The Washington Spirit’s Canadian trio - goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe, center back Shelina Zadorsky, and recent draft pick Lindsay Agnew - have been called up by the Canadian women’s national team for their upcoming Bronze Medal Celebration match. Canada will face Mexico on February 4th at Vancouver’s BC Place and in a closed-door game three days later.
Having players called up for Canada is nothing new for the Spirit, who have had multiple members of the Canadian WNT on their roster over the years. Diana Matheson, recently traded to Seattle Reign FC, had been with the club since its inception. In 2013 she was joined by defenders Candace Chapman and Robin Gayle. Chapman retired at the end of 2013, and Gayle left the club after the 2014 season, leaving Washington with only one Canadian in 2015. However, last season Labbe and Zadorsky were signed, and the trio were all regulars for the side that won the bronze in the Rio Olympics.
Canada’s federation is using this friendly both as a belated celebration of that success and as a farewell match for three retiring players. Melissa Tancredi, Rhian Wilkinson, and Marie-Eve Nault are all stepping away from professional soccer, and the game against Mexico will mark their final appearance for their national team.
Labbe was the starter in Rio, but she has a tough fight on her hands to keep the job. Sabrina D’Angelo - the goalkeeper whose penalty kicks saves thwarted Washington’s NWSL championship hopes - is pushing to become the #1, while Sky Blue FC draft pick Kailen Sheridan is considered a strong up-and-coming talent.
Zadorsky, meanwhile, remains a presumptive starter. She seems like a lock to start this game, particularly with Kadeisha Buchanan - who recently signed with Olympique Lyon in France - unavailable due to league commitments.
Agnew, meanwhile, has never been capped for Canada. However, despite spending a large chunk of her youth living in Ohio, she’s a long-time member of the Canadian youth set-up, and has spent plenty of time with the program’s under-17 and under-20 teams. Agnew will be one of thirteen players aged 21 or younger in head coach John Herdman’s squad of twenty-six.