Canada’s coach stays true to World Cup veterans in picking playoff squad

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Canada coach Bev Priestman has remained loyal to her World Cup squad, selecting 21 of the tournament’s 23 players for an Olympic qualifying playoff against Jamaica later this month.

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The Canadian women’s Olympic champion, who fell from seventh to 10th in the world rankings after failing to advance through the group stage in Australia, opens the two-match series on September 22 in Kingston, Jamaica, before four days later 37th ranked Reggae Girlz hosts BMO Field in Toronto.

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Canada has won all nine previous meetings and has outscored the Jamaicans 60-1. But the Reggae Girlz lasted longer at the World Cup, reaching the round of 16 where they were beaten 1-0 by Colombia.

Jamaica defeated Panama 1-0 and drew France and Brazil 0-0 to finish second in their group. Over the course of the tournament, the Jamaicans climbed six places in the world rankings. Canada were eliminated after drawing 0-0 with Nigeria, beating Ireland 2-1 and losing 4-0 to Australia.

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Off the field, the Jamaicans made headlines when Cedella Marley, the daughter of the late reggae giant Bob Marley, raised funds to keep the team afloat.

Priestman has named a 25-man squad, with only full-back Allysha Chapman and midfielder Sophie Schmidt missing from the World Cup squad. The 35-year-old Schmidt, who earned 224 caps for Canada, retired from international play after the World Cup, while the 34-year-old Chapman has not played for the Houston Dash since returning from the tournament.

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Defender Jade Rose, who missed the World Cup due to injury, returns to the squad. The other newcomers are defenders Bianca St-Georges and Sydney Collins and midfielder Marie-Yasmine Alidou.

Alidou attended Canada’s pre-World Cup camp in Australia but did not make the final roster.

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Collins made her senior debut in April in a 1-0 loss to France at Le Mans, Canada’s final World Cup appearance.

Collins is from Oregon and has dual Canadian-American citizenship. Father Brett played three seasons in the NFL as a linebacker with the Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams, while mother Susan played volleyball in Canada.

Collins was selected by the North Carolina Courage in the first round (eighth overall) of the 2023 NWSL Draft out of Cal.

Canada and Jamaica faced off in the Olympic playoffs after finishing second and third, respectively, at the CONCACAF W Championship in Mexico in July 2022.

The United States qualified directly for the Paris Olympics by defeating Canada 1-0 in the final of the CONCACAF W Championship. Jamaica, which lost 3-0 to Canada in the semifinals, beat Costa Rica 1-0 after overtime in the third-place playoff.

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Hosts France, Brazil and Colombia have also already qualified for the 12-team Olympic football field.


Goalkeeper: Sabrina D’Angelo, Arsenal (England); Lysianne Proulx, SCU Torreense (Portugal); Kailen Sheridan, San Diego Wave (NWSL()).

Defender: Kadeisha Buchanan, Chelsea (England); Gabrielle Carle, Washington Spirit (NSWL); Sydney Collins, North Carolina Courage (NWSL); Vanessa Gilles, Olympique Lyonnais (France); Ashley Lawrence, Chelsea (England); Jayde Riviere, Manchester United (England); Bianca St-Georges, Chicago Red Stars (NWSL); Jade Rose, Harvard University; Shelina Zadorsky, Tottenham (England).

Midfielder: Marie-Yasmine Alidou D’Anjou, Benfica (Portugal); Simi Awujo, USC; Jessie Fleming, Chelsea (England); Julia Grosso, Juventus (Italy); Quinn, OL Reign (NSWL);

Midfielder-Forward: Olivia Smith, Sporting CP (Portugal).

Forward: Jordyn Huitema, OL Reign (NWSL); Cloe Lacasse, Arsenal (England); Adriana Leon, Manchester United (England); Nichelle Prince, Houston Dash (NWSL); Deanne Rose, Leicester (England); Christine Sinclair, Portland Thorns (NWSL); Evelyne Viens, AS Roma (Italy).

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