September 11th Edition

Why September could be a program-defining month for CanWNT

Why September could be a program-defining month for CanWNT

It’s the international break, and because we can’t have nice things, apparently, CanMNT is not participating, which has left us a little bit sad and jealous as the rest of the world gets to watch their national teams in action.

Instead, September will be all about CanWNT, as they play a crucially important pair of Olympic qualifiers against Jamaica at the end of the month.

This fall could be another defining moment for the sport in this country. Read more about that in this week’s edition of The Northern Pitch.

Photo: Canada Soccer

Let’s be honest, when Canada lost 1-0 on a late penalty in the final of the 2022 Concacaf W Championship back in July of that year, it still felt like an inevitability that they would qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

To earn their spot, they would have to play a two-legged playoff against Jamaica in September, but that hardly seemed like a contest. After all, Canada had beat Jamaica comfortably 3-0 in the semifinals of that same tournament, and have yet to lose in nine all-time meetings against The Reggae Girlz.

A lot has changed since then, specifically at this summer’s World Cup. Canada, after an ugly group stage, was eliminated. After crowdfunding their way to the tournament itself, Jamaica was one of the tournament's surprises. They drew France and Brazil and beat Panama to shockingly advance out of the group stage before losing to Colombia in the round of 16.

All the pressure will be on Canada when they play on September 22 in Jamaica and September 26 at BMO Field. They have medalled at three straight Olympic games and are the defending Gold Medallists, meaning missing the tournament altogether would be a massive disaster.

The fact that this series is played out over two legs, with the second leg coming in front of what should be a tremendous atmosphere in a sold out BMO Field on September 26, should give Canada a bit of an advantage. There is less opportunity for a fluke result.

This week, we found out the squad that will take on Jamaica, and there were a few changes from the World Cup group. Marie-Yasmine Alidou, now with Benfica, is back in the side, as is Jade Rose, having recovered from an injury that kept her out from the World Cup, while defenders Bianca St-Georges and Sydney Collins are also included.

The GOAT Christine Sinclair still headlines the roster, while Olivia Smith, who just turned 19, is included once again. The full roster can be found by clicking here.

CREDIT: Leicester City FC

Other news this week

😔 Heartbreak as Julia Grosso, Sabrina D’Angelo and Cloe Lacasse won’t be in the Champions League this year. Three major Canadian talents will miss out on this year’s UEFA Women’s Champions League after being knocked out in the first round of CL qualifiers. This includes major European clubs such as Juventus and Arsenal. Sabrina D’Angelo won't be between the sticks for Arsenal, and Cloe Lacasse’s significant transfer from Benfica to the North London club won't include European action this year. Unfortunate news, but Lacasse and D’angelo will kick off their season versus Liverpool on October 1st.

🦊 Deanne Rose signs with Leicester City. After Reading FC were relegated to the Women’s Championship, a move for Deanne Rose seemed like the plausible next step. That’s precisely what happened with Rose signing with Leicester City FC Women. Deanne has signed a two-year contract with the Foxes and is being assigned the #7 jersey. Big move blessed with a symbolic number.

💪 Janine Beckie is back in training after an ACL injury. Ligament injuries are horrifying. Not only is it painful, but the road to recovery is a long one. Janine Beckie was injured during a pre-season training with the Thorns in March. Her injury has ruled her out of the 2023 Women’s World Cup and the 2023 NSWL season. To see the DARBY Magazine cover star return to training is a very welcomed sight. It’s a step closer to recovery, but Janine won’t be able to feature in the Olympic qualifiers versus Jamaica. Her absence was felt in Canada’s World Cup campaign, but potentially having her back for the Olympics will make the Gold medal retention a stronger possibility.

➡️ Michael Petrasso goes on loan to English non-league side Maidstone United. York United announced that their winger, Michael Petrasso, has been loaned out to non-league club Maidstone United. Such a move for Petrasso isn’t new, as he was loaned out to National League side Barnet FC for the 2020-2021 season. With Barnet FC, he registered 10 goals in all competitions. The loan to England will be good for the winger, as he suffered injuries which resulted in 14 features for the nine-stripes. Getting more game time in England will surely increase his confidence and bring him back on track when he returns to York United.

🤔 Southampton competes with Atletico Madrid for Tajon Buchanan's signature. It was reported that Atletico Madrid was attempting to sign the Brampton player on a loan deal with the option to sign permanently next summer. The Spanish heavyweights were in contact with Club Brugge, but financing issues forced the deal to fall through. Unfortunately, Buchanan could’ve been a worthy replacement for the departed Yannick Carrasco. Atleti isn’t giving up on TJ. But to make things interesting, Southampton has entered the chat.

The recently relegated Premier League side is looking to restructure the club after the departure of key players on the wing. Southampton coach Russell Martin has identified Tajon as the best fit for that void left by Ryan Fraser and Tella. However, would Buchanan make a move to a championship side over Atletico Madrid and Champions League action? Seems unlikely. Please note Southampton are also known to export some of their best players to top clubs. Such as Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale, Sadio Mane, and James Ward-Prowse, just to name a few. So, if they were to return to the Premier League, TJ can make an impression in England. A top English club could be looking to sign the Brampton winger.

😕 Saskatoon CPL project put on “indefinite hold.” Saskatchewan will have to wait for a professional soccer team. The main reason for adjourning the discussion of bringing a professional team is purely economic.A 28-million dollar stadium, inflation, high-interest rates, and rising construction costs make this project an unworthy investment. To further add to the mix, there is also a 10-million-dollar lawsuitbetween partners behind the Saskatoon CPL project. To all those in Saskatoon, this is not looking good. If there is any silver lining, League1 will arrive in Saskatchewan in 2025. A push for a CPL franchise in the province, if not Saskatoon, could be plausible if successful. Fingers crossed.

Credit: CPL

⚽️ Jordyn Huitema scores the winner for OL Reign. In the 49th minute, an unmarked Huitema tucked away a goal inside the box against Orlando. With the match ending 1-0 for OL Reign.

⚽️ Dayne St. Clair set up injury time winner. Minnesota United faced New England Revolution at home and were down 1-0 all game. In the 93rd minute, Dayne joined Minnesota’s final corner kick. He went from the club’s #1 to a #10 with a Mesut Ozil-like playmaking assistto solidify a 1-1 draw against New England.

🏆 CS Saint-Laurent qualify for the 2024 Canadian Championship. The club have won the Ligue1 Quebec title on Sunday thus qualifying for the 2024 CanChamps. For all league1 clubs, the CanChamps provides a major opportunity for semi-pro clubs to demonstrate their talents at the elite Canadian footy competition. Moreover, for a club like Saint-Laurent that has produced Ismaël Koné, Moïse Bombito and Mohammed Farsi; this competition will further enhance the profile of the Montreal club as an elite producer of local Québecois talent. Alongside CS Saint-Laurent, other League 1 clubs include Simcoe County Rovers and Victoria Highlanders FC.

CREDIT: Truenorthfoot

Due to the international break, there was no MLS action for any of the Canadian clubs. However, the CPL is still in full motion this week.

🌾 York United hosted Valour at home, with the game ending 3-1 at full-time. Valour came out swinging, scoring a goal in the half and benefitting from a York United red card conceded by Noah Abatneh in the 39th minute. The game quickly became one-sided. York salvaged a goal by Kévin dos Santos in the 87th minute, but damage was further done when Molham Babouli was given a red card in stoppage time. Not a good day for York

🔱 Pacific FC faced Halifax Wanderers at the Starlight Stadium. There has to be a name for this matchup: the Coasts Darby? PAC/ATL Darby? Seafood Darby? Does this game need a name? No, but why not? Anyway, Pacific held a 1-1 draw with the in-form Wanderers. Halifax scored first right before half-time, while Pacific scored an equalizer through a penalty in the 56th minute.

😕 Cavalry FC travelled to Hamilton to face Forge FC. Let’s cut to the chase: This was not the most exciting game. There were no real shots on target, and the attack was missing any bite. The game ended in a nil-nil draw. This is unfortunate for the league’s most exciting sides.

🦅 Vancouver FC hosted the capital city, Atletico Ottawa. VFC could have a better inaugural season, but the three points earned after a 2-1 win over Atletico Ottawa is a breath of fresh air. They demonstrated an effective counter-attack that Ottawa needed an answer for despite the equalizing goal by Ollie Basset after a howler of a mistake by Captain Callum Irving. VFC was able to come out on top with a late goal in stoppage time.

Northern Picks

Gems from at home and across the pond.
This week’s picks come from Aaron Hooper (@theaaronhooper)

Aaron Hooper is an Ottawa based creative, film photographer and YouTube vlogger. Big into food, coffee, travel, community and all things related to football culture especially in Canada.

📚 What to read

So I have to admit I am not the biggest reader but currently their are a couple small books and magazines that have been getting my creative vibes flowing. Firstly, we have to go back to a old classic that the homie Angelo of the Ringleaders had gifted me that keeps me constantly inspired and has for many people for hundreds of years and that is the poems by Rumi from the book “The Pocket Rumi” this one is always by my studio desk and something to look to when you need that boost on those difficult days. As to some magazines ive been really loving “OOF” the art and football magazine, its a special one with cool stories, amazing design and beautiful photography and artwork. Keeps me gaining inspiration for my work.

📺 What to watch

Right now the biggest thing I'm following is Ahsoka Season 1 which has really flung me back into the amazing Star Wars universe and the stories of the Jedi which honestly I loved so much as a kid. Also as creator of YouTube video I love consuming YouTube videos just as much and this week it has all been about this dope football creator from Korea called “JFootballTV” he does these wild and high tempo POV football videos in Korea and in his travels and to be honest seeing football from that angle in these cool places makes me just want to get up and play (which is what usually ends up happening haha).

🎧 What to listen to

Music for me is so important, whether it’s on the O-train, driving or walking through the Glebe in Ottawa before a matchday it is a way to get me locked in. I've been loving this week the new album by Ama Lou “I Came Home Late”, the some Kb9 by Damzz and the song Meridian by Dave & Tiakola (the referenced Ottawa with London and Paris if that's not putting us cities on the same level I don’t know what is haha 👀😏)

✅ Who to follow

There's so many cool creatives that inspire me and love to look at, to be honest there are way too many of them but here’s some I hope that y’all could check out. Firstly the homie @ensemble.fc here from Ottawa has been a big supporter and his photography and design is top notch, his shots from Atletico Ottawa matches documenting the local culture have been fire. Also is also an account by Gildas Messan Awuye that is all about the love of the game and building community to make the game more accessible and I've loved that.

Some other accounts i've been loving to gain inspo from at @SteveBooker, @theringleaders, @artbyjarthur, @thinkpostur, @theculturedivision