Loading articles...

'Definitely watching as a coach': No fanfare as Priestman scopes Canadians on pro clubs

Women's International Friendly 13 April 2021 - Stoke-on-Trent, ENG // Alex Hodgins and head coach Bev Priestman // Canada Soccer by Will Palmer

VANCOUVER (660 NEWS) — The international window is closed, but the work continues for Canadian women’s soccer team head coach Bev Priestman.

Her group is coming off a successful set of friendlies in the U.K., with victories over Wales and England, in preparation for this summer’s Olympics.

RELATED: Canada capitalizes on England mistakes to win friendly

And as the players headed back to their respective professional clubs around the world, Priestman relayed a message to the squad.

“It doesn’t matter what shape any club plays in, what position a player plays in, the behaviour element that we’ve gone after, like be more front-footed, winning the ball back quicker, playing forward earlier and moving the ball quicker on less touches, these sorts of behaviours are some of the things I’ve really gone after,” the coach said on a recent call with the media.

“Those are the measuring sticks that I’ll be seeing week in and week out. Whenever I’m watching a player, that’s specifically what I’m looking for because I think those behaviours are training away from camp. We can’t come together and then all of a sudden try and change habits. Those are trained day in and day out in a club environment. The players left really clear on that.

“It’s exciting to see all of our players in-season. It’s exciting as a coach. You get to see how they turn up week in and week out.”

Forward √Čvelyne Viens has already made an impression, scoring the game-winner in a recent barn burner between her NJ/NY Gotham FC and North Carolina Courage in the National Women’s Soccer League.

Was her Canadian head coach watching?

She sure was.

“That’s what √Čvelyne does,” Priestman said of her forward. “For me, to have a no. 9 scoring and doing it with some sort of confidence, I think that only is going to help Canada. I know she was over the moon. We’ve got a catch-up this week, but to get that winner, I would say that was a great result for them.”

READ MORE: ‘Shift in mindset’: Canada’s Priestman evaluates team’s first action in months

And that’s a message to all national team players currently part of the pool or those looking to work their way into the program: Priestman’s watching you through her coaching goggles — not as a fan.

“You’re watching for players in terms of what you’ve fed back around things to work on,” she explained. “When you watch a player, and you see how they’re operating tactically within their own environment, you know what they get week in and week out and how to get the best out of them.

“I’m definitely watching as a coach and then feeding back to the players on what they did well and things to put attention on going into the next game without interfering into the club’s tactics.”