Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Sesselmann Shows Resilience in Return from Injury to Make Women's World Cup

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Sesselmann Shows Resilience in Return from Injury to Make Women's World Cup

Article excerpt

Sesselmann savours return from injury

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VANCOUVER - The post-practice ice bag on Lauren Sesselmann's knee is a reminder of the veteran defender's painful journey to the Women's World Cup.

At times it has been one step forward, two steps back in her return from anterior cruciate ligament surgery. The 31-year-old has had some missteps at the tournament. But the resilient Sesselmann has bounced back and continues to line up alongside teenage centre back Kadeisha Buchanan in a stingy Canadian defence.

In the tournament opener against China, a giveaway during a passage of erratic play in the first half meant Sesselmann had to convince coach John Herdman to keep her on the field. There were also some hiccups in the round-of-16-game against Switzerland.

Herdman has defended his centre back. But Sesselmann has felt the heat from the media, perhaps unfairly for an athlete who has had to go from zero to a 100 in returning from a serious knee injury at the sport's biggest showcase.

"You hear it here and there," she said of the criticism. "People are always going to have something to say. You can be the best player in the world and they still have something to say. I'm not even worrying about that. I look where I am and how far we've gotten at the tournament and it's kind of that moment where you're just like 'We're here, you're not.'

"This is our team and we're focused on the talk at hand ... People can say what they want but we're focused on winning the Cup."

Canada's next challenge is England on Saturday in the quarter-finals at B.C. Place Stadium.

Sesselmann tries to see the bigger picture when it comes to being under the spotlight.

"Everybody in this tournament makes mistakes. Even the greatest athlete in the world makes mistakes," she said. "It's part of the game.

"It's how you bounce back from them. And each game for me has been better and better. …

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