It has been a year of change and disappointment for Canadian soccer.

Captains Christine Sinclair and Atiba Hutchinson have ended their respective prestigious international careers. John Herdman has left his post as head coach of the Canadian team to lead Toronto FC in Major League Soccer.

The Canadians, the reigning Olympic champions, disappointed at the FIFA World Cup in Australia, being unable to advance from the preliminary phase. Bev Priestman’s team, however, bounced back in September by eliminating Jamaica, 40th in the world, and at the same time obtaining their pass to the Paris Olympic Games next summer.

On the men’s side, the Canadian team collapsed to Jamaica (No. 55) in the quarterfinals of the Concacaf Nations League in November. She can still hope to qualify for the Copa America and secure a duel against reigning World Cup champions Argentina next summer, provided she wins a playoff duel in March against 96th-ranked Trinidad and Tobago on the world stage.

“All eyes will be on our team. It will be a great match for our players,” agreed Team Canada interim head coach Mauro Biello about the duel against Trinidad and Tobago, which will allow the winning team to join Group A of the Copa America consisting of Argentina (No. 1), Peru (No. 35) and Chile (No. 40).

The men’s and women’s teams nevertheless dream of better days.

“It’s going to be a tough year, obviously. It will be a year of transition, said FC Porto midfielder Stephen Eustaquio, who was voted Player of the Year according to Soccer Canada. Everyone is aware of this… We are in a transition process, but I believe we are in a good position. Our team is strong. »

“I think we have realized that we will not have the best year in the history of the team every year,” continued midfielder Chelsea Fleming, named player of the year by Soccer Canada. It was a very disappointing summer for us. But since the summer, I think things have been a lot more positive for our group and I think we have managed to establish a good rhythm for next year. »

The fact remains that 2023 will end like 2023, that is to say with a dark cloud hovering over the heads of Soccer Canada and its two flagship teams.

Hutchinson, 40, hung up his cleats after June’s Concacaf Nations League final in Las Vegas, having come on in the game that ended 2-0 in favor of Canada against Panama in the semi-finals of the competition around the 76th minute of play. It was his 104th appearance on the international scene, a record.

For her part, Sinclair called time on her successful 23-year international career at the start of December after posting two friendly wins against Australia at home in British Columbia. The 40-year-old from Burnaby, British Columbia, ended her career with a world record 190 goals and 331 international appearances – second only to American Kristine Lilly , at 354.

Unlike Hutchinson, Sinclair plans to play one final season with his professional club, the Portland Thorns, in the NWSL.

Her teammates Sophie Schmidt (226 caps) and Erin McLeod (119 caps) also announced their retirement from the international scene.