Canada’s U-20 Women’s team came away from the World Cup in Papua, New Guinea, with valuable experience. (Canada Soccer, photo)

Canada Soccer’s development pathway appears secure as the U-20 Women’s National Team wrapped up the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Papua New Guinea 2016.

Having chosen to field a young team, with an average starting lineup age of 17.3, Canada has tested its talent, and is buoyed by the prospects coming through the Excel System.

While Canada ended its tournament with a 5-0 final group match loss to Japan, the team boasted some impressive stats that suggest the future is bright indeed. Six of the starting lineup, including the goalkeeper, featured for Canada’s U-17 team at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, and seven members of the squad can return for the next cycle in 2018. Emma Regan, a starting fullback in all three of Canada’s matches, is eligible to return to this tournament twice more.

“Our goal going into Papua, New Guinea, was to test our players against strong teams, and we got that playing against Spain, Nigeria and Japan; and to ensure key players in our EXCEL System that are tracking towards our National Women’s Team gained experience against various styles of international football,” said Daniel Worthington, Canada Soccer U-20 Women’s Coach and Women’s U-23 EXCEL Program Director.

The timing of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Papua New Guinea 2016 comes at an ideal time for Canada as the Women’s National Team enters into a new four-year cycle, which will see some of the fresh faces of the U-20 National Team establish themselves within the senior squad, but also come back for another FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in two years.

Canada Soccer’s Excel System, designed by Women’s Excel Programme Director and Women’s National Team Head Coach John Herdman, has already produced eight Women’s National Team players, and Olympic bronze medalists, in Kadeisha Buchanan, Ashley Lawrence, Jessie Fleming, Rebecca Quinn, Janine Beckie, Shelina Zadorsky, Deanne Rose, and Gabrielle Carle, three of whom are still eligible for youth competition.

Canada Soccer is looking forward to an exciting four-year period as Canada’s Women’s National Team seeks to rise from fourth place to first in FIFA’s World Rankings. The exceptional, yet attainable, goal was set for Canada by Herdman after Canada repeated its bronze medal finish at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

– Canada Soccer