Overcoming setbacks is nothing new to Canada women’s forward Deanne Rose.
Rose, a native of Alliston, Ontario, made the decision to retire from the sport in 2014 after being dropped from the Canada U15 team, which was being coached by current senior team coach Bev Priestman at the time. A promising career seemed to end before it even began.
But her life took an unexpected turn when she was invited to train with Canada’s U17 national team in 2015. Things were going so well that at the end of the year, as a 16-year-old, she earned her first cap for Canada’s senior team. A mainstay of the national team ever since, her rise to the top as an Olympic champion capped an amazing comeback that pays tribute to her strength of character.
However, Rose, now 23, must show similar determination as she faces a serious injury crisis. Last weekend she was dismissed after just 20 minutes of Reading FC’s opening game in England’s Women’s Super League against Manchester United. Scans later showed Rose had ruptured her Achilles tendon. Reading issued a public statement on Thursday that lacked details, saying only that Rose “will be out of action for an extended period of time”.
“I really don’t have many words to describe the disappointment I’m feeling,” Rose said in an Instagram post. “But I have the determination, faith and mindset to come back stronger, both mentally and physically.”
The timing couldn’t be worse
The timing of the injury couldn’t be worse for Rose, who played four seasons at the University of Florida NCAA football before turning pro last year. While Reading finished a disappointing eighth place in the WSL in 2021/22, Rose impressed with five goals in all competitions in her rookie season and firmly established herself as one of the league’s top newcomers. More was expected of her at Reading this season.
The injury is also temporarily putting her international career on hold, ruling her out for next month’s exhibition games against Argentina and Morocco, as well as the November international window when Canada is expected to play two more friendlies.
Whether she can return in time for next summer’s FIFA World Cup, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, is the million-dollar question at this point.
Even if Rose recovers in six months, she will have missed most of the WSL season with Reading and will have little time to pick up a few games and get fit before the World Cup. If she misses any longer, that window will shrink even further and would likely jeopardize her participation in the World Cup.
If Canada couldn’t count on Rose, it would be a huge blow to their chances of success at the World Cup. Fast and powerful, Rose has become a key player for the Reds since her debut seven years ago. In 73 games (43 starts), she scored 10 goals and provided nine assists.
CLOCK | Rose Suffers Achilles Injury:
Canada would be weaker without Rose
Amy Walsh of the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame, who won 102 caps for the Canada women’s team from 1997 to 2009, argues that without Rose, Canada would be a weaker team.
“She’s a sprinter. That’s a big aspect of her game, her speed – both with the ball at her feet when dribbling and in a full sprint when she’s going for a recovery run or going for an attacking run,” Walsh told CBC-Sport.
“So that’s a big hole to fill if Deanne isn’t able to recover for the World Cup. Obviously, Bev will have other attacking players to fall back on. But I don’t know if she can call someone with Deanne’s specific profile, someone who can push opponents back because they have to show her that respect. She’s a big part of the Canadian team.
Rose also offers Canada offensive versatility and opens up the game for her teammates, namely central midfielder Jessie Fleming.
“With Deanne you get a thorough forward but also a real winger so she’s someone who can play through the front three. She also gives the team a dimension where she can create that half space for Fleming to operate in. With Rose’s speed, opponents’ defenders have to drop lower because she can beat them in a foot race or on the turn, giving Fleming more opportunities in the middle of the park,” Welsh explained.
Rose has shown great attitude for someone so young and inexperienced, coming through for the Canadian team in some of his greatest moments.
Rose an Olympic game
It was Rose who opened the scoring in the third-place play-off at the 2016 Olympics and helped lead Canada to a 2-1 win over hosts Brazil. She became the youngest Olympic goalscorer in history at 17 years and 169 days as Canada won a bronze medal for the second straight year.
Last summer at the Tokyo games, Rose played in all six games and started four times, including the full 120 minutes of regular time and overtime against Sweden in the final.
With Canada teetering on the brink of a heartbreaking defeat, Rose kept her nerve throughout the penalty shoot-out to draw the bow and keep her nation’s hopes alive. That paved the way for teammate Julia Grosso to seal the gold medal for Canada with the team’s next penalty attempt.
“The consistency she has shown at such a young age and her ability to shine in big moments is what you want in a forward and that’s what Deanne gives you,” Walsh said.