John Herdman's side includes numerous young players, as the coach looks to start the women's national team on "a new journey" toward the 2015 World Cup.There is no room for sentimentality in the world of elite soccer, and Canada's latest roster demonstrates that fully.
Barely five months removed from Canada's medal-winning performance in the women's Olympic soccer tournament, head coach John Herdman already has his eyes on the next great challenge: the 2015 Women's World Cup.
With the bigger picture in mind, Herdman has included a slew of youngsters in his 21-woman squad for this month's Yongchuan Cup. The four-nation tournament will pit Canada against host side China, Korea Republic and Norway in a series of tests that Herdman hopes will help him find the next generation of the national side.
"It's a young group," Herdman said on a conference call on Friday. "But we're starting a new journey, and I think when you turn a new page, you start to give new people opportunities.
"I've left some of the senior players at home to make sure that these young players are given a chance to shine."
Of the 21 players on the Yongchuan squad, 12 were part of the team that claimed bronze last summer in London. The remaining nine are either fringe national teamers or completely new to the full international level, something Herdman said was "crucial" to the further development of the team.
Putting more pressure on the youngsters will be the absence of leading scorer Christine Sinclair from the playing field. While the talismanic 29-year-old insisted on participating in the camp, her role will be limited to the sidelines as she is currently serving a four-game suspension from FIFA connected to her comments immediately following Canada's Olympic semifinal loss to the United States.
Herdman noted that Sinclair's presence will still be beneficial even though she can't play.
"Christine wanted to be there," Herdman said. "She knows how important it is from a leadership perspective to really start [the new players] off on the culture and to invest in these younger players. Also, we are starting a new journey tactically, as well.
"We've started to move in a new direction, and Christine doesn't want to miss a minute of that."
Canada opens the tournament against China on Jan. 12 before facing Korea Republic two days later. The final matchday for the Canadians sees them take on Norway on Jan. 16.
Canada roster for Yongchuan Cup
GOALKEEPERS (2): Karina LeBlanc, Erin McLeod
DEFENDERS (7): Kadeisha Buchanan, Shelina Zadorsky, Emily Zurrer, Robyn Gayle, Bryanna McCarthy, Lauren Sesselmann, Rhian Wilkinson
MIDFIELDERS (7): Kaylyn Kyle, Ashley Lawrence, Diana Matheson, Christabel Oduro, Sophie Schmidt, Desiree Scott, Chelsea Stewart,
FORWARDS (5): Tiffany Cameron, Adriana Leon, Nichelle Prince, Jodi-Ann Robinson, Christine Sinclair