Canada Soccer's National Teams Year in Review
Posted on 30 December 2019 in Canadian Soccer Association
Canada Soccer's National Teams had another positive year on the international stage with a combined 2019 record of 14 wins, three draws, and seven losses across 24 "A" matches between the Men's National Team and Women's National Team. The year included participation in a seventh-consecutive FIFA Women's World Cup, a quarter-final finish at the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup, and a historic 2:0 win over USA in the group phase of Concacaf Nations League. Jonathan David and Lucas Cavallini set new Men's National Team records for international goals in a season while Women's National Team captain Christine Sinclair moved within two goals of setting a world record for all-time international goals, a record she could set as early as the Concacaf Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament in January/February 2020.
Canada Soccer's Women's National Team
Canada Soccer Women’s National Team took part in the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the seventh time in 2019 and reached the knock-out phase for the third time. It also marked the second time they won six points in the group phase, the first time they opened with back-to-back wins, the first time since 2007 they scored in all three group matches, the first time they beat a Confederation champion at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and the first time they reached the knock-out phase in back-to-back tournaments. Canada ultimately finished in 11th place after a 1-0 loss to Sweden in the Round of 16.
“The highlight of the year was the preparation, participation and performance at our seventh FIFA Women’s World Cup,” said Kenneth Heiner-Møller, Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team Head Coach and Women’s National EXCEL Director. “It was a major disappointment not to advance further than the Round of 16, but the analytics of our performances was positive. At the same time, we continued to solidify our talent pathway through our Regional EXCEL Centres and Super Centres along with their integration to the Women’s National Team. We have an aligned and co-operative system that is very strong across the country, affecting both staff and youth players in each of our centres.”
From FIFA’s detailed review of the 24 finalists at France 2019, Canada led the way in statistical averages for possession (61%), passes (581) and opponents bypassed (419). In a nine-month run after qualifying in October 2018, Canada posted seven wins, three draws and three losses in 13 international matches, with their only losses to the world’s top-three nations USA, Netherlands and Sweden. That string also included a 10-match unbeaten streak, the second longest in program history.
Fullback Ashley Lawrence led Canada in minutes played and assists and was the Canadian Player of the Year for the first time. Goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé tied the Women’s National Team record with eight clean sheets in a single year while Canada’s 10 clean sheets and five consecutive clean sheets were both the second most in program history. Of the 30 players who were part of Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team in 2019, there were 10 players born 1996 or later including four rookies (Jessica De Filippo, Vanessa Gilles, Jade Rose and Olivia Smith) and one debutant (Smith).
Christine Sinclair continued her incredible chase of the world’s all-time international goalscoring record, scoring her 183rd goal in Canada’s last win of the season. Sinclair, who has led Canada in goalscoring in 16 of her 20 seasons, was just two goals away from setting the new record at the end of 2019. She led Canada with six goals in 15 matches and became just one of two players to score in five FIFA Women’s World Cups (both Marta and Sinclair achieved the feat from 2003 to 2019).
Canada Soccer's Men's National Team
It was another leap forward for Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team in 2019, a year that was highlighted by a historic October victory over USA for the first time in 34 years. Canada set or tied Men’s National Team records for competitive wins in a season (six), goals in a season (28), goals at a Concacaf Gold Cup (14), and goals in a home match (six). They also set or tied records for consecutive wins (six) and consecutive games with a goal (13), both set across 2018 and 2019. Across nine matches in Concacaf Nations League and Concacaf Gold Cup action, Canada’s international “A” record was six wins and three losses.
“In a year in which we beat or eliminated Concacaf’s top-three nations across the Men’s National Team and Men’s Youth National Teams (Mexico, USA, Costa Rica), Canada Soccer’s program showed positive progress building towards 2026 while continuing our quest for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar,” said John Herdman, Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team Head Coach and Men’s National EXCEL Director. “We also continued to develop and improve the relationship with our professional clubs and provincial/territorial members across the country, providing a genuine synergy that is helping Canada perform at higher levels on the international stage.”
Lucas Cavallini (eight), Jonathan David (eight) and Junior Hoilett (six) were the first trio of Men’s National Team players to score four or more goals in a year, with both David and Cavallini establishing a new record for goals in a year. Cavallini and David were also the first Men’s National Team players to both score a hat trick in the same match while Hoilett was the first in 27 years to score a hat trick in a home match. Goalkeeper Milan Borjan, meanwhile, was the first to post five shutout wins in a year.
David won the Golden Boot and was named an All-Star at the Concacaf Gold Cup while Alphonso Davies was named an All-Star in Concacaf Nations League A. The teenagers, named Canadian Players of the Year in back-to-back seasons (Davies in 2018, David in 2019), were two of five U-23 aged players that featured in the October victory over USA along with Derek Cornelius, Kamal Miller and Liam Fraser. Of the 40 players who were part of Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team in 2019, there were 11 players born 1997 or later and four debutants (Stephen Eustáquio, Liam Fraser, Richie Laryea, and Kamal Miller).
Canada reached the Quarter-finals of back-to-back Concacaf Gold Cups for the first time since 2009 and finished second in their group of the inaugural Concacaf Nations League A (tied on points with USA, but second on goals difference). In FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings, Canada picked up the most ranking points of any nation in Concacaf Nations League A (19.74 points). Canada also qualified for the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup and the next season of Concacaf Nations League A.
Canada Soccer Year in Review
Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team’s historic 2:0 Concacaf Nations League defeat of rival USA at BMO Field on 15 October has been named as the top 2019 Canada Soccer Moment. The victory marked the first time the Men’s National Team registered a victory over the United States in 34 years.