Feature Photo: Blair Shier
The last time the full NextGen Women’s cohort was on the field together was in February 2020 in Chula Vista, California. Three teams made that journey south. Now, the majority of that group reconvene to train together and set up the build to the Junior Pan American Cup.
The original U21 Pan Am Cup was scheduled for 2020 but will now take place in August 2021 in Santiago, Chile. The Junior Women’s National Team is hosting a selection camp in Vancouver, BC, from June 13–19, with over 40 players named to the camp roster. Only 18 will be selected to travel to Chile in two months’ time.
The age restrictions shifted to recognize the postponement of the tournament. To be clear, anyone born in 1999 or later will be eligible to compete in the Junior Pan American Cup but only those born in 2000 or later are eligible to compete in the Junior World Cup. The coaches will lead another selection camp later in the year to determine the JWC roster as necessary, but for now, the focus remains solely on Santiago.
This week’s selection camp is led by Head Coach and NextGen Director Patrick Tshutshani who will look to build the best roster of U22 athletes, to give Canada the best chance to qualify for the Junior World Cup. Tshutshani is supported on-field by coaches Jenn Beagan and Bernadette Bowyer. He said that having everyone in the same place at the same time is a big win for the program and it’s already paying off.
“It’s a great chance to evaluate all athletes across all ages of our NextGen group, especially after a long time apart,” he said. “It’s exciting for them to be training and competing with this full group again. You can tell they’ve been enthusiastic to get back on the field and play together.”
UBC Wright Field plays host to a week-long junior women’s selection camp. Photos/Blair Shier
For the duration of the pandemic, players have been preparation in their local training environments. This means players in different cities around the country have been working with their groups to maintain and grow their technical, tactical and physical abilities. For Tshutshani, now is a good opportunity to work on team-skills in a group environment.
“There’s a focus on examining their physical conditioning and working on accelerating our team skills for this camp,” Tshutshani said. “But mostly, players have been training in different environments for over a year, so it’s just good to get them all together for this week.”
Tshutshani notes that the large selection cohort and high level of play so far already fills him with confidence looking forward to the Junior Pan American Championships.
“This week will be a challenge for the players but on top of that, it will be a challenge for the coaching staff,” he said. “The athletes are making our decisions very difficult and that’s what you want as a coach.”
|Nora||Goddard - Despot||BC|
|Arden||Goddard - Despot||BC|
** Indoor National Team Commitments