Starting on February 10, the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament kicks off, with Canada competing on February 11, 14 and 16 to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil. For those unfamiliar with CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football), the Confederation’s primary functions are to organize competitions for national teams and clubs, and to conduct World Cup qualifying tournaments.
The roster John Herdman has put together for the tournament looks a little different then what was seen during the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. There are a number of young and veteran players who will, I imagine, need time to truly gel as a cohesive squad. CONCACAF seems like one of the best ways for Herdman to inspire a shift in the make-up and leadership of the team. Which isn’t to say that Christine Sinclair, Erin McLeod, Diana Matheson and Sophie Schmidt (to name a few) haven’t been leaders throughout their trajectory with the National Team – but it is to congratulate Herdman on developing the program for the future, and not just for the present.
The full roster for the tournament can be dissected here, and if you notice, many players who have been long-standing substitutes and/or starters are no longer part of the core group. I, for one, am excited about this. There are MANY incredible, amazing players who have been overlooked at the National level for all of the typical reasons (politics, convention, strategy, bias), but perhaps those influences are finally falling a little to the wayside.
If you’re keen to catch some (or all) of Canada’s CONCACAF matches, you can stream all Group Stage Matches on CBC Sports. The Knock-Out Stage, Semi-Finals and Final of the tournament will be broadcast live on Sportsnet One. Exciting stuff. Go Big Red Go!