Canada's Nkem Ezurike (left), a standout in CONCACAF youth competitions, will be looking for her first senior cap at the 2014 Cyprus Women's Cup. (Photo courtesy of the Canadian Soccer Association)
OTTAWA – Canada has called in 20 players for next month’s Cyprus Women’s Cup, an international tournament it has won three times, the Canadian Soccer Association revealed in a Monday announcement.
The roster largely resembles the one that dropped a narrow 1-0 decision to the United States in a friendly on January 31. Three new additions, however, are veteran defender Robyn Gayle and two younger players looking for their first caps -- Rachel Quon, a 22-year-old defender, and 21-year-old forward Nkem Ezurike.
“(Ezurike) had a very good college season for Michigan,” said head coach John Herdman. “We had her in our program last year so she did some camps with (U-20 head coach) Andrew Olivieri so Andrew’s been keeping an eye on her. We got her in January for a two-week trial and she did well.”
The group stage gets underway for Canada on March 5 in an encounter against Finland followed by meetings with Italy (March 7) and England (March 10). Placement matches on March 12 will conclude the competition.
“We desperately want to do well in the tournament,” added Herdman. “There’s something about getting used to these tournaments and being effective in them so at some point you’ve got to win it.”
CANADA WOMEN’S ROSTER
(Cyprus Women’s Cup: March 5-12, 2014, in Cyprus)
GOALKEEPERS: Stephanie Labbé (Örebro/Sweden), Karina LeBlanc (Chicago Red Stars/USA), Erin McLeod (Houston Dash/USA)
DEFENDERS: Kadeisha Buchanan (West Virginia University/USA), Robyn Gayle (Washington Spirit/USA), Carmelina Moscato (Seattle Reign FC/USA), Marie-Eve Nault (Örebro/Sweden), Rachel Quon (Chicago Red Stars/USA), Lauren Sesselmann (Houston Dash/USA), Rhian Wilkinson (no club), Emily Zurrer (Jitex BK/Sweden)
MIDFIELDERS: Kaylyn Kyle (Boston Breakers/USA), Diana Matheson (Washington Spirit/USA), Sophie Schmidt (Sky Blue FC/USA), Desiree Scott (Notts County Ladies/England), Brittany Baxter Timko (no club)
FORWARDS: Josée Belanger (no club), Nkem Ezurike (Boston Breakers/USA), Adriana Leon (Chicago Red Stars/USA), Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns FC/USA)