Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Coach John Herdman Summons Youth for Pre-Olympic Women's Camp

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Coach John Herdman Summons Youth for Pre-Olympic Women's Camp

Article excerpt

Herdman summons youth for pre-Olympic camp

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TORONTO - Canadian women's soccer coach John Herdman has summoned the heart of his World Cup team along with an injection of youth for his first camp on the road to Rio.

Herdman's roster includes captain Christine Sinclair and fellow World Cup veterans Erin McLeod, Rhian Wilkinson, Allysha Chapman, Diana Matheson, Sophie Schmidt and Melissa Tancredi.

The squad also includes 16-year-olds Deanne Rose and Kennedy Faulknor. Gabi Carle is 17, Marie Levasseur 18 and Summer Clarke 20.

"It's an exciting group we've brought together." Herdman said Sunday from Vancouver. "I really do hope we can find some of the quality that we are going to need to get on the Olympic (podium)."

Herdman knows what's needed. He's looking for a centre back to partner with rising star Kadeisha Buchanan, some guile and creativity on the wing and a pacey forward. All three were needed at the World Cup.

"We've recognized there are some gaps we want to fill within our team," he said.

The Canadian women lost 2-1 to England in the quarter-finals of the World Cup this summer on home soil. For Herdman, it remains a lost opportunity. "A game we could have won," he said.

"It's just that it ended too early," he added of the tournament. "I think that's what hurt most of us."

There are better Olympic memories.

Canada won bronze at the 2012 Games in London in a stirring campaign that included a roller-coaster 4-3 extra-time loss to the U.S. in the semifinals and a 1-0 win over France in the third-place game.

Herdman will augment the Vancouver camp roster with veterans and NCAA players for next month's International Tournament of Natal 2015 in Brazil where Canada will face Brazil, Mexico and Croatia starting Dec. 9.

The reinforcements include college players Buchanan, Janine Beckie, Ashley Lawrence, Nichelle Prince and Rebecca Quinn as well as veterans Desiree Scott, Josee Belanger and Marie-Eve Nault.

Herdman will hold another camp in January ahead of the Feb. 10-21 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship in Houston and Frisco, Tex.

Canada, ranked 11th in the world, will be competing against the World Cup champion and top-ranked Americans, Mexico (No. …

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