It has been more than two months since Canada’s women’s soccer team captivated the hearts of the nation, winning a historic gold medal at this summer’s Tokyo Games.
Now, the team is set to reunite for the first time since standing atop the Olympic podium.
The Canadians are getting set for the Celebration Tour to honour the team’s unprecedented achievement. The series kicks off with two games against New Zealand, beginning at TD Place in Ottawa on Saturday and followed up by a match on Tuesday at Montreal’s Stade Saputo.
Since the players went their separate ways following the Olympics, many have been making an impact with their clubs around the world.
Here’s a look at what the 22 Olympians achieved at the Tokyo Games and what they have been up to since.
No. 1 – Stephanie Labbé
Stony Plain, Alta.
Labbé earned the nickname of “Canada’s Minister of Defence” with her stellar play during penalties in the knockout round of the Tokyo Games, including two saves in the shootout of the gold-medal match.
Three weeks after winning gold, the 35-year-old signed with top club Paris Saint-Germain, joining fellow Canadians Ashley Lawrence and Jordyn Huitema. Labbé and PSG have yet to surrender a goal during league play this season and sit tied atop the Division 1 Féminine table with Lyon.
Adding to an eventful summer: Labbé also announced her engagement to Georgia Simmerling, who has represented Canada at four Olympics (two summer, two winter) and took home bronze in team pursuit in track cycling at the Rio Games in 2016.
No. 2 – Allysha Chapman
Often the unsung hero of the Canadian backline, Chapman started in four of Canada’s six matches in Tokyo.
The 32-year-old has also been a mainstay on the backline for the Houston Dash in the NWSL for the past six years. She has played in 15 games this season, starting in all of them. Houston is currently tied for the last playoff spot.
Chapman was also recently nominated for NWSL Save of the Week after she made a goal line clearance on a shot from her Canadian captain, Christine Sinclair.
No. 3 – Kadeisha Buchanan
Buchanan continues to be the rock of the Canadian backline, playing every minute for Canada in Tokyo in the team’s run to gold.
The 25-year-old is entering her sixth season with top club Olympique Lyonnais and has been seeing regular minutes for her team. She has become a strong presence for Lyon on set pieces, especially with the absence of injured French star Wendie Renard, and the Canadian recently netted a brace in a 5-0 win over Benfica in UEFA Women’s Champions League.
No. 4 – Shelina Zadorsky
Zadorsky played a slightly different role in Tokyo than in past tournaments. Usually partnered with Buchanan at centre back, Zadorsky started Canada’s first two games of the tournament before head coach Bev Priestman opted to start Vanessa Gilles in her place.
Priestman said she and Zadorsky had some “great chats” about the decision and that Zadorsky is “determined more than ever” to earn a spot as a starter once again. The 28-year-old remained a vocal leader for the squad and could often be seen loudly cheering for her teammates during penalties against both Brazil and Sweden.
Zadorsky has continued that leadership into her second season with Tottenham Hotspur, where she has secured a role as a starter and often wears the captain’s armband. She has been named to the FAWSL Team of the Week three times so far this season.
No. 5 – Quinn
Quinn is enjoying a breakout year with the national team. They featured in every game for Canada in Tokyo, starting in all but one. They also became the first openly transgender and non-binary athlete to win an Olympic medal.
They have played 11 games for OL Reign in the NWSL this season, starting in seven of those, and have recorded an 83.5 per cent success rate for passes. The Reign are currently second in league standings.
Quinn also continues to advocate for the rights of transgender athletes. Following Canada’s opener against Japan at the Tokyo Games, where Quinn became the first openly trans Olympian to ever compete, they posted on Instagram:
“The fight isn’t close to over… and I’ll celebrate when we’re all here.”
No. 6 – Deanne Rose
Rose scored a crucial penalty in the gold-medal match against Sweden. As the team’s fifth shooter, she needed to convert to salvage any chance of Canada claiming gold. She boldly fired a shot into the top right corner.
Rose, 22, has begun her professional career with Reading FC, where she has featured in five games this season and was named to the FAWSL Team of the Week earlier this month.
“I wanted to go to a team where I thought that I could make a big difference, have an impact on the team, and be able to play right away and be able to influence a team, and also where I knew that I could get better and get the right experience in the league playing against top teams,” she said.
No. 7 – Julia Grosso
After Rose scored on her penalty for the shootout to continue, Grosso, then 20, stepped up to convert from the spot to secure Canada’s gold medal.
“Julia, for me, over the past sort of six months, is probably the player I've seen the most growth in,” Priestman told the media last week.
Grosso, now 21, is in her senior year with the Texas Longhorns. She has eight goals in 16 games and is ranked in the top 10 in Big 12 for goals, assists and points.
She is also rated ninth in the 100 best NCAA women’s soccer players from Top Drawer Soccer and is the only non-American ranked inside the top 10.
No. 8 – Jayde Riviere
Riviere, 20, played in four of Canada’s six matches at the Olympics, playing all 90 minutes against both Chile and Great Britain in the group stage.
Since then, she has returned to Michigan for her junior season, playing with fellow Canadian Sarah Stratigakis (who was not part of the Olympic team). Riviere has started in 11 games for the Wolverines this season, recording one assist and more than 1,000 minutes.
No. 9 – Adriana Leon
Maple & King City, Ont.
Leon has become the definition of a “super sub” for Canada, featuring in all but one of her team’s matches in Tokyo. She scored the lone Canadian goal in a 1-1 draw with Great Britain and also converted from the spot during penalties against Brazil in the quarter-final (although she would have her penalty stopped against Sweden).
“This medal right here means the world. It means everything,” Leon said in August. “It’s such an honour to bring this back home to Canada and to arrive at the airport and just see the excitement from our families or friends.”
Leon, who is in her fourth season with West Ham United, netted a goal in her season debut last month in a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.
No. 10 – Ashley Lawrence
Defender / Midfielder
Caledon East, Ont.
Lawrence has cemented herself as one of Canada’s best and most dependable performers. She played almost every minute for Canada in Tokyo, subbing out in the 81st minute against Great Britain. She set up Leon’s tally in that game on a brilliant run down the left flank.
Like Leon, she also converted her penalty in the quarter-final against Great Britain, but also had her attempt saved versus Sweden.
During the tournament, Priestman said she thought that Lawrence “globally is undervalued.”
“For me, it's just important to be better than the year before,” Lawrence told reporters in August. “Whether it's my leadership on the field – I like to bring my composure on the ball and the speed of play – my hope is that I can continue to make an impact on the field and off the field.”
The 26-year-old is also a key player for PSG, now in her sixth season with the club. Lawrence is one of three Canadians to be nominated for this year’s Ballon d’Or as the best player in the world, along with Sinclair and Jessie Fleming.
No. 11 – Desiree Scott
“The Destroyer” lived up to her moniker in Tokyo, playing every minute in five of Canada’s six games.
“I'm still pinching myself,” Scott said earlier this week. “It's been almost two months now since the gold… and you see a sign that [says], ‘Olympic gold medalist.’ And every time you read that, it solidifies that much more what we accomplished.”
Scott has played in 10 games for Kansas City in the NWSL this year, starting in 10 of those and recording a 78.2 per cent success rating for passing.
The 34-old-veteran has 167 caps for Canada and recently addressed her thoughts on retirement.
“I’ve never been more confused, is what I can say now,” she said. “I thought after the Olympics, I was done, but winning that gold medal, being away from the game for a year – it really ignited the flame for me.”
No. 12 – Christine Sinclair
The greatest Canadian to ever play the game finally won her first major international tournament. Canada’s captain earned her 300th cap during the Tokyo Games and scored her team’s first goal of the tournament in a 1-1 draw against Japan, her 12th Olympic goal all-time.
Sinclair and her club, the Portland Thorns, recently claimed their second-ever NWSL Shield as the league’s top team in the regular season. Sinclair has been with the club since the NWSL’s first season in 2013 and is currently second in team scoring with five goals this season.
The 38-year-old was also recently nominated for the Ballon d’Or. While the award has been around for the men’s game for decades, the accolade didn’t start to be handed out for women’s soccer until 2018. Sinclair has never won FIFA Player of the Year in her career, nor has she been named one of the final three nominees.
"There's no other leader like Sinc," Portland head coach Mark Parsons told The Canadian Press. "She's the best of the best on the pitch, she's best of the best off the pitch. She leads by example by having the highest standards in every moment, in everything that she does."
No. 13 – Évelyne Viens
After earning her first cap for Canada earlier this year at the SheBelieves Cup, Viens recorded two goals in two games in a pair of friendlies in April before being named to the Olympic roster, where she appeared as a sub in two games.
The 24-year-old is in her first full season with Gotham FC in the NWSL. Despite finishing in the top 10 in league scoring with Paris FC in Division 1 Féminine last season, Viens has struggled to earn playing time with Gotham, and is often on the bench in favour of American forward Carli Lloyd.
No. 14 – Vanessa Gilles
Gilles has been a breakout star for Canada this year. She was named to the Olympic roster with just six caps to her name, and Priestman turned to her as a starter at centre back over the more experienced Zadorsky for the quarter-final match against Brazil, a role Gilles kept for the semi-final and gold-medal game.
Gilles, 25, also stepped up as Canada’s crucial fifth penalty taker against Brazil, where she converted with a shot into the side netting. Gilles would hit the crossbar on her penalty attempt against Sweden.
She is in her fourth season with FC Girondins de Bordeaux in France, where her club currently sits seventh in the league table. Gilles netted a pair of Champions League goals last month before Bordeaux was eliminated from the competition by VFL Wolfsburg.
No. 15 – Nichelle Prince
Prince featured in all six of Canada’s matches in Tokyo, starting in all but one of them, and picked up three assists in the first two group stage games.
The 26-year-old is now in her fifth season with the Houston Dash and is a key player for her club. She has started in all 15 of her games this season and is second on the team with three assists (along with two goals). Prince doesn’t always get on the score sheet, but her speed and skill to take on defenders 1v1 has made her integral for both club and country.
No. 16 – Janine Beckie
Highlands Ranch, Colo.
Beckie was once again a staple on the front line for Canada, starting in all six matches in Tokyo, and netting a brace in the group stage match against Chile.
The 27-year-old, as is often the case, was outspoken following her team’s gold medal win, telling TSN in August that she doesn’t think Canada gets the respect internationally that the team deserves.
“We are currently the best team in the world. That's the reality. And a lot of people can't handle that, don't want to believe it, because we don't have a team full of superstars,” she said.
Beckie is in her fourth season with Manchester City, where the team has been struggling due to numerous injuries to key players. They were upset in the Champions League by Real Madrid, and currently sit ninth in the league table with one win in five matches.
Beckie has been filling in as an outside back, a role she also played during her second year with the club.
No. 17 – Jessie Fleming
Fleming was the definition of clutch in Tokyo, converting four penalties in the knockout round, including the game-winner against the United States in the semi-final. She is one of three Canadian nominees for the Ballon d’Or.
The 23-year-old is in her second season with Chelsea, and last month she scored her first professional goal in a 6-1 win over Manchester United.
Fleming is still working towards establishing herself as a starter with the club, but she has shown some strong performances. She was named Player of the Match in a 2-0 win over Leicester City, picking up an assist on the game winner, and earned praise from her coach, Emma Hayes, after the game.
“The energy she gave the team today, I could see even within the play – her willingness to get on the ball, her willingness to do the dirty work for the team… I’m really pleased with Jessie and her contributions to the game,” Hayes said.
No. 18 – Kailen Sheridan
Sheridan served as Labbé’s backup in Tokyo. She subbed into the first game against Japan when Labbé had to leave due to injury, and also played for the entire match against Chile.
The 26-year-old has continued to turn heads with her strong play as the starting goalkeeper for Gotham FC in the NWSL. Sheridan has two clean sheets in her last three games, and Gotham currently sits in a playoff spot for the first time in seven years.
Sheridan, who won the Golden Glove at the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup, was named to the NWSL Team of the Month for September.
No. 19 – Jordyn Huitema
The youngest player on Canada’s Olympic roster at 20, Huitema featured in four matches at the Tokyo Games.
She is currently in her third season with PSG after foregoing college to turn professional straight out of high school. Huitema has had to fight for playing time with some strong competition up front, including star French striker Marie-Antoinette Katoto, but the Canadian often makes the most of her time on the pitch.
Last week, Huitema netted a first-half hat trick in Champions League against WFC Kharkiv, scoring the three goals in a span of 17 minutes.
No. 20 – Sophie Schmidt
When Priestman first named her Olympic roster, Schmidt, who has over 200 caps for Canada, was named as an alternate.
Priestman said it was “the toughest call of her career,” but soon after, the IOC expanded the rosters to 22 players, meaning the four alternates would be considered part of the full squad. Schmidt featured in one game for Canada, playing the entire 90 minutes against Great Britain.
Schmidt is in her third season with Houston and has played in 17 matches, starting in all but one of those. She has recorded two assists and a 77.4 per cent passing success rate.
The 33-year-old also recently designed a series of clothing merchandise, with all of the proceeds going towards supporting the Canadian national team players and the development of a Canadian women’s professional soccer league.
No. 21 – Gabrielle Carle
Carle was another former alternate who became part of the full 22-player roster. She featured in one match in the Tokyo Games, subbing into the game against Great Britain.
The 23-year-old is a redshirt senior with Florida State. She won the NCAA Championship with the Seminoles in 2018 and finished runners-up in 2020.
She has started in 14 games for the Seminoles this year, picking up two goals and five assists, and is currently ranked 51st in the 100 best NCAA women’s soccer players from Top Drawer Soccer.
No. 22 – Erin McLeod
Edmonton and Calgary, Alta.
The 38-year-old veteran never saw any playing time during the Olympics, but she did suit up for the game against Chile, which earned her a gold medal.
She is currently the backup for the Orlando Pride, where she has played in five matches, with Orlando winning three of those.
McLeod is also one of her team’s representatives in the NWSL Players Association, and she has been outspoken after several allegations of abuse against players came to light.
"More than anything, our players' mental and emotional well-being has to come first,” McLeod told CBC Sports. “And until we have that, what is the point of playing sport?"