Christine Sinclair is a name that everyone in the sport knows. The top international goal scorer of all time in women’s football, or football overall. Sinclair has accumulated 190 goals to her name since her debut in 2000. Sinclair leads the next generation of Canadian women’s football into possibly her final World Cup for the nation.
However, there are some questions marks about the next generation she leads. Jordyn Huitema, for example, has been touted as the next Sinclair for years now but still has only collected 16 goals in 64 appearances for the Canadians. Massive footsteps to follow, nonetheless, there are question marks about who will lead this next generation.
Despite lacking success on football’s biggest stage, these Canadians have shown their hunger and taken out the world’s best teams in recent years. Most notably, the Reds won the 2020 Olympics after an undefeated campaign with wins over the star-studded Americans, Sweden, and Brazil.
The big question is whether this success can continue to the World Cup in Australia. The Canadians were in red-hot form in 2022 but have only managed to achieve one victory in their last five matches heading into the big tournament. Not to mention, their biggest key to success, goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé, is now retired. Labbé even earned the nickname “National Minister of Defence” from her spectacular performance in Tokyo, and was briefly given that job title on Wikipedia.
Another notable absence is midfielder/forward Janine Beckie, ruled out with a knee injury. Beckie is in the prime of her career and was another major factor for Canada’s triumph in Tokyo.
Here is what Canada’s roster looks like in Australia:
Goalkeepers: Sabrina D’Angelo (Arsenal), Lysianne Proulx, (SCU Torreense), Kailen Sheridan (San Diego Wave)
Defenders: Kadeisha Buchanan (Chelsea), Gabrielle Carle (Washington Spirit), Allysha Chapman (Houston Dash), Vanessa Gilles (Olympique Lyonnais), Ashley Lawrence (Chelsea), Jayde Riviere (Manchester United), Shelina Zadorsky (Tottenham Hotspur)
Midfielders/Forwards: Christine Sinclair (capt.) (Portland Thorns), Olivia Smith (Penn State)
Forwards: Jordyn Huitema (OL Reign), Cloé Lacasse (Arsenal), Adriana Leon (Manchester United), Nichelle Prince (Houston Dash), Deanne Rose (Reading), Evelyne Viens (Kristianstads DFF)
It seems like Canada Soccer in general has lost some steam, with major negative headlines and criticisms of the organization’s operations as well as Canada’s poor performance at the Men’s World Cup in Qatar last year. Whatever momentum the nation had been collecting over the last few years, has hit a bit of a roadblock.
Despite the negative viewpoints, there is no shortage of quality in this team and anything can happen. The Canadians might play off the underdog role as the 10th-best odds to win the tournament could be a motivation. Will lightning strike twice for the Canadians?