CanWNT FW Evelyne Viens signs for AS Roma on 3 year deal; what to expect at new club?
There’s another Canadian to keep an eye out for in Italy, as CanWNT forward Evelyne Viens signed for Serie A side AS Roma on Friday, joining Julia Grosso as CanWNT members playing in the league.
Signing on a three-year deal through June of 2026, it’s a big move for Viens, who is coming off a productive year-and-a-half stint in Sweden with Kristianstads.
Having lit up the Swedish league over her stint with the club, scoring 38 goals in 53 games across all competitions, it felt like a matter of time until a move materialized, and that became a reality on Friday.
Now, it’ll be a huge chance for Viens to prove why she’s one of Canada’s most exciting attacking options, one that they should really lean on ahead of the next Olympic and World Cup cycle.
Following a heartbreaking World Cup elimination, one where they only scored two goals across three games, failing to exit the group stages, it’s clear that this team needs more offence up front, and it’s felt that Viens can provide that.
And if she can find form with her new club, that notion will only continue to grow. Given that Roma is coming off a season where they won Serie A, finished as finalists in the Coppa D’Italia and made the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League, this club will provide a strong platform for Viens to showcase her skills going forward.
With that in mind, here’s a deeper look at what to expect from her in this move.
Chance to prove herself at big club:
To begin, it’s worth noting that this move is a nice step up for Viens, certainly in terms of club level.
Without a doubt, Kristianstads has been a good side - they finished fourth in the 2022 Damallsvenskan, and currently sit sixth in this year’s table. Not only that, but they made it to the semi-finals of the most recent cup, too, and nearly made the UEFA Champions League stages last fall, falling just short in qualifiers.
Given that Sweden and Italy aren’t actually that far off in the UEFA League coefficients - Italy sits fifth, Sweden sits sixth, that means that Viens’ move isn’t as big of a step up on paper, either.
At the same time, there are two factors that show that isn’t necessarily fully true, and that’s why this transfer is so exciting from Viens’ perspective.
First, it’s the move to a top club like Roma.
While Kristianstads are undoubtedly one of the best sides in Sweden, they’re also not quite a giant in the country. In fact, they’ve never finished higher than third in the league, and have never won the Swedish Cup, with their best showing being a pair of runner-up medals.
You compare that to Roma’s success, as they won a Coppa Italia in 2020-2021, won their first Serie A this year, and it’s clear that they’ve quickly emerged as one of the top teams in Serie A.
Despite being founded in 2018, 20 years after Kristianstads (1998), Roma has been quickly investing in its program, and have recently started to show the fruits of their efforts.
And that leads to the other point - the level of Serie A. Undoubtedly, the Damallsvenskan has been a better league historically, having been one of the top leagues in Europe following its inception in 1988.
Having produced two Champions League winners (Umeå won it twice in 2002-2003 and 2003-2004), while constantly sending teams deep into that competition, the Damallsvenskan has stood as a key pillar in the European game.
Recently, however, the landscape around them is changing. After years of neglecting the development of their leagues, a lot of top European giants have really stepped up their investment lately, changing the landscape.
Italy’s been one of those countries, as while they’ve actually had a top-flight league longer than Sweden (Serie A was founded in 1968), they’ve only really stepped up investment over the last few years.
It began in 2018 when the Italian Football Federation took over operations, and has grown significantly since, especially since last year, when the league became fully professional, and the creation of clubs such as Roma is a big reason why.
Because of that, Serie A’s actually shot up the coefficient ratings, going from 10th in 2020-2021 to their current 5th place ranking, as their teams have improved their standing in Europe off the back of that financial backing.
As a result, more and more top stars are making the move to join clubs in the league, where the level will only continue to grow. Yet, that explains why Viens’ transfer is so exciting, as not only is she joining a top club, but is getting the chance to showcase herself in a rapidly growing league, which is key.
What to expect at Roma?
Plus, as mentioned earlier, it only helps Viens’ case that she heads to Serie A in the midst of some excellent form at the club level for Kristianstads.
After scoring 21 goals in 31 games in all competitions last year, she’s already scored 16 goals in 22 games this season, including 12 goals in Damallsvenskan play, good enough for second in the Golden Boot race (she also finished second in last year’s race).
But that’s just a glimpse of the dominance she’s had in Sweden.
For example, if you look at only her Damallsvenskan totals, where she’s scored 32 goals, the numbers stand out.
Not only is she scoring an average of 0.73 goals per 90 minutes, but she’s also been full value for those goals, too, averaging 0.7 Expected Goals (xG) per 90, meaning that she’s not been reliant on luck or anything of the sort. In particular, that’s especially impressive given that she doesn’t take penalties for Kristianstads, meaning that this is all from non-penalty situations, too.
Along with 0.26 assists on 0.24 Expected Assists (xA), she’s also been dangerous chance creation, as well, which is positive for a striker given her high scoring rates.
Yet, a big reason for her success in those areas? Her ability to create shots, as she’s averaging 4.23 shots per 90, a strong rate for a striker. You add that she’s averaging 1.3 key passes per 90, and it shows that she’s been directly involved in a lot of attacks for Kristianstads, which is nice to see from a forward.
She might not be a back-to-goal striker, as she struggles aerially (only winning 44.5% of those duels), but she does a great job of finding space between lines, and then making runs in behind defenders.
Therefore, if Roma can find a way to give her the freedom to operate in that sort of role, she should find success leading the line for them.
Given that they spent most of their time split between a 4-2-3-1 and a 3-5-2 last year, Viens should fit up front in either of those systems as a lone striker or in a partnership. There will be competition up front, as Roma's leading Serie A scorer Valentina Giacinti remains up front, as does Sophie Haug, but that could mean that a two-striker formation ends up being the preferred set-up to integrate Viens into that group.
Of course, there will be a big question in terms of seeing how she adjusts to this level, given how Serie A is growing, but the good news is that Viens should also be used to that.
Having gone on loan to Paris FC in D1Arkema back in 2020-2021, she thrived there, scoring 11 goals in 14 games. Given that D1AArkema has constantly been viewed as one of the best leagues in Europe (in large part to the success of Lyon), that’s no small feat.
So between that and her success in Sweden, there’s no doubt that Viens can score at this level if given the opportunities, which is what Roma will be banking on this season and beyond.
What could her Canada future look like?
Now, the big thing to watch is Viens’ future with Canada, as this move will only help her stock there.
And that’s intriguing. Despite having only made 21 caps for Canada, she’s scored four goals, having done well to produce in limited minutes.
Yet, she’s struggled to carve out a regular starting role for Canada, as Bev Priestman has preferred different options up front.
Because of that, it’s left Viens’ in a strange spot with Canada, where she’s been mostly utilized as a substitute. She’s done well in that role, to her credit, but then when given the opportunity to start, she has either struggled or hasn’t gotten much of a chance to leave a mark, leaving her to return to more of a sub role.
With Canada’s struggle to score goals, however, it’s felt that Viens’ could be a big piece that could help change that. In that regard, her club resume only speaks for itself, as has her production for Canada despite limited minutes.
Of course, there’s the debate on if that was due to the level of her club, which likely played a part in that. But after this move, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Because of that, it feels like if Viens can hit the ground running for Roma, she could quickly become a regular starter up front for Canada. Given that she’s only going to be 30 by the time the next World Cup comes around (and 27 by next summer’s Olympics), she’s still got a lot of good seasons ahead of her for club and country.
And if Canada can find a way to best utilize her before then, watch out, as she can be hard to stop when in form, as defenders in Sweden have learned over the last year and a half, something she’ll now look to prove to defenders in Italy now too.