- Huitema made her senior international debut as a 15-year-old in March
- First player to score for Canada’s U-17, U-20, and senior team in the same year
- Appeared at last year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan
As 2017 comes to a close, Jordyn Huitema is sure to reflect fondly on what has been a year of progress and development for the Canadian youngster.
A tall and pacey forward, Huitema broke into Canada’s senior women’s side during the calendar year, making seven appearances for John Herdman’s squad. In fact, her senior international debut came two months before her 16th birthday in this year’s Algarve Cup final in Portugal, as Canada fell 1-0 to Spain on 8 March. The teenage striker then opened her senior international scoring account with a brace in a 6-0 friendly win over Costa Rica on 11 June.
Those goals in Toronto not only made Huitema the second youngest goalscorer in Canadian women’s team history, she then became the first Canadian international - male or female - to score for her country’s U-17, U-20, and senior national sides in a calendar year. For her efforts, Huitema was recently named Canada’s U-17 Women’s Player of the Year for 2017.
It is an impressive set of milestones for a player that is still finding her feet at the top level, with Huitema crediting Herdman and her team-mates for the opportunity. “I think that’s partially because of the environment I have been put in,” the 16-year-old said in a recent interview with FIFA.com.
“With John [Herdman] and with the players that I have surrounding me, it’s really helped me flourish as a player. Honestly, without that, I don’t think I would have been where I am today. There is so much more that I have to push for and so much more that I have to do for the team, but honestly, it’s the environment that John [Herdman] and Canada Soccer have put me in that has allowed me to do what I have done.”
- Born 8 May 2001 in the western Canadian city of Chilliwack, British Columbia
- Joined Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s Girls Elite Regional EXCEL Centre (REX) programme in January 2015
- Her football idol growing up is current Canada team-mate Christine Sinclair
— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) July 27, 2017
Exciting times ahead
Huitema’s progress is an example of Herdman’s efforts to include younger players in his team, as Canada set their attentions towards the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™. Beforehand, the North American nation will be eyeing a return to women football’s top youth competitions by qualifying for both the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay and FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in France in the New Year.
Though she has had a taste of the senior international game, Huitema is ready to play her part in helping the Canadians qualify for both Uruguay and France in 2018, having made her FIFA tournament debut as a 15-year-old at last year’s U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan.
“Who wouldn’t want to play in a World Cup? It’s a great honour to do that,” the forward said of next year’s tournaments.
“Any opportunity that I can get to play for the national team [programme], I would love to do that. Looking ahead with those teams, it’s about bringing the experience that I have gained over the past few months with the senior team and bringing it back to the youth teams.”
Women’s game evolving
As part of a new generation of players in the ever-changing world of women’s football, Huitema’s recent exploits has provided her with first-hand knowledge of how the women’s international game is evolving.
“I think it’s players pushing players to help the teams,” Huitema said. “Certain players start a domino effect, so when one team starts flourishing, I feel like that’s a domino effect to other teams as well, but it starts with certain players on a team that really get it going.”