Canada names 21-woman roster for FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Costa Rica

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Jade Rose, Olivia Smith and Zoe Burns, who have all won caps at the senior level, will lead Canada at next month's FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica.

The Canadian women qualified in March when they beat Puerto Rico 2-0 in the third-place game at the CONCACAF U-20 Women's Championship in the Dominican Republic.

Rose and Smith have two caps apiece at the senior level while Burns has one. Goalkeeper Anna Karpenko and Nikayla Small, also on the Canadian roster, have been called up by the senior squad but had yet to make an appearance.

"We know that the experience of competing and being exposed to different styles of play is critical for our young players development,” Canada coach Cindy Tye said in a statement. “It will be a great opportunity for this age group to be tested on the international stage and we can’t wait to get started.”

Tye is a former Canadian international who doubles as coach of the Dalhousie women's team.

The Canadian women have been drawn in a group with France, Nigeria and South Korea at the 16-team FIFA U-20 World Cup, which runs Aug. 10-28 with games in San Jose and Alajuela.

Group C will not be easy. France finished fourth, second and third at the last three editions of the FIFA championship and defeated Germany in the final of the 2019 European Women's Under-19 Championship.

Nigeria, runner-up in 2010 and 2014, has advanced to the knockout rounds in seven of its nine trips to the tournament. South Korea was third in 2010 and has made the quarterfinals on two of its four other visits to the championship.

Costa Rica was originally slated to co-host the U-20 event in 2020 along with Panama. The tournament was postponed due to the pandemic with Costa Rica taking over as sole host.

Canada qualified for seven of the nine previous editions of the FIFA U-20 World Cup, finishing runner-up in 2002 when a Canadian team featuring a young Christine Sinclair lost to the U.S. in sudden-death extra time before 47,784 at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium.

That inaugural event was competed at the U-19 level with the event subsequently switching to U-20. The Canadian women failed to qualify for the 2018 U-20 World Cup in France and did not get out of the group stage in 2016 in Papua New Guinea.

Canada hosted the event in 2014, losing to Germany in the quarterfinals.

To be eligible for the Costa Rica event, players must be born in 2002 or later. Canada's 21-woman roster is drawn almost entirely from players at U.S. colleges with payers ranging in age from 17 (Smith and Florianne Jourde) to 20.

It marks the first FIFA youth tournament since the pandemic cancelled global tournaments in 2020 and 2021.

Canada Roster

Goalkeepers: Sierra Giorgio, Syracuse (NCAA); Anna Karpenko, Harvard University (NCAA); Coralie Lallier, NDC-CDN Quebec.

Defenders: Vivianne Bessette, South Florida (NCAA); Brooklyn Courtnall, USC (NCAA); Annika Leslie, West Virginia (NCAA); Mia Pante, Texas A&M (NCAA); Jade Rose, Harvard University (NCAA); Elisabeth Tse, SMU (NCAA).

Midfielders: Simi Awujo, USC (NCAA); Zoe Burns, USC (NCAA); Maya Ladhani, Næstved HG (Denmark); Keera Melenhorst, University of Pittsburgh (NCAA); Nikayla Small, Wake Forest (NCAA); Olivia Smith, Florida State (NCAA); Sonia Walk, Boston College (NCAA); Holly Ward University of Texas (NCAA)

Forwards: Florianne Jourde, NDC-CDN Quebec; Miya Grant-Clavijo, Brown University (NCAA); Kaila Novak, UCLA (NCAA); Serita Thurton, South Florida (NCAA).


This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 22, 2022

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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