Canadians in NWSL: Sinclair, Sheridan lead the way as regular season kicks off
The 2023 National Women’s Soccer League season is ready to kick off with several notable Canadians set to take the field in the NWSL this season.
Watch the Portland Thorns take on the Orlando Pride on Sunday LIVE at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT followed by Angel City taking on Gotham FC at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT all streaming in a limited time free preview on TSN+.
Highlighted by Christine Sinclair of the reigning champion Portland Thorns and 2022 NWSL goalkeeper of the year Kailen Sheridan, 10 of the 12 teams boast at least one Canadian player, with the Houston Dash leading the way with four on their roster.
In what will be a busy soccer season with the Women’s World Cup taking place this summer, many of the Canadians on this list will also be heading to Australia and New Zealand as Canada aims to improve on their round of 16 finish in 2019.
Christine Sinclair – Portland Thorns
Sinclair captained the Thorns to the franchise’s third NWSL championship in 2022, while setting the league record for most postseason appearances by a player with 12.
Turning 40 in June and a sixth World Cup appearance on the horizon this summer, 2023 will be the Burnaby, B.C. native’s 11th NWSL season as she re-upped on a one-year deal with the Thorns in November.
She finished last year with five goals in 16 games and remains second in NWSL goals all-time with 59. The Thorns remain in position to contend once again in 2023 as they aim for a repeat title.
Janine Beckie – Portland Thorns
Unfortunately for Beckie, it was announced on March 17 she will miss the remainder of the 2023 season due to a torn ACL, which will keep her from suiting up for Portland and Canada this summer at the World Cup.
Beckie joined the Thorns on April 1, 2022, signing a three-year contract with a one-year option after transferring from Manchester City that included Portland acquiring her rights from Racing Louisville FC in exchange for $75,000 in allocation money and an additional $25,000 in allocation money contingent on undisclosed performance conditions.
After four years in England, 2022 was Beckie’s first season stateside since 2018. The 28-year-old appeared in 19 games for Portland, starting nine, while recording two assists en route to winning her first NWSL title.
Jordyn Huitema – OL Reign
Huitema made her NWSL debut last season, transferring to OL Reign in June after three seasons with French club Paris Saint-Germain.
In 11 regular season appearances, starting nine, the 22-year-old had two goals and two assists. Playing alongside Canadian teammate Quinn as well as the likes of Megan Rapinoe, Rose Lavelle and Bethany Balcer, Huitema is primed to take a step forward as
OL Reign is also a heavy favourite for the league crown this season.
Quinn – OL Reign
Heading into their fourth season with OL Reign, Quinn started 15 of 18 games they appeared in, playing 1,279 minutes. The 27-year-old is signed through 2024 with the Reign as they’ve established themselves as a midfield staple for club and country.
Nichelle Prince – Houston Dash
One of four Canadians on the Dash, Prince had a career season offensively for Houston in 2022, scoring a career-high five goals along with three assists. Now heading into her sixth NWSL season, the 28-year-old started all 19 games she appeared in.
Prince is currently healing from a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered in a November friendly against Brazil with hopes that she will be ready for the World Cup.
San Diego Wave
Kailen Sheridan – San Diego Wave
Acquired ahead of the 2022 season in a trade with Gotham FC, Sheridan made her presence felt in San Diego.
In 20 starts last season, the 27-year-old recorded a career-high eight clean sheets en route to winning NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year for the first time in her career. She was also named to the NWSL’s Best XI for the second year in a row as she backstopped the Wave to the semifinals before losing 2-1 to the eventual champion Thorns.
Gabrielle Carle – Washington Spirit
A two-time NCAA champion with Florida State, Carle is set to make her NWSL debut in 2023 after signing a two-year contract with the Spirit in December.
The 24-year-old defender spent the 2022 season playing in Sweden with Kristianstads, scoring twice while starting 22 games.
After winning the NWSL title in 2021, the Spirit finished second last in 2022. Now, the team is rebuilding with younger players, led by 2021 rookie of the year Trinity Rodman, opening the door for Carle to potentially play a lot of minutes.
Allysha Chapman – Houston Dash
The veteran defender is going into her ninth NWSL season and sixth with the Dash. The 34-year-old continues to be a defensive stalwart for the Dash and for the national team. With Houston last season, she started 14 games and logged 1,122 minutes.
A two-time Olympic medalist for Canada, Chapman is gunning for a third World Cup appearance this summer.
Devon Kerr – Houston Dash
A Canadian-American dual citizen, the 25-year-old goalkeeper received her first call-up to the Canadian senior national team in 2022 for the Arnold Clark Cup.
She signed a one-year deal with Houston in January after spending the previous two seasons as a backup goalkeeper for the Spirit. She made three starts last season with one clean sheet.
Kansas City Current
Desiree Scott- Kansas City Current
Scott was named captain of the Current ahead of the 2022 season as Kansas City finished fifth in the standings last year. The Winnipeg native logged heavy minutes (1,762) while starting 20 of 21 games she appeared in. Now heading into her seventh NWSL season, the 35-year-old is also aiming for a fourth World Cup appearance this summer.
Bianca St-Georges – Chicago Red Stars
A knee injury limited St-Georges to just four games in 2021 and the defender was one of the final cuts for the Olympic team in 2021 that won gold in Tokyo.
The 25-year-old bounced back in 2022, starting 13 games in 15 appearances while scoring two goals and adding two assists. Just missing the cut for the SheBelieves Cup, a strong start to the season is crucial for St-Georges as she aims for a World Cup roster spot.
Sophie Schmidt – Houston Dash
The 34-year-old midfielder announced in February she will be retiring from international play following this year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
She took on a reduced role during the Olympic gold medal run, appearing in just one game but remains a fixture for the national team. In 2022 with Houston, she started 19 games and logged 1,663 minutes while scoring four goals.
Jordyn Listro – Orlando Pride
The 27-year-old midfielder is heading into her third NWSL season and second with the Pride. She started in 13 of 19 games she appeared in, recording one assist while logging 1,233 minutes as Orlando finished 10th in the NWSL in 2022.
Listro is on the outside looking in for the World Cup roster as she has two caps for the senior team, both at the 2021 SheBelieves Cup.
Victoria Pickett – Gotham FC
Gotham FC paid a big price to acquire Pickett last August, sending a first-round pick and $200,000 in allocation money to Kansas City for the 26-year-old midfielder.
However, they foresee the Newmarket, Ont., native being a large part of their revamped roster after finishing last in 2022, signing her to a contract through 2025, with a mutual option for a fourth year.
The 15th overall pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft by the Current, she started five of seven games to end the season with Gotham. Overall, she played 1,500 minutes over 23 appearances in 2022 with 19 starts.
Vanessa Gilles - Angel City FC
Gilles made Angel City FC's final 25-player roster for the 2023 NWSL season but it is unclear if she will play in North America this season as she remains on loan with French club powerhouse Lyon.
With Lyon this season, the 27-year-old has one goal and two assists in nine appearances, logging 716 minutes.
An important player for Canada at the Tokyo Olympics, expect Gilles to be a defensive pillar once again for the Canadians this summer at the World Cup.