Tag Archives: Roster

Canada’s CONCACAF WWCQ Preview

Canada is aiming to qualify for their 5th-consecutive Women’s World Cup (1995, 1999, 2003, and 2007). Expectations to develop a possession-oriented and attack-minded team were high when Carolina Morace was hired as head coach in early 2009, so fans are hoping to see Canada qualify while playing great soccer.

Qualification Preparations
Team Canada arrived in Cancún, Mexico on October 11 to kick off the 4th and final leg of their preparations for their WWC Qualifiers. 24 players were called into camp as early as August 25 to train in Rome, Italy, and they pulled out wins in their exhibition games against Roma (5-0) and Lazio (2-0) of Femminile Serie A along the way. 2.5 weeks later, WPS players joined the rest of the team in Germany for a friendly on September 15 against the upcoming WWC hosts, which resulted in a 5-0 defeat.

Following a short break, the Canadians then settled in Alliston, Ontario from September 21 to October 10. On September 30, fans were treated to a great display of ball movement, creativity, and fitness that the team has been developing over the past year and a half as Canada one-touched their way to a 3-1 international friendly victory against China. Prior to departing for Cancún, the team played an exhibition game against a select-team composed of local talent. No official word on the score, but no doubt that Canada sealed a victory.

The final tune up took form in two friendlies against Guatemala. On October 23, Canada walked away with a 5-0 win. No word on the game that supposedly took place on the 25.

After 2 months of training it all comes down to this: Canada opens their Qualification tournament against Trinidad and Tobago on Friday, October 29 at 6pm ET. Following their Sunday, October 31 match up against Guyana at 7pm ET, Canada will face their most difficult opponent in the group, Mexico, on November 2 at 9:30pm. These and other Group A games will all be contested at Estadio Beto Avila.

The Opponents
If history is on their side, Canada shouldn’t have too difficult of a time against their Group A opponents.

Canada is unbeaten (5 wins) against Trinidad and Tobago, and has outscored the 49th ranked team in the world 15-0 in CONCACAF tournament play since 1991. As one CONCACAF.com article pointed out, T&T “hasn’t advanced past the first round since the inaugural championship in 1991, when it finished third”. However, head coach of the Soca Princesses, Jamaal Shabazz, is confident that his team has a good shot at reaching the semi-final round. “We have the ability to advance to the last four and then from there anything can happen,” he said, while also citing their recent performance as a good indication of the team’s abilities.

During the second phase of the Caribbean round of CONCACAF WWC Qualifying, T&T had shutout wins against Guyana and Barbados while scoring 3 and 5 goals respectively. They also took down St. Lucia by a score of 6-1. Their most recent warm up matches against Guatemala resulted in a 3-2 win and 2-2 draw.

T&T will be an interesting opponent as it pits Canada’s new style under Morace against the insight of former coach, Even Pellerud, who is now the Director of Women’s football for the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation and coach of the U-17 Women’s Team. There were also several accounts of Pellerud and his staff being spotted scouting Canada’s game against China in Toronto.

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Which Canadians are Going to Cancún?

With the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifiers on the horizon (October 28 to November 8), it’s the perfect time to speculate who Carolina Morace plans to bring over to Mexico. It appears that the team left for Mexico this morning (October 11).

Since Morace took reign of the Senior National Team in February 2009, we’ve seen our fair share of the good: great passing skills to earn a 3-1 victory over China, Christine Sinclair managing to become an even better player, winning the Cyprus Cup again, and a steady stream of young and/or previously ignored talent getting called up; the bad: Erin McLeod tearing her ACL again, matching our previous FIFA World Ranking low of #13, and playing only one home game a year (although that’s an improvement from the 2 year home game drought from a couple years ago); and the ugly: not being able to maintain possession or even getting a proper shot on target en route to 4-0 and 5-0 losses to USA and Germany.

But along the way, we’ve been able to see the personnel, tactics, and formations that Morace will have at her disposal as Canada seeks to earn a spot in their fifth consecutive WWC. Note: I’ll often refer back to Canada’s September 30 friendly against China since it showcased the team’s potential very well and it’s only one of four games (aside from the 2009 friendlies against the USWNT) that most of us have been able to watch in its entirety as of late.

Here’s my starting XI lining up in a 4-3-3:

Wilkinson – Chapman – Zurrer – Nault
Matheson – Parker
Bélanger – Sinclair – Tancredi

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Match Preview: September 15 Canada vs. Germany

Canada’s head coach Carolina Morace has announced a 25 player roster for the September 15 international friendly against Germany in Dresden. Twenty-one players were selected from an 18 day camp held in Rome, Italy from August 25 to September 12, and the arrival of four others from Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) rounded out the squad. The match against Germany will take place at Rudolf Harbig Stadion at 6pm local time (12pm EST/ 9am PST), and will be broadcasted live on ARD in Germany.

The team held its first full training session in Dresden, Germany on September 13 at the Dresden Dynamo practice field. They will train again on the morning of the 14th. Morace, along with captain Christine Sinclair and co-captain Diana Matheson, will take part in a pre-game press conference the same day (1:30pm local time).

The roster is a mixture of veteran and youth presence. As noted on the Canadian Soccer Association website, 11 players from this roster have FIFA Women’s World Cup and/or Olympic experience. On the other hand, 7 players only recently debuted on the Senior National Team in 2009 or 2010, including Kendra Flock, Christina Julien, Alyssa Lagonia, Brooke McCalla, Caley Miskimmin Desiree Scott, and Chelsea Stewart. Additionally, 2 players, Gurveen Clair and Bahar Sansar, are yet to be capped at this level, and 12 of the 25 players have 10 caps or less. The eldest is Karina LeBlanc at 30 years of age and the youngest is 18 year-old Clair. The mean age of the roster is 24, while the average age is 24.32.

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Canadian Camp in Rome

Canadian head coach Carolina Morace recently called up 24 players to train in Rome, Italy from August 25 to September 12 as the team prepares for the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifiers for a spot in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany.

What’s Going on in Camp?
While in Rome, the Canadian Women have been training twice a day. According to blog posts by defender Rhian Wilkinson, mornings of the first week of camp have usually been reserved for various testings, while full practice sessions have taken place late in the afternoon, often to avoid the extreme heat and humidity.

The team has been subject to the typical fair of fitness testing that includes sprints, the vertical jump test and the ever dreaded beep test (which was won by Kelly Parker during their May camp in Maryland). In terms of medical testing, their weight and body fat percentage were taken, as well as urine samples. The team also worked out on bicycle ergometers to collect data on their lung capacity, heart rate and blood pressure.

During a previous camp, conditioning coach, Mario, had given each player individualized training programs that targeted particular areas of improvement. Players were encouraged to work on these drills and other lifestyle changes regularly outside of national team duty, progress which Mario has been tracking.

In a recent session, the team worked on reaction time drills with incremental increases in difficulty. They then moved on to drills to improve their use of space and movement on the pitch, focusing on potential game day situations. On another day, strength conditioning was followed by aerobic training. Players were divided into groups based on earlier test results and made to do exercises that were specific to their fitness needs. Similarly, players later broke into small groups based on their field positions and continued on with more fitness drills. Those playing multiple positions took part in every group that is relevant to them. During the following session, players worked on their balance, 1v1, triangle work, and sprinting drills. The team then prepared for their final Italian exhibition game with a light practice session that focused on set pieces, fast footwork, and reaction time.

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