Ancaster’s Tancredi goes out in style
Canada’s soccer women win, 3-2, against Mexico in last game for trio of stars.
When the referee blew the final whistle on the careers of three Canadian women’s soccer icons, the message from Melissa Tancredi, Rhian Wilkinson and Marie-Eve Nault was clear — the torch is yours to carry from this point forward.
Canada picked up a 3-2 victory over Mexico in an international friendly on Saturday that celebrated the national team’s back-toback Olympic bronze medals and also marked the end of the road for a trio that played 377 times for their country.
“They mean everything, they give everything,” Canadian head coach John Herdman said of Tancredi, Wilkinson and Nault. “Their whole adult life has been spent with this team. They don’t know anything different ... and you only have to go into our lockerroom to start to realize what they mean to each other.
“Each one of them has got something in their identity that Canadians can relate to, whether it’s the grit of Tancredi, the altruisticness of Marie-Eve or just that ‘true north’ of Rhian.”
All three players were joined by family members on the pitch for a ceremony following the game, with Tancredi’s grandparents surprising her after flying in from Ontario.
“So many emotions, but the first thing is proud that I’ve been able to call these three individuals teammates and friends,” said Canadian captain Christine Sinclair. “We’ve literally taken on the world together and shared heartbreaks and had our dreams come true in Olympic Games. “It’s been quite the ride.” Tancredi, 35, from Ancaster, a powerful striker who scored 27 goals in 125 appearances, started on the bench before coming on as substitute in the 76th minute with Canada clinging to a 3-2 lead.
A member of the national team since 2004, Tancredi scored twice in Canada’s famous 2-1 victory over Germany in Brazil, the country’s first-ever win against the European powerhouse.
“It’s a bit overwhelming,” said Tancredi, who had tears in her eyes after Saturday’s game. “It was going to be an emotional day.”
Janine Beckie scored twice in the first half, while Deanne Rose had the other goal for Canada. Nancy Antonio and Kaitlyn Johnson replied for the visitors.
Players from the 2016 bronzemedal winning Canadian squad were honoured before kickoff, while members of the 2012 team were given a rousing ovation at halftime.
Canada, ranked No. 4 in the world by FIFA, set a new women’s national team record in 2016 with 15 wins in a calendar year.
A snowstorm blanketed the Vancouver area, but a crowd of 22,508 braved the inclement weather.
Ancaster’s Melissa Tancredi, left, vies for control of the ball with Mexico’s Christina Murillo during her final game with the national team Saturday. JOSHUA CLIPPERTON