Canadian women’s team set for friendly series with Costa Rica

Christine-Sinclair

Christine Sinclair. (Darryl Dyck/CP)

The Canadian women’s soccer team welcomes Costa Rica for a pair of upcoming friendlies, with a date in Winnipeg on June 8, followed by a meeting three days later in Toronto.

It’s been over a year since the two sides met. They faced off during the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifiers in Houston where the Canadians came away with a 3-1 victory that secured them a spot at the Olympics in Rio later that summer.

Here’s an inside look at the history between the two countries, which dates back over two decades:

3 — Canada has played in Winnipeg three times since 1990. The most recent match was in 2014 at Investors Group Field versus the United States, which finished in a 1-1 draw. The team has never won in the Manitoba capital.

9 — number of goals captain Christine Sinclair has scored against Costa Rica since 2002. She’s followed by Charmaine Hooper, who netted six over the span of her lengthy career.

10 — total meetings between Canada and Costa Rica. The Canadians have outscored their opponents 33 to 4.

11 — number of National Women’s Soccer League players on the Canadian roster for this two-game series. Boston striker Adriana Leon leads the way in scoring with a goal and three assists, while rookie goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan was named to May’s NWSL Team of the Month. The league is on an international break for the weekend of June 10-11, which means the players won’t miss any action.

17— number of national team appearances for centre-back Shannon Woeller. Other than a few minutes she played in a friendly versus Germany in April, the 27-year-old joins Canada for the first time since 2012. Since then, she has played professionally around the world with stops in Iceland, Norway and Germany.

21 — number of goals Costa Rican captain Shirley Cruz has scored in 63 appearances for her country. Canada’s Ashley Lawrence and Cruz are teammates, as they play together professionally in France’s Division 1 Féminine for Paris Saint-Germain. Cruz has scored 15 goals for PSG over the course of 78 matches. She previously suited up for Lyon.

23.6 — average age of this Canadian roster. The youngest player is 16-year-old Jordyn Huitema, while captain Christine Sinclair is the oldest at 33. She turns 34 the day after the Toronto game.

30 — the Central American side currently sits 30th in the FIFA rankings. The squad has consistently been climbing the rankings since 2009, jumping from 92nd to 41st and then reaching its highest spot ever at 29 a year ago.

30 — age of Costa Rican head coach Amelia Valverde. She has been part of that program since 2011 and was named bench boss of the senior side in 2015, ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada where her team finished third in Group E with a record of one defeat and two draws. The loss was a hard fought 1-0 battle with Brazil in one of the tournament’s most entertaining games, as the Costa Ricans nearly held one of the world’s best teams off the score sheet. Post-match, Valverde stated, “We might not have an army in Costa Rica, but they still fought like warriors.” Less than a year later, they placed third in the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship.

158 — number of caps between the recently retired pair of Kaylyn Kyle and Josee Belanger. Both will be honoured at the game in Toronto for their outstanding careers with the Canadian program.

1991 — The first-ever match between Canada and Costa Rica took place on April 16, 1991 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Charmaine Hooper netted a brace in a 6-0 win for the Canadians in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifier game. Goalkeeper Carla Chin earned a clean sheet.

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