ve seen that the blend is really good and there’s some key attributes to that.”

Another veteran defender, Allysha Chapman, gave birth to a son in February and was not named to the roster.

The Olympics will be Canada’s first major tournament without Christine Sinclair, international soccer’s all-time leading scorer with 190 career goals, who retired from the national team late last year. Jessie Fleming has since taken over as Canada’s captain.

Priestman also named four alternates for the team: Goalkeeper Lysianne Proulx, defenders Gabrielle Carle and Shelina Zadorsky, and forward Deanne Rose.

The team will head to Spain for training camp before the Olympics and will play a pair of friendly matches there.

Canada opens Group A play in Saint-Etienne against New Zealand on July 25 before facing France on July 28, then travels to Nice for Colombia on July 31.

Canada’s Olympic roster, by position with club or college affiliation:

Goalkeepers: Sabrina D’Angelo (Arsenal), Kailen Sheridan (San Diego Wave).

Defenders: Kadeisha Buchanan (Chelsea) , Sydney Collins (North Carolina Courage), Vanessa Gilles (Olympique Lyonnais), Ashley Lawrence (Chelsea), Jayde Riviere (Manchester United), Jade Rose (Harvard).

Midfielders: Simi Awujo (USC), Jessie Fleming (Portland Thorns), Julia Grosso (unattached), Quinn (Seattle Reign).

Forwards: Janine Beckie (Portland Thorns), Jordyn Huitema (Seattle Reign), Cloé Lacasse (Arsenal), Adriana Leon (Aston Villa), Nichelle Prince (Houston Dash), Evelyne Viens (AS Roma).


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