April 16th, 2024

Scott, Beckie rejoin Canada for SheBelieves Cup after long knee injury layoffs

By Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press on March 28, 2024.

Australia's Sam Kerr, left, and Canada's Desiree Scott compete for the ball during a friendly soccer international between Canada and Australia in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022. Scott and Janine Beckie return to the national team after lengthy knee injury layoffs to join Canada at next month's SheBelieves Cup.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Rick Rycroft

Desiree Scott and Janine Beckie return after lengthy knee injury layoffs to join Canada at next month’s SheBelieves Cup.

The four-team tournament, which runs April 6-9 in Atlanta and Columbus, also features the fourth-ranked U.S., No. 7 Japan and No. 10 Brazil.

The 36-year-old Scott earned the last of her 186 Canada caps in November 2022 in a 2-1 win over Brazil. Like Beckie, the Kansas City Current midfielder missed the 2023 NWSL season after knee surgery.

The 29-year-old Beckie, who has 36 goals in 101 appearances for Canada, underwent surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee after going down in a Portland Thorns pre-season game in March 2023,

Both players joined the Canada squad in December ahead of a pair of B.C. friendlies against Australia that marked the international swansong for longtime captain Christine Sinclair. They did not see action but continued their “return to play” protocols with the squad.

Earlier this month, Beckie celebrated her return to action with a pair of goals in a losing cause as Portland lost 5-4 to Kansas City in their NWSL regular-season opener.

Scott remains on Kansas City’s injured list.

The Canadian women face Brazil on April 6 while the U.S. plays Japan. The winners meet three days later to decide the title while the losers face off for third place.

Priestman named 23 players for the SheBelieves Cup, a roster she will have to trim to 18 for the Paris Olympics where Canada will open defence of its title in Group A alongside No. 3 France, No. 23 Colombia and No. 28 New Zealand.

Adding to the potential Olympic player pool are Sydney Collins, Nichelle Prince and Jayde Riviere, who are unavailable for the SheBelieves Cup due to injury.

“Now that we know our Olympic path and with the Games getting closer, everything we do now is with Paris 2024 in mind,” Priestman said in a statement. “Our recent W Gold Cup tournament experience was critical in the development of how we play, roster evolution and tight turnaround processes and the SheBelieves will continue to build on that.”

Canada made it to the semifinals of the W Gold Cup, losing 3-1 to the U.S. in a penalty shootout after extra time finished knotted at 2-2.

Adriana Leon was the tournament’s leading scorer with six goals while Olivia Smith won the Best Young Player Award. Leon, midfielder/captain Jessie Fleming and fullback Ashley Lawrence were named to the tournament’s Best XI.

Beckie joins a well-stocked attack that also includes Leon, Smith, Jordyn Huitema, Cloe Lacasse, Clarissa Larisey, Deanne Rose and Evelyne Viens.

The roster features nine players from the NWSL, 12 from teams in Europe (including from England) and two from NCAA ranks.

Canada has an 11-11-9 all-time record against Brazil. The teams last met in a pair of friendlies in October with Brazil winning 1-0 in Montreal and Canada winning 2-0 in Halifax.

it marks Canada’s third trip to the SheBelieves Cup.

The Canadian women finished fourth at 1-2-0 in 2023 during the height of labour unrest with Canada Soccer. The Canadian women were third in 2021, also at 1-2-0.

The tournament is tied to the SheBelieves campaign, originally launched in the run-up to the 2015 Women’s World Cup “to encourage young women and girls to reach their dreams, athletic or otherwise.”

Priestman hopes to play four more games after the SheBelieves Cup in advance of the Olympics.

Canada

“‹Goalkeepers: Sabrina D’Angelo, Arsenal (England); Lysianne Proulx, Bay FC “‹ (NSWL); Kailen Sheridan, San Diego Wave (NSWL).

“‹Defenders: Kadeisha Buchanan, Chelsea (England); Gabrielle Carle, Washington Spirit (NSWL); Vanessa Gilles, Olympique Lyonnais “‹(France); Ashley Lawrence, Chelsea (England); Jade Rose, Harvard (NCAA); Bianca St-Georges, North Carolina Courage (NSWL); “‹Shelina Zadorsky, West Ham (England).

Midfielders: Simi Awujo, USC (NCAA); “‹Jessie Fleming, Portland Thorns “‹ (NSWL); Julia Grosso, Juventus (Italy); Quinn, Seattle Reign “‹ (NSWL); Desiree Scott, Kansas City Current (NSWL).

Midfielder/Forward: Olivia Smith, Sporting CP “‹(Portugal).

Forwards: Janine Beckie, Portland Thorns (NSWL); Jordyn Huitema, Seattle Reign “‹ (NSWL); Cloe Lacasse, Arsenal (England); Clarissa Larisey, BK Häcken FF “‹(Sweden); Adriana Leon, Aston Villa (England); Deanne Rose, Leicester City (England); Evelyne Viens AS Roma (Italy).

Follow @NeilMDavidson on X platform, formerly known as Twitter

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 28, 2024

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