Sports

White Rock's Richardson earns national camp invite

Jenna Richardson, shown here with the Whitecaps, will be at a national women’s team camp this week. - File photo
Jenna Richardson, shown here with the Whitecaps, will be at a national women’s team camp this week.
— image credit: File photo

It was a good news, bad news week for White Rock soccer player Jenna Richardson.

First, the positive.

Last week, the 20-year-old former Semiahmoo Soccer Club member was one of 27 players invited a Canadian women’s national team year-end training and assessment camp, which began Wednesday in Vancouver and runs until Dec. 20.

And nine of the 27 invitees, Richardson included, were called upon from Canada’s U20 and U17 programs, in an effort to focus on the team’s future, which includes the 2015 Women’s World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

“The camp will have our Olympians as well as some new players looking to stake a claim to be part of our four-year plan,” national team head coach John Herdman, a South Surrey resident, said in a release last week.

“With a break given to our Olympic players (who) went straight into a pro or college season, or (who) are presently recovering from injury, it has opened the door to identify new and past players from our national program.”

Canada’s national side is coming off its best-ever international showing: a bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Twelve players from that team will be at the camp, while six more camp attendees have previous experience with the country’s ‘A’ squad.

Richardson, who recently completed her junior season playing at Oregon State University, has plenty of experience wearing the maple leaf herself, having been a member of Canada’ silver-medal winning team at the CONCACAF U20 women’s championships last spring, and Canada’s U20 team at the Women’s World Cup in Japan last August.

She’s also had success at the NCAA level; at Oregon State this past season, Richardson scored seven goals in 16 games.

The good news of the national camp invite was tempered, however, by news that Richardson is – for now, at least – without a summer-league team, after her former club, the Vancouver Whitecaps, announced last week that they will not field a team in the 2013 W-League. Instead, the ‘Caps will explore “additional development opportunities” according to a team release.

A new eight-team U.S.-based women’s pro league is set to begin play in the spring, but for players like Richardson – who have to maintain college eligibility – a professional circuit isn’t an option.

There is still a W-League team in Victoria, as well as a handful located in Eastern Canada, including Toronto and Ottawa.

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