As announced last week, Ontario Soccer will be profiling the early careers of the 15 Ontario players on Canada Soccer’s 23 woman World Cup squad who are competing in Australia over the next month. We hope their stories help shed some light on Ontario Soccer’s Player Development Pathway, and provides some inspiration to all those young soccer players, showing them that it is in fact possible to become a world-class soccer player, here in Ontario.
Even though Vanessa Gilles was born in Quebec and has lived in countries all over the world, we still consider her a #MadeInOntario athlete.
Gilles was born in Châteauguay to a Canadian mother and French father. She lived in Shanghai, China until she was 12-years-old, at which time her family moved to Ottawa.
Growing up, Gilles played both soccer and tennis. She was 16 when she decided to fully commit to her future on the field and joined the Ottawa Capital United SC. Gilles says she was originally tried to play as a goalkeeper, but quickly learned that being a defender was more her forte.
These choices led Gilles to a collegiate career at the University of Cincinnati. She went pro in 2018 and has since played for teams in Cyprus, France, and the USA.
Although Gilles could have played for France, she stayed true to her Canadian roots by joining the Women’s National Team in 2019. She will once again suit up for Canada at the FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer.
Check out the Made in Ontario podcast below, featuring an interview with Vanessa Gilles from the pre-tournament camp in Australia:
Nichelle Prince is a #MadeInOntario soccer player whose journey began at age four with Ajax SC.
When she was nine-years-old, Prince says her family went to the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Boston and she was inspired to one day play in the tournament for Canada. This summer will mark her second time playing with the women’s team in the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
For the CANWNT, Prince was a member of the gold-medal team in Tokyo 2020 and the bronze-medal team in Rio 2016.
Prince was also a student-athlete at Ohio State University from 2013-2016 studying sports management. She was drafted to the women’s pro league by the Houston Dash in 2017 and has played for the team ever since.
Kadeisha Buchanan is a #MadeInOntario legend!
Born in Toronto to Jamaican parents, Buchanan grew up in the GTA as the youngest of ten children – seven of which were girls.
Buchanan’s love for soccer started when she was eight-years-old playing for Brams United SC in Brampton. She stuck with the club until 2010 when she joined Mississauga’s Erin Mills SC.
In 2013, Buchanan headed south for West Virginia University, where she became the most decorated soccer player in the school’s history. To add to her accolades, Buchanan won the FIFA Women’s World Cup Young Player Award and was named the Canadian female player of the year in 2015.
Buchanan signed with pro French team Olympique Lyonnais in 2017, where she stayed until 2022. She currently plays as a defender for Chelsea – and of course, for the CANWNT.
Check out the Made in Ontario podcast below, featuring an interview with Kadeisha Buchanan from the pre-tournament camp in Australia:
#MadeInOntario’s Adriana Leon was born in Mississauga. She grew up in the GTA and put down roots in three local clubs - Vaughan SC, which she joined at age four, as well as Brams United and the Mississauga Falcons.
In 2009, Leon suited up for Team Ontario in the Canada Summer Games, coming out as the top scorer in the tournament with seven goals.
Leon’s collegiate career began in 2010 at the University of Notre Dame. She stayed with the Fighting Irish for two years before transferring to the University of Florida.
The CANWNT welcomed Leon when she was 20-years-old - the same year she went pro. The seasoned forward has also suited up for a number of U.S. teams, as well as FC Zurich, West Ham United, and most recently, Manchester United.
This year’s FIFA World Cup is Leon’s third appearance in the tournament.
Ashley Lawrence, AKA the 2019 Canada Soccer Player of the Year, is a #MadeInOntario athlete.
Raised in Caledon East, Lawrence got her start at age five playing for Brams United in nearby Brampton. She had a very successful youth career in Canada, captaining national teams and twice winning U17 Canadian Player of the Year. She joined the senior team in 2013.
Lawrence was a student-athlete at the University of West Virginia from 2013-2016, where she earned a degree in Business. She went pro the following year, signing with Paris Saint-Germain FC. Lawrence will start a new three-year deal with Chelsea in 2023 – but first, she’ll be suiting up for Canada in the Women’s World Cup!
Fun fact: Lawrence is the founder of Yes She Canada, an organization that promotes and develop women’s soccer.
Next in the #MadeInOntario series is Jayde Riviere, whose soccer career has taken her from Markham all the way to Manchester United!
During her youth, Riviere played for several soccer clubs in the GTA, including Scarborough’s West Rouge SC, Pickering SC, and Markham SC. She moved out west to attend the Vancouver Whitecaps Super REX Academy.
Legend has it Riviere received 28 full scholarship offers before she enrolled at the University of Michigan in the fall of 2019 to study Kinesiology. She graduated in 2022 and signed with pro team Manchester United less than a year later.
After debuting with the senior national team in 2017, Riviere played in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup when she was just 18-years-old.
Canada goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo hails from Welland - yet another #MadeInOntario talent!
Wanting to follow in her father’s footsteps, D’Angelo’s soccer journey began when she was just five-years-old. The Welland Wizards SC was one of the first teams she played on.
D’Angelo played at the University of South Carolina from 2011-2014 and was drafted to the women’s pro league the following year. She played four seasons in New York and North Carolina before heading overseas to Sweden in 2018. Earlier this year, D’Angelo joined Arsenal Women FC in London, England.
Her first appearance with the Women’s National Team dates back to 2016, and D’Angelo will join the squad in Australia this summer for her first FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Did you know that #MadeInOntario icon Quinn made Olympic history at Tokyo 2020?
Before that, Quinn grew up in Toronto and played for the North Toronto Nitros starting at six-years-old. Throughout their youth, Quinn also had a stint with Richmond Hill SC and Erin Mills SC.
Quinn went to Duke University in 2013 and played collegiately until 2018 while majoring in Biology.
A skilled midfielder, Quinn became the highest drafted Canadian in league history when they were selected third overall in the 2018 National Women’s Soccer League College Draft. In their pro career, Quinn has since suited up for the Washington Spirit, Paris FC, Seattle Reign, and were loaned to Vittsjö GIK in 2020.
Quinn became the first out, transgender, non-binary gold medalist in Olympic history after helping Canada win the gold at Tokyo 2020.
Representing the #MadeInOntario players up north is Cloé Lacasse, who got her start with Sudbury Youth Soccer’s purple Timbits team when she was five-years-old. Lacasse later joined the Brampton Brams United SC at age 10.
Playing forward, Lacasse attended the University of Iowa on a soccer scholarship from 2011 to 2014. She signed with Icelandic club ÍBV post-graduation, going on to play for other pro teams in Portugal and England.
In 2021, Lacasse made her debut with the CANWNT in a friendly game vs Mexico. This summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup was her first time at the tournament.
Fun fact: Lacasse holds a black belt in Taekwondo.
Born and raised in London, Jessie Fleming is a young and hungry #MadeInOntario midfielder. She joined her hometown club, NorWest Soccer, at just three-years-old.
After earning many accolades in her youth, Fleming’s name was added to the senior national team roster at age 15 - making her the second-youngest athlete who had ever played for the Women’s National Team.
Fleming went off to university in 2016 to play for UCLA. Shortly after her collegiate career was over, she began playing pro ball with Chelsea FC and has stuck with the club ever since.
At just 25-years-old, Fleming has already played for Canada in three Olympic Games. The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup was also her third time appearing at that tournament as part of the senior team.
An impressive #MadeInOntario talent was a late-add to the CANWNT’s 2023 World Cup roster, and she’s the youngest player on the list.
Olivia Smith was born in North York and grew up in Whitby. She played for a number of teams in the area including the Oshawa Kicks SC, Ajax SC, Markham FC and North Toronto SC. Smith also participated in the Ontario Regional Excel (REX) program.
For her collegiate career, Smith initially committed to Florida State University but changed her mind and instead went to Penn State, playing one year on their women’s soccer team. After one season she decided to forego her NCAA eligibility and sign a professional contract with Portugal's Sporting CP.
Smith had a number of accomplishments under her belt by the time she turned 19 this summer. She was Canada Soccer’s Young Player of the Year in 2019, the CANWNT’s youngest debutant at 15-years and 94-days old, and now, has played in her first FIFA Women’s World Cup.
#MadeInOntario forward Deanne Rose was born and raised around New Tecumseth in Simcoe County. She started playing soccer at age four, repping Alliston SC, Bradford SC and Scarborough GS United throughout her youth career.
Rose was a member of the senior national team by the time she was 16. She played in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 for Canada, with a number of other international tournaments in between.
The University of Florida was where Rose spent her collegiate career from 2017-2021. After graduating, she signed a two-year deal with English team Reading FC in the Women's Championship league.
Fun fact: During the gold medal match at Tokyo 2020, Rose scored in the penalty shootout, tying up the score and allowing Canada to take the win!
Kailen Sheridan is a GTA-native who started her soccer career with Pickering FC. The #MadeInOntario goalkeeper’s skills took her from Whitby to Clemson, South Carolina where she played for the Tigers from 2013-2016 while majoring in Psychology.
Sheridan was drafted in 2017 by Sky Blue FC, which is now called NJ/NY Gotham FC. Last year, she was named Goalkeeper of the Year by the National Women’s Soccer League. Sheridan most recently signed with a team on the west coast – the San Diego Wave.
Representing Canada, Sheridan made her Olympic debut during the team’s opening match at Tokyo 2020 subbing in for an injured teammate. Her efforts early on in the tournament helped Canada eventually capture the gold.
Coming up next in the #MadeInOntario series is longtime member of the CANWNT Allysha Chapman.
Chapman was born in Oshawa and raised nearby in Courtice. She started playing soccer at age five with Darlington SC. The defender was first named to the senior national team about 20 years later.
While making that jump, Chapman participated in the Canadian youth program and played for the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2007 as well as Louisiana State University from 2009-2011, earning a degree in Biology.
Chapman has also played in two Olympic Games and now three World Cups.
Shelina Zadorsky is a #MadeInOntario athlete with roots in both London and Kitchener. Her family moved between the two cities throughout her childhood. Nevertheless, Zadorsky was able to play soccer from the time she was four-years-old, starting her career with Kitchener SC.
She was quite the athlete growing up, participating in track and field, basketball, volleyball, and even playing for an all-boys soccer team when she was 11.
In 2010, Zadorsky went off to the University of Michigan, studying psychology while she played for the Wolverines. She was picked up by Australia’s Perth Glory shortly after her collegiate career ended. Since then, Zadorsky has played professionally in Sweden, the US and England.
Zadorsky debuted with the CANWNT in 2013 and will once again suit up for the FIFA World Cup this summer.