Desiree Scott and Melissa Tancredi were recently in Edmonton for FC Edmonton’s Girls in Soccer II night and Pro-Connect event. While they were in town, we had a chance to chat with them about the upcoming international friendlies vs. USA, the importance of girls in soccer nights, their hometowns and more. They were an absolute delight to talk to and it was so great to see them share their stories, inspire and celebrate with girls in soccer.
Desiree Scott made her debut with the Canadian national team in 2010 and since then, she’s been an unstoppable force also known as “the Destroyer.” Scott is a two-time Olympic gold medal winner, supporter of KidSport and all around badass who doesn’t plan to slow down any time soon.
Melissa Tancredi made her debut with the Canadian national team in 2004 and until her retirement from the team early this year, she had 125 appearances and 27 goals. Also a two-time Olympic bronze medalist, “Tanc” helped Canada make history with a pair of goals that resulted in the team’s first ever win against Germany at the 2016 Olympics.
Thanks to both Desiree and Melissa for taking the time to talk to us!
Ask and you shall receive! In the past week, not only did Canada play two top tier teams in international friendlies, but Canada Soccer gave fans access to live feeds of the games. To stick with the metaphor—it was a miracle.
ORRRR, Canada Soccer has been listening to the outcry from fans. Either way, we’re thrilled Canada continued to be challenged by the best teams in the world and we got to watch it.
In this episode, we talk about:
Canada vs Sweden (April 6 international friendly)
Canada vs Germany (April 9 international friendly)
NWSL season kickoff games, including our (likely wildly inaccurate) score predictions
Canada arrived in Portugal for this year’s Algarve Cup as reigning champions and left with the second place prize. It was a performance we feel pretty good about considering the number of new young players on the tournament roster this year.
Streams for the games were scant but luckily, our European correspondent Janine was there for the final vs. Spain and was able to talk about how the game looked field-side.
In this episode we talk about:
The Algarve Cup, including our chat with Janine (there is an echo on our chat with Janine so if it’s too much for your ears you can skip from 30:45 – 42:17 to avoid some echo in your ear)
Our on-again/off-again relationship with Canada Soccer
The weather, because we’re that Canadian (spoiler: snow in Edmonton!)
After a long break following their bronze medal win in Rio, Canada returned to home soil for a celebratory friendly against Mexico on February 4. In this episode, we’re joined by Sandra Herrera, senior editor at Backline Soccer and Mexico women’s national team fan. Sandra shares her thoughts on the game, the future of the Mexican women’s team and the future of the NWSL. Be sure to check Sandra out on The Scouting Report podcast and follow her on Twitter.
Besides the CAN vs. MEX match, we also talk about:
Well, well, well…looks like there was just too much news between our last episode and our next episode (after the Canadian friendly against Mexico), so we decided that another episode was necessary. We apologize about the sound quality; we had some technical difficulties and had to record this episode twice!
Our Canada Soccer jersey giveaway (plus some extra goodies)!
To enter our Canada Soccer jersey giveaway, all you have to do is fill out this short listener survey. The winner will get to choose a Canada Soccer jersey and customize it with a name and number of their choosing. Contest closes on February 4, 2017. Open to residents of Canada and the US only. A winner will be chosen and announced on our next podcast!
Our listeners chose their favourite Canadian Soccer moments from 2016! Along with choosing their favourites we also heard some wonderfully uplifting stories of people coming together with complete strangers to enjoy the sport we all love. Thanks to everyone who submitted their responses. Here’s the top 10 listener chosen moments!
10 – John Herdman getting Happy Birthday pie in the face.
Our latest episode is out in which we talk about Canada’s performance in the group stage vs. Spain, Nigeria and Japan in the U20 Women’s World Cup; updates on the European leagues and the NCAA; and news about the Algarve Cup, to which Canada will return as reigning champions!
Canada Soccer announces the 2016 Canadian Women’s Player of the Year award shortly and we wanted to make sure we got our pick in before the actual announcement. The candidates list for the CANWNT Player of the Year award includes:
If there is one glaring omission from this list it’s Josée Bélanger. She had a great year not just with the Canadian national team but also with the newest NWSL team, Orlando Pride. Like Ashley Lawrence, Bélanger was adjusting to an outside back role and was quite successful in that endeavour. Her versatility on the field lent itself well to a transitioning Canadian team in 2016.
Our pick for the CANWNT Player of the Year is: Ashley Lawrence. Followed by Janine Beckie and Christine Sinclair and, though we wish we could write more on both Beckie and Sinclair (oh wait you can read what Jessica thinks of Sinclair this year here), we want to focus more on our top choice. But let’s just say right now, Beckie and Sinclair both had fantastic years. Like when we think about it as CANWNT fans, it makes us feel all warm and fuzzy (akin to the feeling of hearing Earth, Wind & Fire’s Septemberin September).
Obviously, many CANWNT players had a great year — they wouldn’t have another bronze medal if all of our players didn’t play as well as they did in 2016 —but it was Ashley Lawrence who we believe should get the honour this year. Lawrence was dominant in her new fullback position (mostly left, but hey, she’ll play as a right back too) — an outstanding feat for a young player who had to adjust to her new role in a couple months (she learned the position in an Excel camp in May and was immediately put into the position in June friendlies). Making that switch is never easy, but Lawrence doesn’t get our pick for making the position switch alone. She gets our pick because she excelled in that position (along with at the beginning of the year playing really, really well in the midfield). Lawrence was absolutely incredible this year, and you can tell that by the fact that Canada played 20 games in 2016 and Lawrence saw minutes in every single one of them. Lawrence was also named Player of the Match in five games this year (two of them in Olympic matches), the highest on the team for 2016, and saw an average of 82.25 minutes.
Her shifting responsibilities in 2016 earned her a look for Player of the Year but her dominant game play made her the easy choice for our pick for the award. She has become one of the preferred corner kick takers, and provided strong delivery along the flank while becoming a sturdy defender. She was disciplined and hard to beat defensively, and chose her moments wisely when going forward. Lawrence doesn’t shy away from opposing attackers and can recover quickly on defense when need be. This year, Lawrence’s style and speed helped the team by opening up the field and created a flurry of much-needed offensive efforts.
Remember this sublime run and pass from Lawrence in the bronze medal match? Swoon.
When you look outside her play with the CANWNT, Lawrence also had a fantastic year with West Virginia University (WVU). She helped lead the team to win the Big 12 conference title (WVU remained undefeated in conference play in 2016) and to the NCAA College Cup, scoring the lone WVU goal against University of Southern California in the final. Throughout 2016, Lawrence played mostly in the midfield but fulfilled outside back duties when necessary. As a team captain with WVU, Lawrence ranks second on the team with 63 career points: 17 goals and 29 assists. This season alone she had 4 goals and 10 assists – the team leader for assists.
According to rumours, Lawrence could be headed to Paris Saint-Germain after college. If she doesn’t head overseas to play, she is expected to draft within the first round of the NWSL College Draft being held on January 12th at 12pm PT/3pm ET. Wherever Lawrence ends up, she’ll command attention. Her versatility makes her one of the best under 23 players in the world. She can take charge in the midfield or on the flank, making her a spectacular asset on any team, in any league.
Tomorrow Canada Soccer announces the 2016 Canadian Women’s U17 Player of the Year award (voted by media and coaches). The Canadian Women’s U20 Player of the Year award will be announced on December 14th. We wanted to get in our picks before those announcements (as we don’t have a vote but are never shy on opinions).
The candidates list for the CANW17 Player of the Year award includes: Julia Grosso, Lysianne Proulx, Emma Regan, Deanne Rose, Sarah Stratigakis, and Hannah Taylor.
Our pick for the CANW17 Player of the Year is: Deanne Rose. Followed by Sarah Stratigakis and Emma Regan.
Stratigakis and Regan both had tough runs with the U17 and U20 Canadian World Cup teams, but without both of them in those tournaments Canada would have seen much greater defeat. Both Stratigakis and Regan showed in the U20 tournament that they could play beyond their age (they are 17 and 16, respectively) but Stratigakis snuck out ahead of Regan in our picks as she often had the bulk of the responsibility in Canada’s midfield. She was slogging away in the middle of the field even when the rest of Canada’s players were struggling. She managed to make plays out of almost nothing at times, and wrestled for the the ball from much better opponents, and heck, maybe we just feel a teeny bit bad for her because she was almost entirely our only midfielder for most the of U20 Women’s World Cup. Regan is a very, very close pick just behind Stratigakis as she showed excellent technical skill in the fullback position, pushing forward to create a respectable offensive effort while also being a very good defender (which sometimes tends to be a skill lacking in Canadian fullbacks at the youth level).
Our top pick, Deanne Rose, had a spectacular year, most notably with the Canadian women’s national team. Rose started the year off helping Canada qualify for the Olympics. She played in three games, scoring three goals in the tournament – not too shabby for the young player who had only played 114 minutes for the Canadian women’s national team before that tournament. Rose continued to develop and improve throughout the year, but had a hard time scoring goals against tougher opponents as the year went on. She continued to be a threat every time she was on the field, showing her pace and maturity on the ball, and came close to scoring on multiple occasions. In the Olympics, Rose broke her scoring drought by getting the first goal against Brazil, and assisted Christine Sinclair on the game-winning goal in the bronze medal match. In the subsequent tournaments with the U17 and U20 teams she was the best Canadian player on the field. Rose effectively made the leap from “who’s this kid?” in early 2016 to “WHOA, LOOK AT THIS KID!” in late 2016. I imagine there will be more “whoa” moments in 2017 for Deanne Rose and CANWNT fans.
The candidates list for the CANW20 Player of the Year award include: Gabrielle Carle, Jessie Fleming, Alex Lamontagne, Marie LeVasseur, Victoria Pickett, Bianca St-Georges.
Our pick for the CANW20 Player of the Year is: Jessie Fleming. Followed by Bianca St-Georges and a four-way tie between Carle, Lamontagne, Levasseur, and Pickett (because we honestly didn’t see enough game time to get a fair assessment of any of the other candidates).
Our U20 players had a rough go this year, and besides Bianca St-Georges as a defensive stalwart throughout much of Canada’s short-lived run at the U20 World Cup, it was extremely hard to gauge many of the players from 2016; the only matches they played were the three matches at the World Cup (their qualifying tournament for the World Cup was held at the end of 2015). St-Georges also had a very successful run with West Virginia University (WVU), making the NCAA College Cup in 2016. She even overcame what was a game-ending injury (but not a season-ending injury – phew!) in the semi-final match against North Carolina.
But our top choice is Jessie Fleming. She really shone through this year, spending all of her time with the Canadian women’s national team. By mid-2016, Fleming was an essential part of the national team’s midfield as Ashley Lawrence moved into the fullback position. Fleming has superb ball-handling and a vision that’s on another level. Her ability to make quick decisions is what set her apart this year. Fleming’s creative play-making provided an offensive spark that had been sorely lacking in the team’s midfield. That spark proved vital, not only with the Canadian national team but also with her new college team, UCLA. Fleming had a spectacular debut with UCLA, scoring two goals. Fleming’s abilities helped bolster UCLA’s season, helping take them to the third round of the NCAA tournament.