Soccer·Preview

Beckie settles into key role as Canada looks to build upon dominant CONCACAF W Championship opener

Janine Beckie will be looking to build upon a strong performance in Canada's CONCACAF W Championship opener against Trinidad and Tobago and play another big role when it faces Panama on Friday (10 p.m. ET) at Estadio Universitario in Monterrey, Mexico.

Following 6-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago, Canada faces Panama at 10 p.m. Friday

Canada's Janine Beckie attempts a free kick during a CONCACAF Women's Championship match against Trinidad and Tobago in Mexico on Tuesday. (Fernando Llano/The Associated Press)

An eight-year international veteran, Janine Beckie is clearly someone who knows her worth to the Canadian women's team.

"I take my responsibility on the field very seriously. I feel like I have a big role to play in creating things in the attack for us and being a dominant player, someone that sees significant minutes for this team," Beckie said this week.

The veteran forward/winger went on to back up those bold words in Canada's opening match at the 2022 CONCACAF W Championship, scoring one goal and registering a pair of assists in a 6-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday. Now, Beckie will be looking to build upon that and play another big role for Canada when it faces Panama on Friday (10 p.m. ET) at Estadio Universitario in Monterrey, Mexico.


Watch Friday's game against Panama live on OneSoccer at 10 p.m. ET or on rebroadcast on CBC TV and CBC Gem at 12:30 a.m. local time. Watch Monday's game against Costa Rica live on CBC TV, CBC Gem and OneSoccer at 6:30 p.m. ET


The win against Trinidad was just another in a long line of impressive performances from Beckie after playing such a pivotal part in Canada's gold-medal run at last summer's Olympics. Since Tokyo, she has scored twice and set up six goals in nine games for the Reds.

With 35 goals in 90 appearances, Beckie, 27, is already Canada's fourth all-time leading scorer, something that often gets overlooked because she is primarily thought of as a playmaker.

Indeed, Beckie was at the heart of most of Canada's best attacking sequences against Trinidad, with her probing runs down the flanks, her dangerous crosses into the box, and her ability to pick out players in advantageous areas on the pitch causing all sorts of problems. In total, she created 15 scoring chances on the night, and helped set up Julia Grosso's second goal in the 79th minute that made it 3-0 and put the game out of reach for Trinidad.

WATCH | Julia Grosso scores a pair to lead way for Canada:

Julia Grosso bags a brace in Canada's rout over Trinidad and Tobago

5 months ago
Duration 2:03
Julia Grosso scored her first two goals with Canada's senior women's soccer team in a dominant 6-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago at the CONCACAF W Championship in Guadalupe, Mexico.

Beckie's two goals and four assists in 2022 means she's had a hand in half of the 12 goals Canada has scored this year. Her importance to the Canadian side has not waned in the least since the Olympics, both on and off the pitch, something for which Grosso is especially thankful.

"Janine is an incredible player, and especially the person she is off the field, as well. When I first got in the team, she took me under her wing and has helped me along the way. No matter what it is, she's always there for us," said Grosso, a 21-year-old from Vancouver.

"On the field, she brings the speed and her technique, and she gets those crosses in. She brings this energy to the team. ... She does amazing things for us."

As Christine Sinclair inches ever so closer to retirement, Beckie has taken on more responsibility and a bigger leadership role for Canada, all with an eye towards easing the transition that the team will have to make when it will no longer be able to rely on its iconic captain.

"I take a lot of pride in being a leader on this team," Beckie stated. "We are a team full of leaders that lead in different ways. And I think that's what this team has been so desperate for over the last four or five years, is for those of us that have been part of the program now for some time to kind of step into new roles and have a bigger responsibility on and off the field."

The eight-nation field at this CONCACAF tournament is divided into two groups. Canada, No. 6 in the current FIFA world rankings, is in Group B alongside Trinidad and Tobago (No. 76), Panama (No. 57) and Costa Rica (No. 37). Group A consists of the United States (No. 1), Mexico (No. 26), Jamaica (No. 51), and Haiti (No. 60).

The top two teams in both groups at the end of the round robin advance to the tournament semifinals and earn automatic berths for next year's FIFA World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Also, the winner of the 2022 CONCACAF W Championship will automatically qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics and next summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Janine Beckie consoles Kimika Forbes of Trinidad and Tobago at the end of Tuesday's match. (Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images)

The Canadians and Costa Ricans are tied for first place in Group B with three points apiece. What that means is that Canada can clinch a World Cup berth with a win over Panama, provided that Costa Rica doesn't lose to Trinidad in Friday's early game.

Canada went into its last match with Trinidad as the heavy favourite, and is expected again to cruise to victory vs. Panama. The Canadians have posted shutout victories in their only two previous meetings against Las Canaleras (The Canal Girls), including a 7-0 win at the 2018 Concacaf Women's Championship. Of the 11 players who started the game, nine are on the current Canadian squad, including Christine Sinclair and Adriana Leon who both gagged two goals last time out against Panama.

WATCH | Sinclair scores 190th international goal in Canada's win:

Sinclair scores 190th-career goal in Canadian win

5 months ago
Duration 1:11
Canadian soccer great Christine Sinclair scored Canada's first goal of the CONCACAF Women's Championship in a 6-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago.

Still, Canada needs to walk a fine line between being confident without being arrogant going into Friday's match, especially as coach Bev Priestman is expected to make changes to her starting 11.

"This group [of players], they're humble. They're hard-working, they're focused and ready to go. Although I've brought some freshness into the line-up, I also respect that anything can happen in CONCACAF, and we are here to qualify for a World Cup. That'll be the balance," Priestman explained.

Panama is coming off a 3-0 loss to Costa Rica earlier this week in its opening match of Group B play. That result snapped a four-game winning streak and a six-match unbeaten run (with two draws) dating back to their previous loss, a 3-2 loss to Costa Rica in a friendly on Sept. 21, 2021.

Canada wraps up the first round vs. Costa Rica on July 11 at Estadio BBVA in Monterrey.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Molinaro

Freelance contributor

John Molinaro is one of the leading soccer journalists in Canada, having covered the game for over 20 years for a number of media outlets, including CBC Sports, Sportsnet and Sun Media. During his time at CBC Sports, John travelled to South Africa to cover the 2010 FIFA World Cup for CBCSports.ca. He is currently the editor-in-chief of TFC Republic, a website dedicated to in-depth coverage of the Canadian game.

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