Difficult Decisions: Bev Priestman On Naming World Cup Roster
Due to the time difference between Canada and Australia, ten hours after naming her Women’s World Cup roster, Bev Priestman, Christine Sinclair, and Simi Awujo finally met the media.
“This team is no longer just about Christine Sinclair”, Priestman responded in her question about her star player and how she will be utilized playing in her sixth World Cup.
“We got the depth across the forward line and the midfield line to not rely on a single person for every single minute of this tournament, but she is critical for this team’s success.”
Since the decision was made to not name Desiree Scott to the lineup, she was asked if Ashley Lawrence could be used in that aspect.
“Not at this stage, I think the midfield depth and the forwards that can drop into the midfield is what has made this group dynamic, people playing across multiple positions, and I think that is what this team needs.”
Priestman was asked about her number one keeper in Kailen Sheridan and how to manage her confidence level.
“I think she has acquired that over time, and I think when you step into a number one spot and on the back of Steph Labbe’s performance at the Olympics, that’s the missing piece… and Kailen has grown in that area.”
She did confirm that both Nichelle Prince and Deanne Rose, who came back from injury to make the team, are ready to be used in game situations.
“Both can be used now, it’s just a case of how many minutes, but both are critical – 163 caps between them, four medals two each, you have to take them.”
One major difference this time around is that instead of being alone in Tokyo in empty stadiums they will be in Australia surrounded by their friends and family who will make the trip to support them.
“I think the main reason why these players are here is because of the support and their family and knowing what it means to play for their family and that jersey. We are ready to go.”
Cloe Lacasse will be making her World Cup debut in Australia, and Priestman was asked about the expectations she has for her for the tournament.
“I think she will have a pivotal role. We have all seen her growth and now she has that many apps and experiences, and she’s thriving. She’s dangerous and anytime she’s on the pitch she makes things happen. Her confidence is growing and she is an integral part of the chemistry.”
I had the opportunity to ask Priestman about how close it was for Clarissa Larisey, who wasn’t able to make it to camp due to playing in Sweden. She admitted that it was not an easy decision.
“It was a very difficult call and I was really clear with Clarissa from the outset and it was very difficult for her not to be released before the date. She has a bright future.”
I also had the chance to ask her about Olivia Smith and the plan for her, being that she is only 18 years old and it will also be her first World Cup with the senior team.
“She’s young, but she has some grit. She has been in our youth system and she’s played in [youth] World Cups and she was critical last time out. She has been with this team before and she has been outstanding.”
Desiree Scott was a name a lot of fans were hoping to see play but after the confirmation that she wasn’t ready to come back. Priestman confirmed that it was the hardest thing she has done so far.
“It was absolutely heartbreaking for me as a coach because I have seen the effort and the work to try and get back, and to know what she is to this team… that was a very difficult move.”
Another first-timer will be Simi Awujo and I was able to ask her about her reaction to finding out she had made the team.
“It feels great, to be here is everything I have ever dreamt of,” she replied.
Christine Sinclair confirms she is feeling fully fit and ready to go when the tournament kicks off.
“I am ready to go”, Sinclair answered. “It’s been a good year so far and I am ready to see what this team is capable of at the World Cup.”