The Canadian national women’s soccer team kicks off its 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign on June 10 against Cameroon. TSN will profile Canada’s 23 players in the 23 days leading up to their tournament opener.
Hometown: Caledon, Ont.
Club: Paris Saint-Germain (Division 1 Féminine France)
Much like her long-time friend and teammate Kadeisha Buchanan, Ashley Lawrence first made a name for herself at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.
She scored her first-ever goal for her country in a group stage game against the Netherlands in Montreal. Since then, she’s won an Olympic bronze medal and has become a key figure at PSG, one of the best clubs in the world.
Lawrence first joined the Canadian program as a 14-year-old at Under-17 camp. She played in two of Canada’s three games at the 2010 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. Two years later, she picked up five assists in a three-game span at the 2012 CONCACAF Women’s U-17 Championship, and that same year she played every minute for Canada at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. She was named Canadian U-17 Player of the Year in both 2011 and 2012.
The native of Caledon, Ont. made her senior team debut when she was 17, appearing as a late-game substitute against China on January 12, 2013. The following year, she was back on the world stage at the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, where she once again played every minute for her country.
After just one start in her first 15 appearances for the senior team, Lawrence became a regular in the Canadian starting eleven in the lead-up to the 2015 Women’s World Cup. In the tournament, Lawrence – whose 20th birthday landed on the same day she scored her first international goal against the Netherlands – started in all five of Canada’s games, playing all 90 minutes in four of them.
Lawrence continued to be a regular presence in the Canadian line-up in 2016. At the CONCACAF Olympic qualifiers, she netted a hat trick in a 5-0 win over Guyana. Later that year at the Rio Olympics, she played in all five of Canada’s games, and made a huge impact in the bronze-medal match against Brazil. In the 25th minute, she picked up the ball in her own end, sprinted past several Brazilian defenders and set up Deanne Rose for the game’s opening goal.
As Lawrence continued her soccer career, she did so with her childhood friend, Buchanan, at her side. The two started playing together when they were nine, and worked their way through the Canadian system together. The pair also played their entire collegiate career together at West Virginia University.
In 2017, both joined the top league in France, albeit with different clubs, as Lawrence signed her first professional contract with PSG, and Buchanan joined Olympique Lyonnais. Later that year, the two friends faced off in the UEFA Women’s Champions League Final, with Buchanan’s Lyon winning the trophy after penalties. Last year, Lawrence signed an extension with PSG that will see her stay with the club until 2023.
Lawrence has made 75 appearances for Canada since her debut six years ago, and she has shown great versatility in her young career. After starting as a midfielder, Lawrence has settled into the backline as Canada’s right back in the past few years. With her pace, Lawrence has shown she is capable of running up and down the flank and joining the Canadian attack.