TORONTO â€” Newly drafted Kailen Sheridan and Nichelle Prince are among the 10 Canadian internationals allocated to the National Women’s Soccer League this season.
Under the allocation program, the Canadian Soccer Association and U.S. Soccer places select international players in the 10-team league while paying their salaries. The Mexican federation has done the same in the past but is not involved this season.
Sheridan, a 21-year-old goalkeeper from Whitby, Ont., who played collegiate soccer at Clemson, went 23rd overall in the recent NWSL draft to New Jersey-based Sky Blue FC. Ohio State forward Nichelle Prince, 23, of Ajax, Ont., was chosen by the Houston Dash five picks later.
Returning allocated Canadians are national team captain Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns FC), Janine Beckie (Houston Dash), Allysha Chapman (Boston Breakers), Sabrina D’Angelo (North Carolina Courage), Stephanie Labbe and Shelina Zadorsky (Washington Spirit), Diana Matheson (Seattle Reign) and Desiree Scott (FC Kansas City).
“There is consistency in the allocation for 2017 with a number of players heading into their fourth NWSL season, which is fantastic,” Canadian coach John Herdman said in a statement.
“For the new players, they are coming into an exciting league that has improved year over year, with clubs that have taken professionalism to another level. It’s great for Canada Soccer to have national team players in the NWSL because it enables us to bring our players together more frequently and consistently.”
The CSA allocated 11 players to the league last season. Dropping off this year’s list are Josee Belanger, Kaylyn Kyle and Adriana Leon.
The Orlando Pride said it had passed on retaining the rights of Belanger and Kyle, noting it had no international roster spots available for the 2017 season. The players will be available in the NWSL distribution draft.
Belanger may not be interested. The team said the 30-year-old had elected to forgo the upcoming season to remain in Montreal, where she will continue to train for international duty with Canada. The defender-forward made 14 starts for Orlando last season.
Belanger is due to join Canada for the Feb. 4 Olympic celebration match against Mexico in Vancouver.
Kyle, 28, was one of the Pride’s first three signings as an expansion club.
“Shocked & devastated is an understatement,” Kyle tweeted. “I wore my heart on my sleeve for this club, team & community! I have so many people to thank.”
The Olympic alternate, who has won 101 caps for Canada, appeared in 18 matches for Orlando last season.
Leon played in Switzerland most recently. She is currently in camp with Canada.
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press