Canadian Women’s National Team: The Six Greatest Soccer Players

Canadian Women's National Team
Vancouver, BC — June 27: Diana Matheson #8 of Canada high fives fans prior to the start of the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 Quarter Final match between the England and Canada June, 27, 2015 at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images).

The Canadian women’s national team had produced many great players over the years. After the top two players, the choices were extremely hard to make, there is a case for several other players can make this list. However, there is an emphasis on the players who won bronze in both or at least one of the bronze medals in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

Furthermore, there is an emphasis on time with the national team. So, a lot of young players are not going to be on this list like Janine Beckie and Kadeisha Buchanan.

  1. Melissa Tancredi (2004-17)

Melissa Tancredi has played for the Canadian women’s national team for 13 years. In those years, she has scored 27 goals in 125 appearances. She is known for scoring the second-fastest goal in World Cup history, according to olympics.ca. The goal came against Australia in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

She was also the only player from Canada to score in each of the three group stage games in the 2012 Olympics. Most notably, she scored two goals against Germany in the 2016 Olympics. This gave Canada the 2-1 upset win over the Germans in a group stage game.

  1. Diana Matheson (2003-Present)

Diana Matheson is one of Canada’s longest-tenured women’s soccer players. In 206 appearances, she has scored 19 goals. Matheson also has 23 assists, which is tied for second all-time with Rhian Wilkinson. Her first appearance as a Canadian national team player came in the 2003 Algarve Cup. Matheson has been on the national team for over a decade, going on to two decades. She made her first Women’s World Cup appearance with Canada in 2007.

Her most notable goal was the one she scored against France in the 2012 Olympics. This goal gave Canada the win and its first-ever bronze medal.

  1. Karina LeBlanc (1998-2015)

Karina LeBlanc has played 110 games with Canada and is the leader in clean sheets for the Canadian women with 47. According to Neil Davidson of CBC, LeBlanc was the first player to participate in five FIFA Women’s World Cup tournaments. She also played a big role in Canada winning gold at the Pan-Am Games in 2011. This included making two saves off penalties against Brazil.

  1. Erin McLeod (2002-Present)

It was a tough choice choosing between LeBlanc and Erin McLeod. However, in the end, McLeod deserves the number third all-time spot for Team Canada. She has the second most clean sheets in Canadian women’s soccer history with 45, compared to LeBlanc’s 47.

What distinguishes her from LeBlanc was her performance against France in the bronze medal game in the 2012 Olympics in London. This is what Sandra Prusina of Sportsnet said about McLeod.

“Even so, Erin McLeod was outstanding in goal. She kept a potent French offense at bay, as she made save after save in front of 12,465 at Coventry Stadium,” Prusina wrote. “Midfielder Desiree Scott even made a crucial goal-line stop during a scramble in the penalty area. Much of the match was played in the Canadian third and extra time seemed inevitable.”

Matheson may have scored the all-important goal to win bronze, but McLeod was the one who steadied the ship. After an exhausting loss against the Americans in the semifinals, McLeod was the one who helped Canada win the bronze medal game against France.

  1. Charmaine Hooper (1986-2006)

Charmaine Hooper could be considered the “Christine Sinclair of Canada” when she retired in 2006. She had 71 goals and 11 assists. Her assists put her tied for sixth and her goals put her comfortably in second place. She was voted Canadian Women’s Player of the Year in 1994, 1995 and 2002. Furthermore, one of her most famous goals came in the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

In the quarterfinals, Canada faced at that time women’s soccer powerhouse China. Canada shocked China winning 1-0 thanks to an early goal by Hooper. Canada ended up finishing fourth in the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup. This is the best result, to date, in a FIFA Women’s World Cup for Canada.

She also scored two goals in a 3-0 win over the Americans in the 2001 Algarve Cup. This was the last time Canada has defeated the U.S. in a competitive game.

  1. Christine Sinclair (2000-Present)

This should come as no surprise to anyone following Canadian women’s soccer. Christine Sinclair is by far the greatest player Canada has ever produced. She has scored 186 goals — which is an all-time record between male and female players — and had 55 assists in 296 appearances.

This is the most goals and assists in Canadian women’s national teams’ history. Most noticeably she scored a hat-trick in a hard-fought 4-3 loss to the Americans in the 2012 Olympics in the United Kingdom. In 2020, Sinclair scored her 185th goal against St. Kitts and Nevis. This goal meant that Sinclair became the all-time leading scorer in international soccer history.

Top Six Players in Canadian Women’s National Team History

The top six players to play for Team Canada in this article were midfielders, goalkeepers and strikers who made a contribution to the Canadian women’s soccer program. It was easy to identify Hooper and Sinclair as the top two players for the Canadian women’s national team.

However, it was difficult to determine the rest of the list. Other players considered for this list but did not make it includes Sophie Schmidt, Rhian Wilkinson, Kara Lang, Geraldine Donelly and Silvana Burtini.

The future seems bright for Canada, as Jordyn Huitema and Jessie Fleming are emerging as possible replacements whenever Sinclair decides to retire. This is similar to how Sinclair became the main face of Canada when Hooper decided to retire.

However, it is always important to mention the past and players who have contributed to the Canadian women’s national team. This includes the growth seen in the women’s programs’ in the last decade. People who are interested in this article might want to read the Canadian men’s national team and their six best players in Canada.

 

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