Sunday 09 June 2019, 09:03

Riviere: I wanted to become a footballer when I was three

  • Jayde Riviere recalls the moment she knew she’d made Canada’s squad

  • The 18-year-old explains her admiration for Christine Sinclair

  • Follow the Live Blog for Canada-Cameroon

By Mona Yeganegi with Canada

Jayde Riviere had barely left toddlerhood when, incredibly, she knew she wanted to become a footballer.

“I definitely knew I wanted to be a footballer since I first touched the ball when I was three years old,” she told FIFA. “As I grew older, learning more about the sport, watching people like [Christine] Sinclair on TV, it really interested me.”

The before-the-norm theme has continued for Riviere. At just 18 years of age, she is, alongside the aforementioned Canada legend, at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™. The fullback won’t forget the moment she discovered she’d made the squad in a hurry.

“I remember the moment so vividly: entering this dark room, before all of a sudden hearing loud music with lights and all of our pictures on the wall, and that's when I knew,” she said.

Riviere is especially thrilled to be playing alongside Sinclair, who, with 181 Canada goals to her name, is just three shy of equaling Abby Wambach’s record for international goals.

“On the field, you can just see how experienced and how smart she is with how she plays,” said Riviere. “Playing next to her is amazing, but I think even being off the field with her, you learn so much.”

Riviere wants to go from idolising Sinclair to being an idol for Canadian footballers of the future: “That's my goal, to inspire so that they can think of age as just a number, and to know that being young and playing on this team isn't impossible.”

Riviere was selected by Canada coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller as a defender, but she used to play on the wing: “Scoring goals was fun, but I think I really felt like being a fullback with this team. I've learned a lot and incorporated being a winger into a fullback position.”

The Markham, Ontario native would, in truth, play anywhere just to be at this tournament.

“I think being in France is amazing and not a lot of people get this opportunity to play at a FIFA World Cup,” she said. “Knowing that the tournament has kicked off and France has played already is really cool, because more emotions come, more feelings come, and it starts to feel more real being part of this journey.”

Canada’s journey begins against Cameroon in Montpellier on Monday.

“We're not changing who we are,” explained Riviere. “We're very good at bringing our Canadian identity to tournaments.

“Cameroon is a very good team. Their strategies are very well planned, but I think if we stick to what we do best, we won't have problems.”