TORONTO — It looks like Canada will be without star goalkeeper Erin McLeod as it bids to return to the Olympic podium in women’s soccer this summer.
Canadian coach John Herdman says the 33-year-old from St. Albert, Alta., is "very doubtful" for the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro in August after injuring her anterior cruciate ligament playing for her Swedish club team last week.
"There’s still work to be done (in Sweden) in terms of developing full understanding and decisions," Herdman said Thursday. "She’d be doubtful for the Olympics for sure. That’s pretty much what we’re aware of at the minute. It’s very doubtful for the Olympics."
That is a big blow to Canada. A key member and leader on the Canadian team, McLeod has won 115 caps with 43 of those appearances resulting in shutouts. Herdman considers her to be the best women’s ‘keeper in the world.
McLeod helped Canada win bronze at the 2012 Games in London.
The injury, the third ACL injury to the same knee, occurred on a seemingly innocent play March 23 in the first leg of the UEFA Women’s Champions League quarter-final between FC Rosengard of Sweden and FFC Frankfurt of Germany. McLeod went down after kicking the ball and was taken off in the 13th minute.
Rosengard lost the game 1-0 and exited the competition after the second leg Wednesday, losing 5-4 on penalties after the quarter-final finished tied 1-1 on aggregate. Canadian international Sophie Schmidt scored for Frankfurt in the penalty shootout.
FC Rosengard officials did not respond to questions from The Canadian Press. Herdman was waiting for more information from Sweden.
But The Canadian Press has learned that McLeod’s ligament is not totally torn. The options include surgery or trying to strengthen the knee via strapping and playing on. That runs the risk of further damage, however.
"It is supposed to be hard, if it wasn’t hard then it wouldn’t be worth it," McLeod tweeted earlier this week. "In my heart I know this is just another test 2 c what I’m made of."
The Canadian Soccer Association said McLeod is still assessing her options.
Canada named goalkeepers Stephanie Labbe and Sabrina D’Angelo on its 19-woman roster for an April 4-12 camp and April 10 friendly against the Netherlands in Eindhoven.
All 19 Canadian players named for the Dutch game were part of the team that won the Algarve Cup in early March.
The roster includes defenders Kadeisha Buchanan and Rhian Wilkinson, midfielders Diana Matheson, Desiree Scott and Schmidt and forwards Christine Sinclair and Melissa Tancredi.
Goalkeepers: Stephanie Labbe, Edmonton, Washington Spirit; Sabrina D’Angelo, Welland, Ont., Western New York Flash.
Defenders: Kadeisha Buchanan, Brampton, Ont., West Virginia University; Rebecca Quinn, Toronto, Duke University; Shelina Zadorsky, London, Ont., Washington Spirit; Josee Belanger, Coaticook, Que., Orlando Pride; Allysha Chapman, Courtice, Ont., Houston Dash; Rhian Wilkinson, Baie-d’Urfe, Que, unattached.
Midfielders: Jessie Fleming, London, Ont., London NorWest Optimist SC; Ashley Lawrence, West Virginia University; Diana Matheson, Oakville, Ont., Washington Spirit; Deanne Rose, Alliston, Ont., Scarborough GS United; Sophie Schmidt, Abbotsford, B.C., FFC Frankfurt (Germany); Desiree Scott, Winnipeg, FC Kansas City.
Forwards: Janine Beckie, Highlands Ranch, Colo., Houston Dash; Gabrielle Carle, Levis, Que., Dynamo Quebec; Nichelle Prince, Ajax, Ont., Ohio State University; Christine Sinclair (capt.), Burnaby, B.C., Portland Thorns FC; Melissa Tancredi, Ancaster, Ont., IF Orebro (Sweden).