Road To The Olympic Games

Sabrina D'Angelo hopes to be ready for Rio after wrist surgery

If you have any doubts that Sabrina D'Angelo can make it back for the Olympics from a fractured wrist, consider that the 23-year-old goalkeeper from Welland, Ont., broke the wrist in pre-game warmups for her NWSL club team, then had it taped up and played.

Coach Herdman calls keeper 'one of the most positive people I've ever met'

Canadian goalkeeper Sabrina D'Angelo makes a save during the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in 2012. D'Angelo is still recovering from surgery on her left wrist but is optimistic about her chances of playing for the Canadian women's team at this summer's Olympic Games. (Martin Rose/Getty Images)

If you have any doubts that Sabrina D'Angelo can make it back for the Olympics from a fractured wrist, consider that the 23-year-old goalkeeper from Welland, Ont., broke the wrist in pre-game warmups for her NWSL club team, then had it taped up and played.

"My adrenaline was going, so honestly I didn't think about it too much," she said with a smile.

D'Angelo, who plays for the Western New York Flash, was hurt when her hand got caught in her body as she went for a save — from a hard shot at close-range — prior to a May 21 game against Sky Blue FC.

"Just the way it hit, I knew it wasn't good," she said. "I had done my right wrist before so I knew it wasn't good. But I told them to tape it up and we'd deal with it after the game."

Western New York won 5-2.

D'Angelo had surgery last Friday to have a screw inserted in the broken scaphoid bone and is sporting a cast on her left — dominant — arm.

"It's doing well and I'm feeling good today," said D'Angelo, whose hair is tinged with blue at the moment.

Injury or not, D'Angelo exudes optimism — "positive energy, hopefully, will help my healing." And coach John Herdman, impressed by her club play, is clearly in her corner.

"Sabs is one of the most positive people I've met," he said. "She has a great presence on and off the pitch."

'Nothing is impossible' 

The recovery time for her injury is six to eight weeks, which takes her to mid-July. Canada's first game in Brazil is Aug. 3.

"It will definitely be difficult because I won't have any games in my back pocket before, but nothing's impossible," said D'Angelo.

Canada has already been hit with one injury in goal, with No. 1 keeper Erin McLeod sidelined in March with a third knee injury. She is a long-term casualty.

Stephanie Labbe, 29, is the most experienced backup with 29 caps. D'Angelo has just two but Herdman liked what he saw at the Algarve Cup in March when she played one half of the final — a 2-1 win over Brazil — and backstopped the team to a 1-0 victory over Belgium in her debut with the senior squad.

Herdman also has a history of being loyal to injured players who have his trust. He resisted the temptation to replace Diana Matheson with a healthy player in selecting his World Cup roster last summer and waited it out until the influential veteran had recovered midway through the tournament.

Kailen Sheridan is the other 'keeper in the current mix, a 20-year-old with one cap from Clemson University.

Olympic roster to be named

Canada, which will likely carry three goalkeepers including one alternate, will name its Olympic roster later this month.

Team medical staff are confident D'Angelo will be ready. And Herdman believes that if D'Angelo can get back quicker than expected, she even has a chance to challenge for the starting job.

"But at this spot, it's Steph's to lose," he said.

D'Angelo has international experience, representing Canada at the U-17 Women's World Cup in 2008 and 2010 and the U-20 World Cup in 2012 when she was named Canadian U-20 female player of the year.

At the collegiate level, D'Angelo started 81 games for the University of South Carolina where she was a two-time all-American selection.

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