As Canada approaches the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the players of the national team are heating up in the NWSL and across Europe.

While many women’s national team players are set to join the Canadian camp ahead of an April 11 friendly against France, labor issues surrounding Canada Soccer loom large, as do injury concerns for star players. .

Still, several Canadians are thriving with their clubs.

The form is strong, but the situation could be better. 25 players will join the Canadian camp, with only one friendly scheduled for the April international window.

Although the players threatened to not show up to camp due to the current employment situation in February, head coach Bev Priestman understands the game will go ahead.

“I understand and I hope the game goes ahead,” he said. “I’ve prepared him to move on.”

Veterans in star form in NWSL

Through two weeks of NWSL play, Canadian veterans Christine Sinclair and Sophie Schmidt have been among the best. This weekend, Sinclair’s Portland Thorns defeated the Kansas City Current 4-1, with Sinclair playing an integral role as an attacking midfielder.

While Sinclair was kept off the scoresheet, he provided three key passes into the final third, the highest-scoring areas of the field, and earned four tackles in 77 minutes of play.

For a Thorns team led by former Canada women’s national team goalkeeping coach Mike Norris, the veteran’s leadership has been instrumental in their early season success.

Portland won its first two games, with Sinclair providing an assist in a less offensive role than in the past.

Janine Beckie, also in Thorns, underwent successful ACL surgery earlier in the week.

The Houston Dash, the most Canadian team in the NWSL, earned their first win of the season on Saturday, when Sophie Schmidt and Allysha Chapman played in a 2-1 win over Bianca St-Georges’ Chicago Red Stars.

Schmidt, a Winnipeg native, and Oshawa’s Allysha Chapman played the entire game, the former regaining possession 23 times for the Dash, who picked up their first win of 2023. Meanwhile, St-Georges sat out due to concussion protocol.

CLOCK | Chapman maintains Houston’s lead with an amazing save:

Canadian Allysha Chapman preserves Dash’s victory with a magnificent save

With the Houston Dash leading 2-1, defender Allysha Chapman of Courtice, Ontario makes an incredible goal-line save with her head to deny Casey Krueger in the 89th minute.

With Seattle’s OL Reign, Chilliwack, BC’s Jordyn Huitema played 87 minutes in a 2-0 win over NY/NJ Gotham, while Newmarket, Ontario’s Victoria Pickett played the final 32 minutes for Gotham.

Quinn was out of Reign’s lineup with a leg injury.

Canada’s first-choice goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan kept up her fine form, making two saves as the San Diego Wave posted their second straight win to open the season, defeating the North Carolina Courage 3-1. Canadian-American double international Sydney Collins made her professional debut, playing the final eight minutes for North Carolina.

Meanwhile, defenseman Gabrielle Carle earned a second start for the Washington Spirit in their 2-2 draw with Racing Louisville.

Off the field, 18-year-old forward Amanda Allen appears to be signing a contract with the NWSL after signing with an agency and leaving Syracuse University.

Two weeks into the 2023 NWSL season, Sinclair, Huitema, Quinn, Schmidt, Carle, St-Georges, Collins and Chapman move on to Canada’s national team camp.

Canadians thriving in UWCL, European leagues

While North American players are still catching up, Canada’s national team members in Europe are reaching the pinnacle of their seasons.

Chelsea’s Jessie Fleming and Kadeisha Buchanan qualified for the UEFA Women’s Champions League semi-finals after eliminating Vanessa Gilles’ Lyon on penalties in the quarter-finals.

Chelsea won the opening game 1-0 and Lyon won the second leg 2-1. After that, however, the penalties fell in favor of the London club.

Fleming scored in the penalty shootout, while Buchanan played the full 120 minutes of the second leg, but did not get a chance to take a penalty kick. Gilles scored in the second leg but will not advance to the Champions League.

On the other side of the UWCL draw, Sabrina D’Angelo’s Arsenal saw off Bayern Munich 2-1 in two legs, with the Welland, Ontario native sitting on the bench in both matches. But she has seen action in the FA Women’s Super League, making four saves in Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Manchester City on Sunday.

With the summer World Cup just around the corner, the upcoming Canadian camp is critical for the coaching staff to get a good indication of where the currently available players are as they try to narrow the pool down to the 23-man roster they will be heading to. to the tournament in July.

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