Projecting the CanWNT's final 2023 World Cup squad
Having had their final official audition, the tough decisions begin now for the Canadian Women’s National Team.
Just over three months out from their opening match of the 2023 World Cup against Nigeria on July 20th, Canada must now turn their attention towards naming their final squad, which they’ll likely do sometime either at the end of June or at the beginning of July.
Of course, a lot can change between now and then, so it’ll be a few busy months for head coach Bev Priestman and her staff, as she makes some final decisions on players, but now, she won’t have any more chances to get everyone into the same environment before making such a decision.
She’ll do her best to get a look at a few more players, stating that her plan is to have some sort of camp before naming a final team, but that team will likely be missing some in-season players in both the NWSL and some European leagues.
Because of that, it makes this most recent camp, where Canada lost 2-1 to France, so important. Even if they were missing several regulars due to injury, it was the last chance to see as close to a full-strength roster as we’ll see before this World Cup squad was named, showing why it was so important for Canada.
Therefore, following this camp, here’s a way-too-early final squad projection based on where things stand at the moment for Canada.
A lot can change between now and June, of course, such as form, injuries and much more, but based on what we know now, here’s a look at who a likely 23-player squad could look like.
Kailen Sheridan, Sabrina D’Angelo, Lysianne Proulx
One of the most straightforward spots on the roster, Canada can be very comfortable with their depth in goal, knowing that Kailen Sheridan is one of the best goalkeepers in the world with the San Diego Wave, while Sabrina D’Angelo is more than a capable replacement given her solid play whenever she’s been called upon for Arsenal and Canada.
From there, the only question is the third goalkeeper, but that looks to have been won by the 23-year-old Proulx, who has logged over 1000 minutes in the Portuguese top flight with Torrerense, conceding 26 goals on 27.46 xG. Considering she’s faced 84 shots, making 58 saves, those are some very good numbers for a first-year professional.
Therefore, unless Devon Kerr snatches a starting spot at the Houston Dash, it’s hard to imagine much changing for Priestman in goal, showing the confidence that she has in her shotstoppers.
On the bubble: Devon Kerr, Anna Karpenko
Kadeisha Buchanan, Vanessa Gilles, Shelina Zadorksy, Jade Rose
Meanwhile, at centre back, things are also similarly settled for Canada, as it is arguably their deepest position on the roster.
Leading the way in that regard is Kadeisha Buchanan, who remains one of the best centre backs in the world, currently pushing for a treble with Chelsea, as well as Vanessa Gilles, who has not looked out of place after a transfer to giants, Lyon. Whenever paired together, they’ve been very solid, and should maintain that at the World Cup.
After that, Zadorsky is also very much in the same group as the latter two, even if her minutes have dipped for Canada slightly, as she remains a key piece for Tottenham, whom she captains. She heads into the World Cup a bit short on minutes, as she recovers from illness, but she looks on track to make it back on time, and should be ready to be called upon.
Then, the big new face here is Jade Rose, who is just 20, but has made herself a lock for this squad with her strong play. No matter when she’s been called upon, be it at her natural centre back position or out at full back, the Harvard product has not looked out of place, showing why she’s going to be one to watch for Canada over the next decade.
As a result, this centre back group is quite settled, and for good reason, as all four names have a good claim to be starting, which is good news if Canada deals with any sort of injuries, suspensions or the other at the World Cup.
On the bubble: Sydney Collins
Ashley Lawrence, Jayde Riviere, Allysha Chapman
Over at full back, after a lot of questions heading into this camp, it feels like things cleared up a bit, making Priestman’s life a bit easier.
Of course, Ashley Lawrence is a lock given how good she’s been for PSG and Canada for the last five years, but after that, things were wide open before this window.
But with Jayde Riviere showing she’s fully recovered from a hip injury, looking very good against France, that should bump her to lock status, given how important she was for Canada before her injury. Given that she’s not even yet to even debut for Manchester United, which will surely change soon, that’s exciting to see.
Meanwhile, Allysha Chapman nabbed another start and looked quite solid versus France, which should be enough to make her a lock given that she’s also been a regular with the Dash so far this season.
At the same time, this discussion isn’t completely over, especially when it comes to Chapman. Gabrielle Carle and Bianca St-Georges are getting regular minutes in the NWSL, and have looked solid, so if Chapman slips up, Priestman could be tempted to slot one of those two in based on form.
Otherwise, Yekka and Levasseur are long shots to make this group, which is so small as Jade Rose is also full back cover in Priestman’s eyes, having successfully tried the youngster there earlier this year, just further boosting her case to be in this squad.
On the bubble: Gabrielle Carle, Bianca St-Georges, Sura Yekka, Marie Levasseur
Jessie Fleming, Julia Grosso, Quinn, Desiree Scott, Sophie Schmidt, Simi Awujo
In midfield, things are also relatively settled now, after there were many questions at the position heading into this camp.
Jessie Fleming and Julia Grosso lead the way, with Fleming continuing to be a key piece on a good Chelsea team, and the heartbeat of Canada’s midfield, while Grosso is continuing her breakout year for club and country, having become a huge part of Juventus's success this season.
Otherwise, Quinn and Desiree Scott may have missed this camp with injury, but their stocks still rose, making them locks. Quinn’s ability to defend and progress the ball was sorely missed, while Scott’s defensive awareness is also going to be leaned upon this World Cup.
After that, however, Sophie Schmidt looks to have done enough to earn a spot with a decent showing in the heart of midfield versus France. Given that she’s continued to be a regular for the Houston Dash, and is a key leader on this Canadian team, it’s hard to imagine her missing out.
Then, Awujo just further cemented her status as someone to watch going forward during this window.
Once again, Priestman turned to the 19-year-old for a cameo in this camp, giving her nearly 40 minutes off the bench, and she had a good defensive shift, winning 6/10 duels, making four interceptions and three recoveries. Because of that, as well as her performances over the last year, she should definitely be heading to the World Cup, where she could earn some good minutes.
Elsewhere, that leaves Marie-Yasmine Alidou, Victoria Pickett and Sarah Stratigakis on the bubble. Of the three, Alidou has the strongest chance of making it, given her strong form for Famalicão, but Pickett could make a late push if she finds some form with Gotham in the NWSL, while Stratigakis is always a good option over with Vittsjö in Sweden.
On the bubble: Marie-Yasmine Alidou, Victoria Pickett, Sarah Stratigakis
Christine Sinclair, Jordyn Huitema, Évelyne Viens, Deanne Rose, Adriana Leon, Cloé Lacasse, Clarissa Larisey
Yet, while every other position seems a lot more settled now, the same can’t be said for the forward ranks, where there feels like there’s more uncertainty than ever heading into the World Cup.
At striker, things are pretty settled, as Jordyn Huitema will be there, as she looks to follow up a strong debut season with OL Reign with another good year for club and country, while Évelyne Viens has been red-hot at the club level and sneaky productive for Canada, which she’ll hope to turn into minutes at the World Cup.
From there, Christine Sinclair will also be selected, given her status as Canada’s captain, as she’s continued to produce strong performances for the Portland Thorns, and can give Canada cover in midfield. How many minutes the 39-year-old will get this tournament is up in the air, but she definitely has a role to play as a starter or substitute depending on the opponent, a balance Priestman will have to get right.
Over on the wing, however, things are a lot more open.
Adriana Leon is a lock, as she’s scored a lot of goals for Canada in the past year, and just cleaned up her club situation with a loan to Portland after not getting many minutes with Manchester United. Meanwhile, Cloé Lacasse will also be there and should get some good minutes, as she’s been excellent for Benfica, and is always dangerous for Canada when called upon.
After that, though, there’s a lot of questions. If healthy, Deanne Rose and Nichelle Prince are locks, but they’re coming off major Achilles injuries.
Rose should be back in time, so she’s included, but given that Prince suffered her injury two months after Rose's, her timeline is a bit tighter. As a result, in this roster projection, Clarissa Larisey is in, as she’s shown well in cameos for Canada, and she should thrive at her new club Häcken after a move from Celtic.
If not, 18-year-old Amanda Allen is one to watch. Having just signed with the Orlando Pride, going pro earlier, she’s an exciting talent, and didn’t look out of place in her one cap for Canada. Therefore, if she can have a strong showing with Canada’s U20s, and then make some strides at the professional level, she could be hard to ignore, allowing her to slot in.
On the bubble: Nichelle Prince (injured), Amanda Allen
So for now, here’s the full iteration of this way-too-early projected Canadian 23 player squad for the World Cup. Lots can change between now and then, of course, including the size of the roster, but as it stands, a lot of big decisions loom between now and the summer, which should be intriguing to keep an eye on