Priestman Releases Roster For Olympic Qualifier Against Jamaica
Leaving the World Cup the way they did back in July was a tough pill to swallow for Bev Priestman and the entire women’s national team. Priestman even went to Fiji for five days to try and move on.
On Friday, she announced her 25-player roster for the Olympic Qualifier against Jamaica at the end of September in a two-game leg on the road and at home.
“We are motivated because we want to in some way make the wrong right,” she said in her opening statement. “Post-World Cup I have had some really interesting conversations with every single player and even had a player reset meeting. We need to turn the page.”
Jamaica is coming off a very successful World Cup where they reached theRound of 16 and even had a positive result against France, also knocking out a powerhouse in Brazil.
“I do think there are certain aspects that helped the group to learn from that and we have to get back to the values that are associated with this team.”
Canada has a very good record against Jamaica, and in fact is unbeaten with a perfect 9-0 record – most recently beating them 3-0 at the Concacaf W Championship in Mexico last July.
“We need to want it more than Jamaica and that’s what it boils down to a gritty tough performance you expect to see from Canada,” added Priestman.
Despite the fact we saw John Herdman leave Canada Soccer, Priestman confirmed that she is staying and that if her phone rings she has been muting it.
“I am really focused on getting this group to the Olympics. We really want to defend our medal.”
Two notable omissions from the roster are Sophie Schmidt, who did confirm to Priestman she has officially retired from international duty, and Allysha Chapman, who is dealing with a personal issue.
“Sophie is really at peace with her retirement. She feels really comfortable with it and we need to honour that. Allysha is not available after missing a couple of games with her club.”
Priestman was asked based on the fact of their World Cup performance if she would change her gameplan for Jamaica.
“I think they are a different team and they have top players and it is a totally different Jamaica side than what Canada has faced and I expect a difficult game.”
After Canada Soccer announced the men’s team was not going to play the September window due to financial constraints, Priestman was asked about the upcoming windows which she confirmed they plan to play in October and November.
“We are working on that at the moment, but yes we plan to be active in all FIFA windows. We are finalizing plans and one of those windows will be in Canada.”
We also got an update on Desiree Scott, who once again was not named to the roster due to injury.
“It’s been a slow burner for Desi and it was heartbreaking to have the pre-camp and then she was not ready, but she is hell-bent on making this push for the Olympic games. We really missed her.”
Jayde Rose, who unfortunately missed the World Cup due to injury, is back on the roster and I was able to ask Priestman if she is back to 100%.
“Yes, she is working hard and has been playing for Harvard and playing in games and she was a massive loss and I think the team felt it when she got injured in camp so I am over the moon to have her in and she is the heart of the team moving forward.”
I also had a chance to ask her about Sydney Collins, another name we hadn’t seen in quite a while on the roster.
“Sydney was on our wider list but I am super excited about what her potential is and she can play center back or full back and she’s fit and quick and when she has been with us she has been super impressive.”
Canada will face Jamaica in Kingston on Friday, September 22nd before hosting them at BMO Field in Toronto four days later on Tuesday, September 26th.