Canada’s road to the FIFA women’s World Cup in France begins next week in Spain.
The national team, which includes Burnaby’s Christine Sinclair and Burnaby-trained Julia Grosso, will play exhibition tests against Switzerland and Norway on Jan. 17 and 22 in La Manga, Spain, as they prepare for the Algarve Cup.
The tourney, which starts Feb. 27 in Portugal with Canada facing Iceland, includes seven World Cup-bound teams, including China, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands. Five other teams are also in competition. Canada was a finalist in recent Algarve Cups, winning it all in 2016 and finishing second in 2017.
Sinclair is the national team captain and was Soccer Canada’s choice for 2018 Women’s Player of the Year. She currently ranks second in international all-time scoring with 177 goals, just seven back of all-time scoring leader and American Abby Wambach. The Burnaby South alumna has played 274 international games with the senior national team since 2000.
For the 18-year-old Grosso, this will be added to her nine games experience with the national team. The Vancouver native and midfielder with NCAA Texas Longhorns played a number of years at both Cliff Avenue and Burnaby Girls Soccer Club before moving on to Mountain United and the Whitecaps REX elite girls program.
She joined Sinclair as a member of the CONCACAF team that last October qualified for the World Cup with a 7-0 win over Panama.
The World Cup is scheduled to start June 10, when Canada faces Cameroon.