Wednesday 24 April 2019, 20:36

Buchanan: I’ve learned a lot since 2015

  • Defender set for her second FIFA Women’s World Cup™

  • Voted Best Young Player at Canada 2015

  • Canada or Jamaica: who will her family support?

Canada centre-half Kadeisha Buchanan was 19 when she collected the Hyundai Young Player Award at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™, overcoming the nerves of playing for the host nation in the world’s biggest competition and earning rave reviews in a position where the slightest slip can be costly.

Discussing her many attributes and identifying her as one of the key players in a Canada side that went out in the quarter-finals, FIFA's Technical Study Group described the youngster as “a powerful and combative centre half, who excels in one-on-one situations. Capable of launching attacks, she can also prevent opponents from bearing down on goal.”

Four years later, Buchanan still possesses those attributes, albeit with some slight differences. “The biggest one is my hair,” smiled the defender, who has now dispensed with the distinctive flowing red dreadlocks she sported at Canada 2015. “I’ve still got the same defensive abilities, but I’ve tried to improve the attacking side of my game. I’ve also got a lot more experience. I’ve matured and learned a lot."

Offence meets defence

Buchanan, who has just won a third French league title with Olympique Lyonnais, has that attacking spirit in her genes: “My father was a forward and I like to score goals, too.” Like any youngster, she wanted to be a striker when she was growing up, but is now happy and grateful to be playing in a position where she excels.

“The fact is I’ve played in every position on the pitch: winger, holding midfielder, full-back…” she explained. “I just think that centre-half is the position best suited to me. Everything comes into it: my height, my body and my natural defensive instinct. I’ve always got that desire to get forward and score goals deep inside of me, but the fact is I can do that too, so I’m very happy. I’ve come a long way and it’s a position that’s opened a lot of doors for me.”

The first of them was the Canadian youth programme, which she joined at the age of 14. It was the start of a hugely impressive career with the Canucks, with whom she won bronze at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016.

In the meantime, Buchanan excelled with the Mountaineers of West Virginia University and Vaughan Azzurri of League1 Ontario before signing for French giants Olympique Lyonnais in 2017. In her time at l’OL, the Canadian has already won a Coupe de France and two UEFA Women’s Champions League titles to go with those three league championships.

Canada-CameroonStade de la Mosson, Montpellier10 June
Canada-New ZealandStade des Alpes, Grenoble15 June
Netherlands-CanadaStade Auguste-Delaune, Reims20 June

Jamaican roots

The Buchanan family will have two teams to cheer on at France 2019: Canada and Jamaica. Keisha’s parents were born on the Caribbean island and she had strong ties to it during her childhood years.

“I’m proud they’ve qualified for the World Cup and I’m very happy for them,” she said, revealing a necklace in the shape of the island. “My roots are Jamaican and I’ve grown up with that culture, with that influence.”

And should the two teams come up against each other in France, Buchanan expressed confidence that her parents will cheer her on, even if the look on her face suggested she harbours some doubts about that.

“My mother follows them closely,” said Buchanan with a slightly uncertain laugh. Her mother, who keeps close watch over her trophies, will be travelling to France to support her at the World Cup.

“If I had to choose my favourite memory of Canada 2015, it would have to be the match against the Netherlands in Quebec because my whole family came to see me and so did a lot of my school friends and my first coach,” said the 23-year-old, expressing the importance of her family to her, a family in which she is one of 11 children. “Having everyone come and see me living my dream, playing in the World Cup at home, was perhaps the highlight.”

“The best outcome would be to win the World Cup, though getting on the podium would be a good result too.”
Kadeisha Buchanan on her expectations for France 2019