April 1st Edition

CanWNT are heading to 2024 SheBelieves Cup

Exactly a month after a heartbreaking defeat to the United States at Snapdragon (aka splash pad) Stadium in the Concacaf W Gold Cup, the Canadian women’s national team are back in action this coming Saturday.

They take on Brazil for the 106th time in the past two years (it’s actually the tenth time since 2020, which is still ridiculous) to kick off the 2024 SheBelieves Cup.

A full preview for that tournament, plus a brand new ‘Games of the Week’ section and more headlines from the week that was in Canadian footy ahead in The Northern Pitch.

P.S. keep an eye out for our subscriber survey dropping next week with a little giveaway too!



🇨🇦 CanWNT announce squad for SheBelieves Cup

Graphic: Canada Soccer

The Canadian women’s national team are Atlanta-bound for the 2024 SheBelieves Cup as they continue key preparation for the Paris Olympics against some top opposition.

Things are certainly a lot more positive heading in than last year’s tournament, which was effectively played under protest due to ongoing CBA negotiations between the CanWNT and Canada Soccer — with the federation threatening to sue players if they did not play the matches. Canada lost 2-0 to the United States and 3-0 to Japan, beating Brazil 2-0.

Under a different format this year, Canada plays a semi-final against Brazil on Saturday. Depending upon those results, they will face either Japan or the United States in a third-place game or tournament final.

The squad features two ‘new faces’ from the W Gold Cup roster. After recovering from injury, national team veterans Janine Beckie and Desiree Scott are back in the mix — replacing the now-injured Nichelle Prince and Jayde Rivière.

Both Beckie and Scott have had excellent starts to the NWSL season with Portland Thorns and KC Current, respectively, and will now push to get themselves on the exclusive 18-player list heading to Paris.

Also notably missing from the SheBelieves roster is forward Marie-Yasmine Alidou, who was a late injury replacement from Rivière at the W Gold Cup. Especially considering Prince isn’t available, it seemed like an ideal time to give Alidou a shot at the striker position. Alidou, who has 25 goals this season for Benfica, including nine in UCL competition, feels really hard done by recent selection decisions.

In a perfect world, Canada win on Saturday and set up a rematch with the United States on Tuesday (April 9) in Columbus. Having a chance to get another crack against their rivals to the south—this time hopefully on dry land—would be huge as they continue preparations for the Olympic Games.

This will be another critical preparation camp for the team and a chance for Bev Priestman to make some further, very difficult decisions on who will be on the plane to Paris. Reading between the lines, it seems like more could be on the way in terms of both friendlies and maybe even a home match before the team departs for France.


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🏟️ Atlético Ottawa are moving mad

Photo: Atlético Ottawa

They may be named after their parent club, Atlético Madrid, but Atlético Ottawa has been moving more like Real this CPL off-season, signing some of the biggest names around the league as they look to rebuild after a disappointing 2023 season.

It started with the signing of CPL: U-21 Player of the Year Matteo de Brienne, then added Goalkeeper of the Year nominee Rayane Yesli, York United leading goalscorer Kévin Dos Santos, former Forge midfielder Aboubcar Sissoko, Canadian international Kris Twardek, and the return of Ballou Tabla.

This past week, Ottawa went even bigger with the signing of Manny Aparicio, who is one of the top players in the league. The former Pacific FC player has been nominated for the league’s Player of the Year award for two straight seasons.

There is also rumoured to be even more on the way, as Amer Didić was with the club during preseason. Add that to Golden Boot winner Ollie Basset, former Real Zaragoza captain Alberto Zaparter, and goalkeeper Nate Ingham, and this might be the best CPL side ever assembled on paper.

TD Place will be rocking this season, which kicks off on April 13. Atlético Ottawa also host Valour in the opening round of the Canadian Championship on May 1st — a competition in which they will be looking to go deep.


Photo: Arsenal Women

🅰️ Arsenal defeated Chelsea in the Conti Cup final. London is red. Arsenal women defeated Chelsea 1-0 in the Conti Cup final. Cloé Lacasse started for the Gunners, while CanWNT teammate Kadeisha Buchanan featured in the starting lineup for the West London club.

👏 Cloé Lacasse is the Arsenal Player of the Month. No matter where she goes, it seems like this award will have Lacasse on the mantle. The Sudbury forward has earned Arsenal’s Player of the Month.

🩼 Lorenzo Insigne is injured. Just when things started to look up, the soccer gods handed TFC supporters some worrying news. The big man from Naples has picked up an injury. Toronto gaffer John Herdman revealed that the winger will be out for six weeks due to a hamstring injury.

😔 Marie-Yasmine Alidou and Benfica were eliminated in UWCL. Benfica headed into the second with a 2-1 deficit on aggregate against French giants Lyon. Benfica walked away with another loss, going down 4-1. The silver lining is that Marie-Yasmine Alidou scored the only goal for Benfica. That was her 9th goal in 11 CL matches.

💸 Kevin Blue talks about Canada Soccer's finances. Since becoming CEO, Blue has been adamant about resolving the financial issues that have mired the association. Blue has publicly released Canada Soccer's financial forecast, which highlights an operating deficit of $4 million in 2024 on a total expense of $30 million. His task is to find solutions for generating revenue and raising funds for the purpose of maintaining a sustainable business model. Moreover, Blue stated that Canada Soccer would direct additional funding into Project 8’s pro women’s soccer league. Blue also stated that he will engage with stakeholders, CSB and national team players about the future of Canadian soccer. Kevin has a lot on his plate but does not seem delusional. He understands the assignment and seems to be approaching the problems pragmatically.

🇮🇹 Julia Grosso scores a banger for Juventus. Want to see something cool? Check out this goal by Julia Grosso’s beautiful top-bins curler against Fiorentina. The Bianconere defeated the away team 4-0. Also, the Canadian midfielder has reportedly become a transfer target of Manchester United and Real Madrid. If she continues scoring finesse goals like those, Grosso will be moving out of Italy soon.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿Theo Bair back in the goals. The Canadian forward scored Motherwell’s equalizing against St Mirren. This goal has made Theo Bair the highest-scoring Canadian in top-flight Scottish football in a season. This is his 12th goal of the season, beating the previous record of 11 goals set by Scott Arfield. FEED. THE. BAIR.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Leon scores against Leicester. Want to see another goal? Adriana Leon and Aston Villa hosted Deanne Rose and Leicester City. Leon scored the game's opening goal, while Rose could not find the back of the net. The game ended 2-2 at full-time.

😎 Shaffelburg playmaking for fun. The Nova Scotian has had a decent week or two. Scoring against Trinidad & Tobago, confirming Canada’s qualification into Copa America. He also picked up two assists in Nashville’s 2-2 draw against MLS champions Columbus Crew. The man is in form and making a case that perhaps he should be starting for CanMNT. Continue balling lad.

Photo: Forge FC

🔨 Forge FC dropped new kits. We rate this one. The most successful CPL club has released their new kits, with the home kit filled with abstract geometric shapes. While the away kit is crispy white, you could wear it casually on a patio during the summer.

🔱 Pacific FC have signed U20 defender Christian Greco-Taylor. With the CanMNT U20 fullback acquisition, Pacific have bolstered their squad. The 19-year-old Calgary defender has signed a two-year contract with an option for 2026.

👥 CF Montréal officially sign Alessandro Biello and Matteo Schiavoni. As stated in last week’s edition, two MTL yutes were reported to sign a pro contract, and it finally happened. Some people will say Alessandro Biello has benefited from his father’s status in MTL. The truth is, this young man is a baller, and we at Northern Pitch have seen him play live. Stand out solid CM. Meanwhile, Matteo Schiavoni spent a season in the Bologna youth system and has earned his first pro contract. He has been immediately loaned out to Forge FC. CF MTL exporting youth to the CPL has proven to be a winning formula.

Photo: Hanin Mazri / DARBY

🔵 CF Montréal burned at the last minute. CFM enjoyed a two-week break after the controversial reffing at Chicago. Unfortunately, this time, CFM lost out to DC United by conceding a late-game goal in the 85th minute. The game ended 1-0 for the home side. You can’t win them all, but despite the loss, the performance of this MTL team is showing signs of promise. The season is still early.

🔴 TFC handed an L at BMO Field. It wasn’t pretty for TFC this weekend. Sporting KC travelled north and did the job at BMO. It doesn’t help that Insigne is out on an injury, and his absence was felt. However, that didn’t change the fact that Sporting KC decided to score bangers only. This game exposed TFC’s defence and the gaps they must address collectively. The away team walked away with a 3-1 at full-time.

🌊 It’s Cascadia time, baby. Vanni Sartini is reminding everyone why he’s the right man for Vancouver. The Whitecaps hosted Cascadia rivals Portland Timbers at BC Place. The away team featured Kamal Miller, Zac McGraw and former Whitecaps #1 Maxime Crépeau in the starting lineup. This was a high-scoring affair as Vancouver defeated Portland 3-2, with Ryan Raposo scoring the winner in the 87th minute. The Caps are again proving themselves to be the most consistent Canadian side in MLS.

Games of the week

📺 What we’ll be watching

A new weekly feature where we highlight some must-watch games each week!

Serie A 🇮🇹
Inter Milan vs Empoli (Mon @ 2:45 pm)
Tajon Buchanan (Inter)

Ligue 1 🇫🇷
Lille OSC vs Olympique de Marseille (Fri @ 3:50 pm)
Jonathan David (Lille)

SheBelieves Cup 🏆
Semi-finals: Canada vs Brasil (Sat @ 3:30 pm)

*all times are ET


This week’s picks come from Noémie Beaumier-Turan. Melek is a DJ, curator, and graphic designer at Musik Me Luv. Montréal-based and plays for The Ringleaders Football Club.

📺 What to watch

If you haven't had the chance to watch The Dark Match by Stukely & RFC and Diadora, I recommend it!

🎧 What to listen to

Here are my top three mixes of the moment: RAEF on the lot radio, MIASALAV for Radio Armable, and San Sarafina at Boiler Room: Moonshine. These three mixes combine many of the sounds I love at the moment. An all-time favourite would be Nia Archives at the London Boiler Room. This one is a no-brainer!

🛍️ What to buy

Everything from Estudio Niksen, a Montreal-based studio that recently started doing their own Mainline Product. All pieces are top quality and made with extra love by Andres & Gabrielle. You can’t go wrong!

Who to follow

The Ringleaders: Angelo, Gildas Messan Awuye, J. Arthur, and many more creatives in the RFC club I’ve had the chance to work with or witnessed in the past few years. It’s been inspiring to be a part of this amazing club.

You can follow Melek on Instagram here.