Year in Review: Women’s National Team

With 53,058 in attendance and the world watching, Christine Sinclair’s winning goal was Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team moment of the year.

The moment — in added time of Canada’s opening match of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015, Christine Sinclair slots home her right-footed penalty past a diving Wang Fei into the bottom left corner of the net. A packed Commonwealth Stadium erupts as Canada takes a 1-0 lead and Christine Sinclair fist pumps her way to a congratulatory hug with jubilant head coach John Herdman.

With 53,058 in attendance and the world watching, Christine Sinclair’s winning goal was Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team moment of the year.

“It was an amazing atmosphere to go out and play this opening match of the World Cup in front of 50,00+ fans,” said teammate Sophie Schmidt. “The Chinese sat back and challenged us to come at them, but finally something went our way. Then Sincy, Oh Captain my Captain, came through and I’m just glad she put that in.”

Canada’s run at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015 lasted three weeks, with a record-setting 54,027 at BC Place applauding Canada in the quarter-final stage on 27 June. During their run, Canada won Group A before defeating Switzerland and falling to England in the knock-out phase. Canada’s sixth-place finish was their second-best finish in six trips to the FIFA Women’s World Cup finals.

Along with quarter-final finishes at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Costa Rica 2014 and FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2015, Canada was the only nation in the world with top-8 finishes at FIFA’s three women’s competitions in 2014-15.

Christine Sinclair scored two goals and one assist at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015, improving her career totals to nine goals and three assists in 17 matches. During the full 2015 calendar year, Sinclair led Canada with 10 goals and four assists in 18 international matches, improving her all-time record to 158 goals in 232 matches.

Her most recent goal equalised Mia Hamm for second all time among international footballers.

While Sinclair captured the top moment, the program continued its progress with stellar years by a cast of veterans, mixed in with some notable debuts before year’s end. In all, Canada featured 37 different players, with Sinclair (1,578) and Kadeisha Buchanan (1,506) the leaders in minutes played. Eleven different players scored international goals for Canada, with 24 goals scored and just 10 goals conceded.

Canada’s goals-against average of 0.56 per match set a record for lowest in Women’s National Team program history, with all-world defender and BMO Canadian Player of the Year Buchanan leading the defence. Buchanan won the FIFA Women’s World Cup Best Young Player award and was the lone centre back in the top-10 candidates list for FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year prize.

In goal, Erin McLeod posted seven clean sheets, just one shy of the record shared by her (2013) and Karina LeBlanc (2010).

In 2015, LeBlanc made her last international “A” appearance for Canada, leaving international football as Canada’s all-time leader in goalkeeper appearances (110) and clean sheets (47). Erin McLeod passed one of those marks with her last two matches of the year (112 matches), but still chases the record for clean sheets (41 and counting).

As for other milestones, both Melissa Tancredi and Kaylyn Kyle made their 100th appearances for Canada, while teenagers Gabrielle Carle, Kennedy Faulknor, Marie Levasseur, and Deanne Rose all made their debuts. In Faulknor and Rose, it marked the first time two Canadian 16-year old debuted in the same match (9 December), with Faulknor in fact the youngest centre back in program history.

During the course of the year, Canada also posted their 150th international victory, improving their all-time record to 155 wins, 47 draws, and 137 losses. In 339 international matches, Canada has faced 52 different opponents and played in 28 different countries. At home, Canada’s record is 36 wins, 9 draws, and 23 losses in 68 matches.

Guidelines for the Return to Soccer

Canada Soccer outlines return to soccer guidelines. The return to soccer guidelines provide member organizations with a five-step process, including a checklist of weighted questions known as the Return to Soccer Assessment Tool.