Canada Soccer announced on Wednesday the full women's national team squad that will compete next month at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. The 18-player roster, led by Bev Priestman in her first major tournament as Canada's head coach, will take part in a pre-tournament camp before kicking off the competition on July 21. With squads for Olympic competitions significantly smaller than at other tournaments (such as the FIFA World Cup or Concacaf Championship), Priestman was forced to make difficult decisions in cutting down the 28-player group that featured at the women's national team's camp in Spain earlier this month. Canada will be led at the Olympics by familiar veterans, including captain Christine Sinclair, Ashley Lawrence, and Kadeisha Buchanan. In total, Canada will have 12 players in this squad who were part of the bronze medal-winning team at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and 15 returning from the 2019 FIFA World Cup squad. Also in the squad are 24-year-old Évelyne Viens and 25-year-old Vanessa Gilles, both of whom will participate in their first major tournament for Canada after impressing for both club and country over the past year. In total, Canada will have five newly-minted Olympians in this group. "The main thing for me is not to get caught up in the past or the future, what players can or could be," Priestman told reporters on Wednesday. "I needed to use my time in the role, and the way that I want to play, and assess who's performing now. Ultimately we're going to an Olympics that's happening less than a month from now, and I wanted to pick players on form. "To do that, I had to trawl through footage, statistics, and try to get the right blend of experienced legs to get us through the tournament and some youth as well. So we're just trying to get that blend right, but ultimately what it came down to for me is that good feel of who I think can go and change the colour of the medal." Priestman also revealed four players that will serve as alternates in case of injury or illness: goalkeeper Erin McLeod, defender Gabrielle Carle, midfielder Sophie Schmidt, and forward Jordyn Huitema. Certainly, some elements of Canada's squad were surprising. Perhaps the most notable omission was Schmidt, who has 203 caps for Canada dating back to 2005, but Priestman reiterated that she was forced to make difficult decisions due to current form. "It was probably the most difficult call of my career," Priestman said of telling Schmidt that she won't be on the main roster. "It was brave, which is what I'm asking my players to do... [She's] very keen to taken on that alternate role, which by the way is not an easy role to take on particularly when you're a player of Sophie's calibre. Sophie's absolutely devastated as you can imagine, but surprisingly very focused." She added, about another notable player left out: "For [Jordyn Huitema], it was personally a difficult decision for me; all the way through youth, taking her to World Cups earlier, but as I said principally I have to pick on performance and who's on form, who's performed well under my time. Unfortunately I felt that right now the other forwards, if I look at the statistics -- 1v1s, crosses, all these sorts of things -- and it's not the only thing, statistics, that drive it. I pick the most dangerous forwards as of right now, but I've got absolutely no doubt in my mind that in the future, Jordyn Huitema can be an unbelievable player." Across the board, Priestman explained that she expects the four named alternates to play a significant role with the squad, with the experienced players helping to set a standard in training and remaining ready in case of injury. Priestman revealed that the team will depart on Monday for a training camp in Los Angeles, after which they will travel to Japan to commence final preparations -- including a closed-doors friendly match against a "top" nation. Most recently, the Canadian women's national team played a pair of friendlies in mid-June, playing out 0-0 draws with both the Czech Republic and Brazil. They're undefeated in their last four matches, and they haven't conceded a goal in any of them. The Tokyo 2020 women's football tournament will begin July 21, when Canada, eighth in the FIFA world rankings, takes on host nation (and 11th-ranked) Japan in Group E action (6:30 am ET). The Canadians will then go on to play 37th-ranked Chile on July 24 (3:30 am ET), followed by Great Britain on July 27 (7 am ET). Canada has placed third at both of the previous two Olympic tournaments, and they'll be looking for a third straight bronze medal in Tokyo. Canada's full 18-player roster is below.

Canada's Roster

GK- Stephanie Labbé | SWE / FC Rosengård GK- Kailen Sheridan | USA / NJ/NY Gotham FC CB- Kadeisha Buchanan | FRA / FCF Olympique Lyonnais CB- Vanessa Gilles | FRA / FC Girondins de Bordeaux CB- Shelina Zadorsky | ENG / Tottenham Hotspur FB- Allysha Chapman | USA / Houston Dash FB- Ashley Lawrence | FRA / Paris Saint-Germain FB- Jayde Riviere | USA / University of Michigan M- Jessie Fleming | ENG / Chelsea FC M- Julia Grosso | CAN / University of Texas at Austin M- Quinn | USA / OL Reign M- Desiree Scott | USA / Kansas City NWSL F- Janine Beckie | ENG / Manchester City FC F- Adriana Leon | ENG / West Ham United FC F- Nichelle Prince | USA / Houston Dash F- Deanne Rose | USA / University of Florida F- Christine Sinclair | USA / Portland Thorns FC F- Evelyne Viens | USA / NJ/NY Gotham FC ALTERNATES GK- Erin McLeod | USA / Orlando Pride FB- Gabrielle Carle | USA / Florida State University M- Sophie Schmidt | USA / Houston Dash F- Jordyn Huitema | FRA / Paris Saint-Germain

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