Canadian women's national team head coach Bev Priestman's roster for the June international window was announced on Thursday, ahead of friendlies against the Czech Republic and Brazil on June 11th and 14th, respectively. The matches, to be played in Cartagena, Spain, are a chance to get a look at some players ahead of the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan this summer, and start thinking about who will make the final cut. Here are four takeaways from Thursday's announcement.
RELATED READING: Buchanan returns as CanWNT names squad for June pre-Olympic friendlies
Diana Matheson misses outDespite being one of the most experienced and most successful players the Canadian women's national team has ever seen, Diana Matheson is not in this pivotal squad. The omission also seems to suggest that she won't be on the plane to Tokyo this summer either. The 37-year-old midfielder has over 200 caps for Canada and was a part of the bronze-medal winning sides Canada took to the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, scoring the medal-winning goal against France in 2012. She has dealt with several injuries in recent years, one causing her to miss the 2019 Women's World Cup, and is yet to be called into a camp in the Priestman era.
Lacasse in the squad after impressing in PortugalIt's been a pretty good week for Cloé Lacasse. The 27-year-old striker scored in Benfica's title-clinching victory on Saturday, sealing a league and cup double, and was rewarded with a new contract through the 2024 season. She's been lighting it up since joining the club in 2019, scoring an incredible 37 goals in 36 matches. To top the week off, she got another call up to the Canadian national team. She could win her first cap during June's camp, and absolutely should considering her current form.
Leon, Sheridan, St. Georges back after injuries
Three of the players in this squad are returning after suffering injuries earlier this year. Adriana Leon felt pain in her left foot at the SheBelieves Cup, but played through it, only to discover upon returning to West Ham that she had fractured it, possibly months earlier. She had surgery in March, but missed the end of the Women's Super League season, recently returning to on-field training.
Kailen Sheridan went down with an injury 10 minutes into Canada's first match at the SheBelieves Cup in February. The Gotham FC goalkeeper passed the ball to a teammate before going down in a lot of pain, later revealed to be a right quad injury that required surgery. She played her first game since the injury on May 15th, a 1-0 win over the Houston Dash, before following it up with another clean sheet in her second match on May 22 against Chicago Red Stars. Bianca St. Georges, meanwhile, suffered a knee injury during Canada's training camp leading up to that tournament, and underwent arthroscopic surgery in late February. The defender is yet to make an appearance for her club, NWSL side Chicago Red Stars, this season but has been cleared to play, making the bench for their most recent match against Kansas City. Like Lacasse, St. Georges could win her first senior international cap if she sees the field in either of the two matches.
First-choice centre-back pairing back together again
After missing the past few Canada camps, Kadeisha Buchanan is back in the squad for the first time in over a year (since March 2020), and the first time since Bev Priestman took over as head coach. The Olympique Lyonnais defender, winner of the 2020 Canadian Player of the Year, has often lined up alongside Shelina Zadorsky for Canada over the past few years. With Zadorsky also in the squad, and in good form, it's likely that Priestman puts them back together again in June. Vanessa Gilles is also in the team after several breakout performances in Buchanan's absence. If one of Zadorsky or Buchanan is unavailable, Priestman has a more-than-capable deputy waiting in the wings. Interestingly, Ashley Lawrence is listed among the defenders in this squad. She can be deployed as a midfielder, or at either fullback position, so this doesn't necessarily mean she's going to be used exclusively in the backline.