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Canada’s role in NWSL in 2015 still undetermined

Sources tell The Equalizer that Canada plans to go into residency ahead of the 2015 World Cup. (Photo Copyright Harjeet Johal for The Equalizer)

Sources tell The Equalizer that Canada coach John Herdman plans to bring the team into residency camp ahead of the 2015 World Cup. The camp would preclude Canadian national team players from participating in NWSL in 2015 until after the tournament.

No plans are yet finalized. An official Canada Soccer Association spokesperson said the federation’s role in the National Women’s Soccer League in 2015 remains to be determined, calling it “premature” to talk about next year.

This comes on the heels of Thursday’s unveiling by the Canadian Soccer Association of their strategic plan for 2014-18, where the goal of being a “leading soccer nation” by 2018 was reverberated. Specifics regarding the women’s national team were not discussed at the press conference in Toronto.

Reached Tuesday, an official spokesperson from the Canadian Soccer Association said the discussion of Canada’s role in the league in 2015 is under review:

As founding partners in the NWSL, Canada Soccer and USSF have an open discussion every year on each federation’s players participation in the league. This discussion around Canada’s participation in 2015 has started. However, we feel this second year of operation (2014) is crucial for the eventual success of the league and for us to see what comes out of it, and as such will be our focus at this time. The NWSL has been a positive initiative so far, both for the Canadian Women’s National Team program and the generation of momentum for women’s soccer in North America.

One of the impetus for Canada Soccer joining forces with USSF in the creation of NWSL was the hosting of the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015. Canada Soccer is committed to making the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015 a successful event on and off the field. It is still too premature to determine the format for the NWSL in 2015.

NWSL executive director Cheryl Bailey said at Friday’s draft in Philadelphia that she was unaware of any forthcoming changes to Canada’s role in the NWSL. Canada, along with the United States and Mexico, funds its national team players’ NWSL salaries outside of team salary caps and helped found the NWSL in late 2012.

“We had 16 players from Canada last year, we have 16 players this year,” she said, counting Desiree Scott and Lauren Sesselmann in the number, who she says are under contract, though the players dispute that. “We’re all excited to be involved with the World Cup in Canada next year and we have absolutely no information that anything will change with Canada.”

CSA general secretary Peter Montopoli, president Victor Montagliani and director & chair of strategic committee director Nick Bontis delivered the strategic plan, during which they shared publicly their intent to bid for the 2026 World Cup. The publicly revealed plan can be found here.

The four-point plan for the men’s and women’s programs, which was based off a survey that was 66 percent male and 34 percent female, is as follows:

1 — Invest in technical leadership

2 — Consistency of players, developed through semi-professional leagues

3 — Encourage and oversee the growth of the game in Canada (included: “by successfully hosting” the U-20 Women’s World Cup and the 2015 Women’s World Cup)

4 — Govern the game in Canada professionally, in collaboration with our partners

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