Canada captain Christine Sinclair one of 14 Canadians at NWSL Challenge Cup

Canada captain Christine Sinclair one of 14 Canadians at NWSL Challenge Cup

Christine Sinclair leads the list of 14 Canadians taking part in the eight-team NWSL Challenge Cup, which kicks off Saturday in Utah.

The NWSL season was originally slated to start April 18 but has been on hold due to the global pandemic. Still, it is the first North American pro league out of the blocks, despite the loss of one team on the eve of the 23-game tournament.

The Orlando Pride, whose roster includes Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod and defender Shelina Zadorsky, withdrew Monday after six players and four staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

Each team named its 28-woman roster Tuesday. Canada is represented on all eight squads.

The Canadian contingent has a combined 1,155 caps for their country. McLeod and Zadorsky would have added another 184 caps.

Forward Evelyne Viens (Sky Blue FC) and defender Bianca St-Georges (Chicago Red Stars) are uncapped. Viens, a prolific scorer from the University of South Florida, was taken in the first round (fifth overall) of the 2020 NWSL draft while St-Georges, a former Canada under-20 captain, went in the third round (20th overall) of the 2019 draft from West Virginia University.

The opening match pits the defending champion North Carolina Courage against Sinclair’s Portland Thorns FC.

Each club will play three games before the field is seeded for the knockout quarterfinals. The knockout rounds run July 17 to 26.

The matches will be played at Zions Bank Stadium, except for the semifinals and final which will be played on the Utah Royals’ home field at Rio Tinto Stadium.

The players will be sequestered in facilities used by the Royals and MLS’s Real Salt Lake, including a stadium and several training fields. Players and support staff will be housed either in complex dormitories or at a hotel.

Players electing to skip the tournament include U.S. internationals Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Tobin Health (Portland Thorns) and Christen Press (Utah).

“Although I want to be on the field with my teammates doing what I love, because of the uncertainty and risks created by COVID-19 I have chosen not to participate in the NWSL Challenge Cup,” Heath said in a statement.

Press echoed those words.

“It is deeply painful not to be able to play the game I love, and to watch the broader effects of the global pandemic on our league, sports and our world,” she wrote. “Regrettably, given the uncertainty created by COVID-19, I must elect not to participate in this tournament.”

Sky Blue FC star Carli Lloyd will miss the tournament via a knee injury.

Goalkeeper Devin Kerr is included in the Washington Spirit roster. Born in Toronto, Kerr was raised in Barrie, Ont., and represented Canada at the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica.

But since then, the 23-year-old Ohio State product has been part of the U.S. national team program — at the under-19, -20 and -23 levels.

Canadians in NWSL Challenge Cup (with Canada cap count)

Chicago Red Stars: Bianca St-Georges (0).

Houston Dash: Allysha Chapman (75), Maegan Kelly (6), Nichelle Prince (59) and Sophie Schmidt (199).

North Carolina Courage: Lindsay Agnew (14), Stephanie Labbe (72).

OL Reign: Rebecca Quinn (59).

Portland Thorns: Christine Sinclair (296).

Sky Blue FC: Kailen Sheridan (9), Evelyne Viens (0).

Utah Royals FC: Diana Matheson (206), Desiree Scott (156).

Washington Spirit: Jenna Hellstrom (4).

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 23, 2020.

—-

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

soccer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A central Alberta woman is collecting Christmas gift donations for roughly 85 residents at Valleyview Manor in Rimbey. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress)
Rimbey woman gathering Christmas gifts for seniors at Valleyview Manor

Margaret Tanasiuk says she doesn’t want anyone to feel forgotten on Christmas morning

Bids for Kids poster
Wolf Creek Youth Foundation online auction gets ‘overwhelming’ response

Santa’s Bids for Kids auction to benefit youth programs in Rimbey, Ponoka

skip2
Rimbey Christian School students experience the joy of giving

Grades three and four students raised $2,000 for Somalian children

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, confirmed eight additional virus-deaths Monday afternoon including one in central zone. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
New record: Red Deer at 236 active COVID cases

One more death in central zone reported

Janelle Robinson owns and operates Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler. The Ranch, just north of Stettler, is an animal therapy ranch that helps those with special needs and conditions ranging from PTSD to anxiety. Mark Weber/Stettler Independent
Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler provides support through animal interaction

‘I also come from a family of doers - if something that is needed isn’t there, you just figure it out’

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

Paramedics register patients at a drive through, pop-up COVID-19 test centre outside the Canadian Tire Centre, home of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, in Ottawa, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians aren’t currently worried that people in other countries might get a COVID-19 vaccine first. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Canadians not worried other countries will get COVID-19 vaccine first: poll

Forty-one per cent of respondents say they want the vaccine to be mandatory for all Canadians

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Executive Director and Co-Founder of Rock Soup Craig Haavalsen is sleeping in a tent outside Rock Soup’s location until the Go Fund Me for Rock Soup raises $10,000. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Putting normalcy into asking for help: New non-profit sets up in Wetaskiwin

Rock Soup non-profit is a new secular Food Bank putting down roots in Wetaskiwin.

Wetaskiwin Composite High School. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools prepare for transition back to online learning

Grades 7-12 will are mandated to transfer to online learning starting Nov. 30, 2020.

Lawyer Devon Page, Ecojustice Canada’s executive director, pauses during a news conference in Vancouver on Wed., Sept. 26, 2012. The environmental law group has lost its bid to pause Alberta’s inquiry into where critics of its oil and gas industry get their funding. Ecojustice sought an injunction this summer to suspend the inquiry, headed by forensic accountant Steve Allan, until there is a decision on whether it’s legal. nbsp;THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Judge tosses application to pause Alberta inquiry into funding of oil and gas foes

Ecojustice sought an injunction in the summer to suspend the inquiry

Janelle Robinson owns and operates Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler. The Ranch, just north of Stettler, is an animal therapy ranch that helps those with special needs and conditions ranging from PTSD to anxiety. Mark Weber/Stettler Independent
Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler provides support through animal interaction

‘I also come from a family of doers - if something that is needed isn’t there, you just figure it out’

A pedestrian makes their way through the snow in downtown Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Wild winter, drastic swings in store for Canada this year: Weather Network

In British Columbia and the Prairies, forecasters are calling for above-average snowfall levels

Most Read