Whirlwind week for soccer star Kadeisha Buchanan

In becoming only the second Canadian-born competitor to capture the Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy, which recognizes the most outstanding performer in NCAA women’s soccer, it has placed Kadeisha Buchanan on the map as one of the brightest stars on the pitch. Having starred with the West Virginia University Mountaineers, the Brampton, Ontario native joins Christine Sinclair in this accomplished group.

Of note, Buchanan becomes the first player in the history of the Mountaineers program to have the Hermann Trophy honor bestowed upon her. Prior to this win, she was a two-time finalist in 2015 (the year that she captured both the Soccer News Net Women’s College Boot award and the FIFA Women’s World Cup Best Young Player) and in 2016. In addition, she is also the first defender since Cat Reddick of North Carolina (2003) to capture the honor.

Leading up to the Hermann Trophy win, Buchanan also captured several other prestigious prizes, testament to her talent and her defensive prodigy. In December 2016, Buchanan was recognized by both espnW and by TopDrawerSoccer.com as their National Player of the Year winner. The year would culminate with recognition as the Honda Sport Award winner for soccer.

Buchanan’s list of soccer achievements at West Virginia establishes her as one of the greatest student-athletes, male or female, to don their colors. In addition to four straight All-America honors, the only player in program history to do so, she has gained recognition as a four-time All-Big 12 honoree, complemented by three Big 12 Tournament Defensive MVP honors. Equally impressive is the fact that the assiduous Buchanan was also recognized during her sterling career with four Academic All-Big 12 awards, displaying similar proficiency in the classroom.

During her career with the Mountaineers, Buchanan appeared in 90 of 91 games, missing one game due to her participation with the Canadian national team in a bronze medal effort at the 2016 Rio Summer Games. As a defensive stalwart, Buchanan was a key factor in the Mountaineers logging an NCAA-record 18 shutouts this past season, 55 overall since she first joined the program. During the 2016 season, the program did not allow one goal during Big 12 Conference play, the first time in Big 12 women’s soccer that any team ever pitched a season shutout.

Having helped the program reach the finals of the NCAA College Cup, the first in its history, Buchanan’s legacy also included recognition as the NCAA Tournament’s Defensive MVP. The fellow nominees included a pair of players from California-based teams, including Morgan Andrews of the Southern California Trojans, the team that defeated the Mountaineers in the College Cup finals, plus Stanford Cardinal competitor Andi Sullivan.

Among her teammates at West Virginia included fellow Canadian national teammate, midfielder Ashley Lawrence, who was a semifinalist for the Hermann Award. Having also graduated this year, the two, who have been teammates since they were nine years old in Brampton, Ontario, will see their careers to run parallel.

With 109 combined caps for Canada, both continue their careers at the professional level in France, although this new chapter sees the long-time friends become rivals. Lawrence has signed with Paris Saint-Germain while the reigning UEFA Women’s Champion League champions Olympique Lyonnais acquired Buchanan less than one week after the Hermann Trophy win.

Among Buchanan’s new teammates with Lyonnais shall be American superstar, striker Alex Morgan along with German defender Josephine Henning (who signed a six month contract to expire on June 30), who were both introduced to the press on January 7 by team President Jean-Michel Aulas. Of note, Lyonnais is the most successful team in France’s Ligue 1 Feminine with 14 league titles.

Adding to the intensity of this newly minted rivalry is the fact that both Paris Saint-Germain and Lyonnais are among the Ligue 1’s elites in French Cup play. Currently, PSG stands atop the standings with an undefeated mark of 10-0-0. Lyonnais sits at second at 9-1-0, with its only loss coming to Paris Saint-Germain in a 1-0 final on Dec. 17. The first match between Lawrence and Buchanan is scheduled to take place on May 14, 2017.

Lawrence gained the opportunity to don the PSG colors in a January 8 match against Bourges, one of the lower-division clubs in French Cup play. Prevailing in a 19-0 whitewash, Brazil’s Cristiane led PSG with a sensational seven goals.

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Female soccer stars immortalized on commemorative Canadian postage stamp

As the 2015 FIFA Womens’ World Cup approaches quickly, host country Canada is immortalizing several of its soccer heroes. Canada Post is issuing a commemorative postage stamp featuring Christina Sinclair and Kadeisha Buchanan. In recognition of Japan’s status as defending World Cup champion, goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori also graces the image of said stamp.

Released on May 6, 2015, it pays homage to the superstar (Sinclair) that paved the way for soccer in Canada while recognizing the new generation (Buchanan) of Canadian women helping to build on such momentum. Among the Canadian dignitaries at the release of said stamp included the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport and responsible for Canada Post. She was joined by the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport), along with Deepak Chopra, President and CEO, Canada Post.

Image obtained from http://www.canadapost.ca

Image obtained from http://www.canadapost.ca

Designed by Debbie Adams of Toronto, the stamps were printed on Tullis Russell paper with lithography of eight colors. In addition, the stamp depicts the name of every host city (and its respective province) during the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which shall culminate with the championship game contested on July 5 at BC Place in Vancouver.

Of note, the stamps are available in booklets of ten, while the Official First Day Cover will be cancelled in Edmonton, site of the opening game between Canada and China on June 6, 2015. In addition, a collectible plaque featuring the image of the stamp is available and limited to only 1,000 units.

Since the London 2012 Summer Games, women’s soccer has become an integral part of Canada’s sporting conversation, elevating Sinclair to an iconic status once reserved for hockey heroes. Having played in more than 150 games for the Canadian national team, Sinclair is the only competitor to have scored a hat trick against US goaltender Hope Solo. Heading into the 2015 World Cup, this shall be Sinclair’s fourth consecutive appearance. Having also played at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Games, she earned a bronze in 2012, while being honored as the flag bearer at the Closing Ceremonies.

Buchanan is one of the rising stars on Canada’s defensive unit, praised by head coach John Herdman as the “Christine Sinclair of defenders”. Currently competing at the NCAA level with the University of West Virginia Mountaineers, she is ranked number 6 in the US among collegiate and non-professional female competitors.