Women’s World Cup Team Overview
- from Canadasoccer.com
Canadian Women’s World Cup Team Head Coach Even Pellerud announced his 20-player roster for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup in the United States on September 8, 2003
Silvana Burtini, Isabelle Morneau, Andrea Neil and Charmaine Hooper have been selected to their third consecutive World Cup while Sharolta Nonen and Karina LeBlanc are the only other players who have World Cup experience, having played in 1999 in the United States. Morneau was named to the 1995 squad in Sweden but did not play in any games while LeBlanc backed up Nicci Wright in goal in 1999 in the United States.
There are six players from the Under-19 team which won a silver medal at the FIFA Women’s World Championship in 2002: Christine Sinclair, Erin McLeod, Sasha Andrews, Carmelina Moscato, Kara Lang and Brittany Timko.
Others include 18-year-old defender Tanya Dennis who impressed in earning her first two caps against Mexico recently; WUSA defender Sharolta Nonen (who was named to the All WUSA First Team), Randee Hermus and Kristina Kiss who play for Fløya in Norway, 19-year-old Diana Matheson who earned her first cap earlier this year, goalkeeper Taryn Swiatek who played for Canada at the Pan Am Games and striker Rhian Wilkinson who made her debut against the US in April. Christine Latham, the WUSA Rookie of the Year rounds out the squad.
is coming off a fine WUSA season where she was named a finalist for Goalkeeper of the Year and led the league in saves. She was also twice named the WUSA Player of the Week. She had a stellar career at the University of Nebraska and has played two seasons with the Boston Breakers.
shot to prominence with a strong showing at the FIFA Under-19 Women’s World Championships in Edmonton in 2002 where she helped Canada win a silver medal. McLeod was named to the tournament all-star team and became a fan favourite in Edmonton with her hairdos.
attended the University of Calgary and has played two seasons with the Ottawa Fury of the W-League. She was Canada’s No. 1 goalkeeper at the 2003 Pan Am Games and led Canada to a silver medal.
is the experienced defender, having played at the 1999 World Cup. She is also coming off her finest WUSA season, being named to the All WUSA First Team in her third season with the Atlanta Beat. She has been capped 45 times for Canada and has scored one goal.
is the newcomer to this group. Only capped three times, Dennis impressed head coach Even Pellerud in the few games she has played to earn a berth on the World Cup squad. She is extremely fast and is a regular on the Canadian under-19 team. She has played at right back and in the middle of the back four for Pellerud.
has been converted from her normal position at striker and has played at left back and on the left side of midfield for Pellerud in recent games. Burtini has had an exemplary international career, scoring 38 goals in 74 games, third all-time in goals and caps. She once scored eight goals against Puerto Rico in 1998. She played one season in WUSA with Carolina and is now a police officer in British Columbia.
played a prominent role with the Under-19 team in 2002 and scored the winning penalty against Brazil in the FIFA Under-19 Women’s World Championship semi-final last year. A native of Edmonton, Andrews is one of Canada’s more dominant players in the air and has recently shown an eye for goal, scoring a goal in each of the lopsided wins over Mexico.
The wild card in the defence is captain Charmaine Hooper
, only because she has started the last three games in this position and the Canadian team is loaded up front. Hooper had never played defence in her first 98 appearances for Canada but that all changed in Edmonton on August 31, 2003 when Pellerud started her in the middle of the back four. She then moved back up to striker. It remains to be seen where she will play in the World Cup.
could see some playing time at fullback or in the middle of the park. Timko became a regular member of Pellerud’s squad following the FIFA Under-19 tournament where her fierce tackling and solid play earned her many admirers. She had a very strong Gold Cup in 2002 and Pellerud will no doubt rely on her versatility.
made her debut with the World Cup team at the same time as Pellerud, making her first appearance at the 2000 Algarve Cup. She has played in the majority of Pellerud’s games as head coach of the Canadian team, earning 44 caps in less than four years. She scored game winning goals in both 2-1 victories over Brazil in July. She usually plays at left back but can also play in central defence. She is still recovering from a stress fracture in her leg but will stay with the team throughout the tournament in the hopes of taking part at some point in the competition.
The veteran of the back four is Isabelle Morneau
, who is appearing in her third straight World Cup. She was named to the 1995 squad and did not play but was a regular of the 1999 team. Morneau has recovered from a bad shoulder which caused her to miss the 2002 Gold Cup and part of the 2003 Algarve Cup. She had surgery in the spring and is now fit to bring her steadying influence to the left side of the defence.
is a relative newcomer to the team, having earned only three caps since making her debut against Brazil on July 20. She is predominantly a centre back and plays with the Ottawa Fury of the W-League.
Pellerud has been playing a 4-3-3 in recent games with Andrea Neil and Kristina Kiss and Diana Matheson likely to figure in the middle of the park with Timko, Carmelina Moscato and Burtini all able to play there as well.
is one of the team’s leaders and she will rely on the experience of two previous World Cups as she drives the team to success in the 2003 tournament. Neil is a player who commands respect and her 18 goals in 87 appearances is a testament to her abilities. She is a 13-year veteran and is second only to Hooper in appearances for Canada. She is a ball winner in the midfield and her determination can be inspiring.
burst on to the national team scene in 2003 and hasn’t stopped. She has earned a remarkable 13 caps in less than seven months as a member of the national team after impressing Pellerud at a National training Centre. Matheson may stand only 5’2 but she has the heart of a lion and is extremely tenacious. She has been a revelation in recent months and her vision for one with so few caps is striking.
has become a player to be reckoned with and has built up a solid reputation as a free kick specialist. Hampered by injuries in the past year, Kiss has emerged as one of Pellerud’s regular starters in the buildup to the World Cup. She is a threat from anywhere around the 18 yard box and is one of the team’s better players at splitting defences with her passing and vision.
is recovering from stress fractures in both feet which caused her to miss several preparation games this summer. Moscato played a starring role during the FIFA Under-19 championship last summer and followed that success by getting a lot of playing time in the 2002 Gold Cup.
It’s probably safe to say that Pellerud has an abundance of riches up front. His strikers are probably the envy of every coach at the World Cup. Even if Hooper (who has scored more goals for Canada than any other player – 58) plays in defence, Pellerud can throw Christine Sinclair, Christine Latham, Kara Lang and impressive rookie Rhian Wilkinson at the world’s best defences.
had an almost impossible to believe year in 2002. She was the MVP at the FIFA Under-19 women’s World Championship after scoring a tournament-leading 10 goals in six games and then went on to score the golden goal in the NCAA championship game, winning the University of Portland its first national title. She was named the Globe and Mail’s Top 25 influential sports figures in December of that year. She reached 40 goals in an astonishing 49 games earlier this year and has fully recovered from a bout of mono which sidelined her for two months.
returned to the national team in 2003 after not playing in 2002 to focus on her scholastic studies. She ended an impressive career at the University of Nebraska by being signed as a discover player by the San Diego spirit and went on to be named the league’s Rookie of the Year in 2003. Her aggressive style combined with her touch around goal makes her a player to be feared.
burst onto the national team in 2002 at the Algarve Cup as a 15-year-old and scored goals in bundles. She hasn’t stopped scoring and has a tendency for the spectacular. Despite her youth, Lang possesses one of the strongest legs in the game and remarkably can hit with power from distance with either foot. She has played wide and up front for both Under-19 team head coach Ian Bridge and Pellerud and has remarkable confidence considering her age. She can be a menace to defenders when she runs at them.
earned her first start for Canada in their last friendly prior to the World Cup on September 14 against Australia and caused a stir. Her strong runs off the ball and her deceiving pace have given Pellerud yet another option up front. Wilkinson has already managed three goals in her first six appearances and seems destined for a bright future.
"We have a strong roster with a good balance of youth and experience," said Pellerud. "We have also a good mixture of speed, skill and leadership. It’s a very flexible and versatile roster which can be changed to play certain formations. We are ready to play the way that is needed depending on the opponent. It’s a team with an excellent fitness level and a healthy level of confidence."
The Canadians are coming off a 2-0 win over Australia on September 14 and consecutive victories over Mexico (by a combined 14-0). Canada has registered three consecutive shutouts and have not lost in 10 games
, dating back to a last-minute friendly against the United States on April 26. Since then they have won nine games (win over Australia, two-game series sweeps over Mexico - twice, England and Brazil) and drawn once (1-1 against Ghana on August 16).
Canada has played six World Cup games, losing four and drawing twice.