Fresh off writing her name into the record books as international soccer’s all-time top scorer, Canada’s Christine Sinclair will attempt to add to her impressive goal total at next month’s Tournoi de France.
On Tuesday, Sinclair was one of 22 players named to the Canadian women’s team roster for the international tournament, which takes place in Calais and Valenciennes, France from March 4-10.
Also named to Canada’s roster is Diana Matheson, who is set to return to the national team fold after a lengthy injury layoff. Matheson (18 goals and 203 caps for Canada) sat out last summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in France after having foot surgery. Her last appearance for the Canadian women’s team was on March 1, 2019 in an Algarve Cup game versus Scotland. Matheson has missed Canada’s last 17 games during her injury absence.
Matheson, a 35-year-old from Oakville, Ont., plays professionally for Utah Royals FC in the National Women’s Soccer League.
Canadian coach Kenneth Heiner-Møller welcomed the return of Matheson, lauding the veteran midfielder as someone who has a “soccer brain (that) is pretty massive.”
“This will be a great opportunity to see her in the environment, with our team, but also against some of the best teams in the world,” Heiner-Moller told reporters on Tuesday afternoon.
He later added: “She understands the game … She knows the game from different perspectives and positions.”
Canada’s roster for this tournament will feature all the players who participated in the recent Concacaf Olympic qualifiers, plus Matheson and centre back Vanessa Gilles.
Sinclair, a 36-year-old native of Burnaby, B.C., made history last month when she scored her 185th goal for the Canadian women’s team at the Concacaf qualifiers, moving her past retired American star Abby Wambach as the all-time leading goal scorer in international soccer, for both men and women.
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Sinclair (who has 293 caps to her credit) finished the qualifying tournament with three goals to take her career total to 186, while Canada earned a berth for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Canada will face France on March 4, the Netherlands on March 7 and Brazil on March 10 at the Tournoi de France, which help the team get ready for the Olympics. The Netherlands is third in the current FIFA rankings, followed by France (No. 4), Canada (No. 9) and Brazil (No. 9).
Heiner-Moller said he’s relishing seeing Canada going up against three of the best teams in the world, as it serves ideal preparation for the Tokyo Games.
“The three teams are different but what is obviously a common theme is the quality … I’m super-excited,” Heiner-Moller said. “I know we’re going to have some great answers to some of the questions we have for right now.”
Seventeen members of this roster were part of the Canadian squad that won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Games, while Matheson, Sinclair, Sophie Schmidt, and Desiree Scott were also bronze medallists in 2012 in London.
After the Tournoi de France, Canada will play its first home game of the year on April 14 when it hosts Australia in a friendly at Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium.
Goalkeepers: Sabrina D’Angelo (Vittsjö GIK/Sweden), Stephanie Labbé (NC Courage/NWSL) and Kailen Sheridan (Sky Blue FC/NWSL).
Defenders: Kadeisha Buchanan (FCF Olympique Lyonnais/France), Vanessa Gilles (FC Girondins de Bordeaux/France), Rebecca Quinn (Seattle Reign FC/NWSL), Shelina Zadorsky (Orlando Pride/NWSL), Gabrielle Carle (Florida State University), Allysha Chapman (Houston Dash/NWSL), Ashley Lawrence (Paris St-Germain FC/France) and Jayde Riviere (University of Michigan).
Midfielders: Jessie Fleming (UCLA), Julia Grosso (University of Texas at Austin), Diana Matheson (Utah Royals FC/NWSL), Sophie Schmidt (Houston Dash/NWSL) and Desiree Scott (Utah Royals FC/NWSL).
Forwards: Janine Beckie (Manchester City/England), Jordyn Huitema (Paris St-Germain FC/France), Adriana Leon (West Ham United/England), Nichelle Prince (Houston Dash/NWSL), Deanne Rose (University of Florida) and Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns FC).