Hard-nosed Olympique Lyonnais defender Kadeisha Buchanan, who won her fourth Champions League title in 2020 and helped Canada qualify for the Olympics, has been named Canadian Women’s Soccer Player of the Year for a third time.
Like Bayern Munich star Alphonso Davies, voted Canada’s top men’s player on Thursday, the 25-year-old from Brampton, Ont., lifted the Champions League trophy this year. But while it was a first for the 20-year-old Davies, Buchanan is a four-time winner of the European club competition with French powerhouse Lyon.
“For Kadeisha to have played an integral part in her fourth UEFA Champions League speaks to one of her many accomplishments and contributions to both club and country in which she should be very proud,” Canada women’s coach Bev Priestman said in a statement. “It has been a fantastic season for Kadeisha and it has been great to see her performances and the goals she has scored, too.
“She has world-class qualities that any country would be proud to have and she is a highly valued member of the squad both on and off the pitch, so we are thrilled for her personally in receiving this well-deserved recognition. As a team, to know you have a centre back that opposing forwards hate to play against, it fills the group with confidence.”
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Buchanan finished ahead of Canada captain Christine Sinclair in voting by Canadian coaches and media. Manchester City’s Janine Beckie and Paris Saint-Germain’s Ashley Lawrence and Jordyn Huitema completed the top five in voting.
Sinclair also had a memorable year.
The 37-year-old from Burnaby, B.C., moved atop soccer’s all-time goal-scoring list — for both men and women — on Jan. 29 at the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Edinburg, Texas.
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Sinclair, a 14-time winner of the Canadian Player of the Year award, notched goals No. 184, 185 and 186 at the tournament to pass retired American Abby Wambach.
While Sinclair is a soccer legend, one can argue that Buchanan is Canada’s most decorated soccer player, among men and women.
She has won the women’s European club crown and French league title all four years since making her pro debut in 2017. She has also won the French Cup three times. A winner of the Canadian Player of the Year Award in 2015 and 2017, Buchanan’s trophy case also includes an Olympic bronze medal (Rio 2016) and three CONCACAF silver medals.
At the 2015 World Cup, she won the Hyundai Young Player Award and was chosen to the tournament all-star team.
Buchanan has remarkably lost just four competitive club matches since joining Lyon from West Virginia University in January 2017. An athletic, physical defender who is good in the air, Buchanan has been paired with French star Wendie Renard at the heart of the Lyon defence.
Buchanan featured in 17 games for Lyon this year, scored three goals and was a major part of the team’s 20-match unbeaten streak across all league, cup and UEFA competitions from Jan. 12 to Nov. 13.
Lyon on a roll
Lyon had gone an amazing 73 matches without defeat prior to a 1-0 loss at Paris Saint-Germain last month. PSG was the last team to beat Lyon in any competition, 1-0 in the French Cup final in May 2018.
The streak was even longer — 80 matches — stretching back to December 2016 in French league play.
Buchanan played in all seven of Lyon’s Champions League matches in 2019-20. And she played every minute at centre back in August when Lyon dispatched Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals, Paris Saint-Germain in the semifinals, and VfL Wolfsburg in the championship game in San Sebastian, Spain.
Buchanan helped blunt Wolfsburg’s Ewa Pajor and Pernille Harder, the Bundesliga’s back-to-back scoring leaders, in a 3-1 win as Lyon completed a 2019-20 treble.
Buchanan was 14 when she made her debut in the Canadian youth program in 2010 and 17 when she made her senior debut in January 2013.