Over the next month, the best female soccer players from around the world will compete across this country, culminating in the Women’s World Cup final on July 5 at BC Place in Vancouver, British Columbia.
As the games get set to begin, here’s a look at a handful of players you’ll hear from over the next month.
Christine Sinclair, Canada
Let’s start at home with the captain of the Canadian national team and leading scorer from the 2012 Olympics. This will be the 31-year-old Sinclair’s fourth World Cup and the 11-time Canadian Player of the Year should be one of the scoring leaders in this tournament again, especially with the competition taking place on Canadian soil.
Sophie Schmidt, Canada
The midfield maestro of Team Canada might be an even more important part of this country’s success in the World Cup than Sinclair. Schmidt’s control, playmaking ability and scoring prowess will have a direct impact on each game Canada plays and if she’s at the top of her game, the 26-year-old should have a serious impact on the World Cup.
Sydney Leroux, United States
The 25-year-old forward was born in Surrey, British Columbia, but holds dual citizenship and has always played for the United States. Given that she could have been playing for Canada all along and this tournament is taking place on Canadian soil, don’t be surprised if Leroux is “Public Enemy No. 1” when she hits the pitch.
Hope Solo, United States
The US goalkeeper, who was profiled impressively by ESPN’s Allison Glock earlier in the week, has always been a divisive player whenever she takes the field. She was voted the best goalkeeper in the last World Cup and has the skills to do the same here, plus her polarizing personality will keep her in the spotlight.
The best player in the world for five consecutive years from 2006-2010. Over 30 games in three Olympic Games and three previous World Cup tournaments, Marta has notched 22 goals. The only thing missing from her impressive resume is a World Cup win.
Veronica Bouquete, Spain
The 28-year-old attacking midfielder has scored 30 goals in 45 career games with the Spanish National team and was one of the finalists for FIFA World Player of the Year in 2014.
Nadine Kebler, Germany
The reigning Player of the Year, Kebler is another attacking midfielder who should have a serious impact on this year’s World Cup. She has 10 goals in 29 previous senior team appearances and 31 goals in 58 games for her club team, VFL Wolfsburg.
Asisat Oshoala, Nigeria
The 20-year-old forward is viewed as a future star, having been the top goal scorer and best overall player at the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, where Nigeria fell 0-1 to Germany. Oshoala put up four goals in the semifinals of that tournament and could be a sleeper to lead the World Cup in scoring this year.
Caitlin Foord, Australia
The “Best Young Player” at the 2011 World Cup, the now 20-year-old right back has a chance to take another step forward after a good showing four years ago and is a player to watch going forward given the experience she’s already accumulated at the highest level.
Vivianne Miedema, Netherlands
Miedema has 19 goals in 23 career games with the national squad to go along with 78 goals in 69 games with SC Heerenveen from 2011-2014 and another 7 strikes in 17 games with Bayern Munich. Simply put, the 18-year-old is a goal scoring machine and that should carry over to the World Cup over this next month.