Kara Lang’s much-anticipated comeback is finally tangible. The 27-year-old is officially in Canada’s training camp ahead of Sunday’s match against Mexico in Vancouver.
She won’t play in the match since she still isn’t 100 percent fit, but it’s an important step for Lang, still one of the biggest names in Canada.
Lang was the one of best young prospects to ever come out of Canada and made a name for herself instantly in 2002, when as a 15-year-old she led Canada to a second place finish on home soil in the U-19 Women’s World Championship, capturing the attention of the nation. One year later she played in all six of Canada’s games en route to a fourth place finish at the senior World Cup in the U.S.
Following Canada finishing first in CONCACAF 2011 Women’s World Cup qualifying, Lang retired early at age 24 due to recurring knee issues. She began her broadcasting career almost immediately, but earlier this year began rehabbing with specialists in Ontario with eyes set on this fall. Lang joined the team in October for its match against South Korea but was not formally on the training camp roster.
Ironically, Lang’s last game in a Canada jersey was Nov. 8, 2010, against Mexico in a 1-0 victory at the CONCACAF championship in Mexico.
Another 27-year-old, Josée Bélanger, also returns to the fold after missing out on the last two-plus years due to injury.
“They both have a history of scoring important goals for Canada,” Herdman said. “There’s a real need for more goals, so we are constantly working on developing our pool of forwards.”
Youngsters of note include 16-year-old Sura Yekka and defender Rachel Melhado, 20, of the University of Louisville.
Here’s the full roster:
GK- Stephanie Labbé | SWE / KIF Örebro DFF
GK- Karina LeBlanc | USA / Portland Thorns FC
GK- Erin McLeod | USA / Chicago Red Stars
D- Robyn Gayle | USA / Washington Spirit
D- Rachel Melhado | USA / University of Louisville
D- Carmelina Moscato | USA / Seattle Reign FC
D- Marie-Eve Nault | SWE / KIF Örebro DFF
D- Lauren Sesselmann | USA / FC Kansas City
D- Kylla Sjoman | SCO / Glasgow Celtic FC
D- Rhian Wilkinson | USA / Boston Breakers
D- Sura Yekka | CAN / Brams United
D- Emily Zurrer | USA / Seattle Reign FC
M- Selenia Iacchelli | CAN / Edmonton Victoria SC
M- Kaylyn Kyle | USA / Boston Breakers
M- Diana Matheson | USA / Washington Spirit
M- Sophie Schmidt | USA / Sky Blue FC
M- Desiree Scott | USA / FC Kansas City
M- Brittany Baxter (née Timko) | Unattached
M/F- Kara Lang | Unattached
F- Josée Bélanger | CAN / Amiral de Québec
F- Mélissa Busque | USA / Seattle University
F- Adriana Leon | USA / Chicago Red Stars
F- Christine Sinclair | USA / Portland Thorns FC
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