She was born in the United States and has played all her soccer there, but Rachel Quon has been asked to join the Canadian women’s team for a match against her home country.
Quon was included on Canada’s roster for its sold-out June 2 friendly with the U.S. at Toronto’s BMO Field. Coach John Herdman said Wednesday that Quon has a family connection that allows her to play for Canada and has accepted the invitation, although FIFA must still grant final approval.
Quon is a defender with the Chicago Red Stars in the National Women’s Soccer League and also plays with the United States under-23 team.
“She’s doing well in the pro leagues, she’s young, she fits the profile we’re looking for in that position,” said Herdman.
Born in Lake Forest, Ill., and educated at Stanford where she was named an NSCAA all-American, she played her international junior soccer with U.S. teams including the 2008 under-17 world cup team that finished second in New Zealand.
“Obviously the U.S. has had some interest in Rachel as well,” said Herdman, who nonetheless said he is expecting a favourable decision from FIFA.
“At this stage we’re waiting for the final signoff and fingers crossed it will be all good.”
Quon was the only entirely new face as Canada named its roster Wednesday for the June 2 friendly and, as expected, veterans played a major role.
Striker Melissa Tancredi returns for the first time since the 2012 Olympics and joins 13 other members of that bronze-winning team, even though she hasn’t trained with them lately and had returned to school.
“Melissa will bring in just that real tenacity and toughness,” Herdman said.
“She really relishes these games and while she’s been training diligently off the pitch I think what she’ll bring is what Canada hopes to see in these games, which is that grit and that mental attitude.”
But Herdman insisted he is still focused on the future and building a team for 2015 and the Women’s World Cup, and youngsters Kadeisha Buchanan, Tiffany Cameron and Ashley Lawrence will hold their spots.
Herdman says it’s important for young players to prepare the pressure of playing at home before Canada hosts the Women’s World Cup in 2015. But how much playing time the young players get against the U.S. will depend upon how the game is going.
“Will Kadeisha Buchanan start against the U.S? She may she may not,” Herdman said. “Will Ashley Lawrence get minutes? If the score is 1-0 up with 10 minutes to go we also understand the importance to Canada.”
Only 18 players were named and a 19th must still be selected after one dropout due to family issues.
Canada hasn’t beaten the United States since 2001 and the U.S. is currently ranked No. 1 in the world, so Herdman said it was necessary to field a team that can face that pressure.
“You want to make sure that you’re able to put a really strong team out there that can cope with that experience,” he said.
There is also the added pressure brought on by the desire to avenge the a loss to the United States in Olympic semi-finals. Canada captain Christine Sinclair was issued a four-game suspension for actions toward an official after the match.
The Canadians were winning the Olympic semi-final until a controversial call against goaltender Erin McLeod for holding the ball too long, which started a sequence that led to a 4-3 extra-time loss.
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