Canada will be looking to capitalize on the momentum generated from hosting the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, when it reached the quarterfinals, before dropping a 2-1 decision to England. It has qualified for the last two editions of the Olympic Women’s Football Tournament, defeating France in the 2012 bronze-medal match, 1-0, thanks to a stoppage-time goal by Diana Matheson.
The Canadians have the second most wins in CWOQ history (11) and have finished as runner-up twice, falling to the United States in the final on both occasions – 2008: 1-1 draw (5-6 pens); 2012: 0-4 loss.
Head coach John Herdman has an experienced squad fortified by youth with plenty of national team experience. No player better exemplifies his player development policy than midfielder Jessie Fleming.
The 17-year-old is one of the world’s brightest young talents. Her meteoric rise was ignited two years ago, when she led Canada to a runner-up finish in the 2013 CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championship, garnering Golden Ball honors as the tournament’s best player. Since then, Fleming has played in the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup (4 games, 1 goal), the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup (3 games, 0 goals) and the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup (2 games, 0 goals).
Fleming, though, isn’t the only star in the Canadian galaxy. Others to keep an eye on include a pair of 18-year-olds: defender Sura Yekka, midfielder Sarah Kinzner.
Veteran standouts expected to return include: forward Christine Sinclair (15 career CWOQ goals), midfielder Sophie Schmidt (137 caps, 16 goals) and forward Melissa Tancredi (9 Olympic Women’s Football Tournament games, 5 goals).