Buchanan, Lawrence named to Canada’s Olympics squad

Gold and Blue Nation

Two former Mountaineers will head to Tokyo as part of Canada Soccer’s Women National Team for this summers Olympic Games after they were named to the official roster on Wednesday.

Defenders Kadeisha Buchanan and Ashley Lawrence have become key pieces to their country’s squad, combining for 198 caps since 2013. This will be both players’ second run at the Olympics after helping take Canada to a bronze medal at Rio’s 2016 games — the team’s second straight Olympic medal.

“For me, team selection was a question of picking the right blend of players across the pitch, so that we can progress through the six games at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament ready to win,” said Coach Bev Priestman in a statement. “I know these players will do everything in their power to make Canada proud. With hard work, the right mindset and a strong belief in our individual and collective ability, Canada can give any team a really difficult game and ultimately succeed in the Olympic Games.”

Buchanan has long been a star for Canada. She became an international name at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup when she earned the tournament’s Best Young Player award, while finishing as a candidate for Women’s Player of the Year that season. Since then, she has thrice been named Canadian Player of the Year, most recently earning the title in 2020.

In her professional career, Buchanan has established herself as a force for French powerhouse Olympique Lyonnais, becoming the first Canadian to win the UEFA Women’s Champions League in 2018 (the first of three UCL titles in her career). Lyon have won a total of nine trophies with Buchanan on the roster.

Right by her side, Lawrence has also become a Canadian mainstay both internationally and professionally in France. In 2016, she was named to the CONCACAF Best XI as a defender, while earning two Canada Player of the Month honors in her career.

Lawrence plays for another French powerhouse, Paris Saint-Germain, and has also become a key piece to their squad. PSG have perennially been runners-up to Lyon in France’s Division 1, but they cracked the glass ceiling in the most recent 2020-21 campaign by taking the title by a point.

Lawrence and Buchanan will continue the long history of WVU women’s soccer on the international stage when they kick off in Tokyo. They are respectively the third and fourth Mountaineers to debut for their countries, and the third and fourth to do so for Canada. This June, they took the field with former teammate Bianca St. Georges when she made her Canada debut against the Czech Republic. St. Georges, who competes for the Chicago Red Stars, was not named to the Olympic squad.

Canada is one of 12 teams to qualify for the Tokyo games, and they will compete in Group E against Great Britain, Chile and the hosts, Japan. The tournament begins on July 21 when Great Britain and Chile kick it off at the Sapporo Dome, followed by a clash between Canada and Japan.

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