Following the success of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, Soccer Canada is again hoping one of its female teams finds itself on the podium at the Under-17 Women’s World Cup in Azerbaijan.
The team has three players on its roster with a Surrey connection, including Jasmin Dhanda, a 16-year-old student at Tamanawis Secondary.
A striker, Dhanda is already with the team in Azerbaijan, training for the start of the tournament Saturday against Nigeria.
Canada is grouped with the host country, Nigeria and Colombia for group play, after which the top two teams in each of the four groups advance to the quarterfinal round.
Canada reached the quarterfinal round of the 2008 World Cup in New Zealand before being eliminated by Germany.
Dhanda made her debut in the Canadian youth program last year, winning a silver medal at the 2012 CONCACAF Women’s under-17 Championship in Guatamala, a placing that qualified Canada to the World Cup.
She excelled in four games, coming on as a substitute in a 1-0 loss to the United States and a 1-0 win over Mexico.
She played all 90 minutes in a 6-1 win over Guatamala, scoring once. She added her second goal of the tournament after starting against Panama before leaving the game in the 50th minute.
“I’d describe my playing style as running down the line with the ball, beating players and scoring goals,” Dhanda said on whitecapsfc.com. “When I take to the field I try to emulate (Canadian striker) Christine Sinclair, because she plays the same position as me.”
While playing for Surrey-Guildford United, Dhanda also is a member of the Whitecaps FC Girls Elite Program. She was a member of Team B.C. which won a gold medal at the Western Canada Summer Games in Kamloops last year.
Two students at Semiahmoo Secondary are also in Azerbaijan, but playing for different teams.
Aman Shergill, also a member of the Whitecaps FC program as well as a player with Surrey United, will play as a defender for Canada.
Emma Fletcher, a midfielder and a Whitecaps FC program participant while attending Semiahmoo, is suiting up for her native New Zealand.