OTTAWA (660 NEWS) — Kadeisha Buchanan has been named Canadian soccer player of the year on three different occasions, but it’s a distinction with new meaning in 2020.
The reality was no stadium full of fans, no supporter groups chanting her name, all while trying to stay in game shape, not knowing when she would be back on the pitch, for club or country.
“When we got back into the scheme of things, it was quite difficult,” the 25-year-old defender admitted of her three-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At the beginning, it was really weird. Just being at home, being in quarantine but knowing there may be a season later on or that the season’s not fully cancelled, but we have to be aware of our well-being as an athlete, still making sure that we’re doing the due diligence and making sure that we’re ready to step out on the field.
Canada's Kadeisha Buchanan says even in the midst of a pandemic, it's easy staying focused on soccer.
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“Right now, in this moment, there’s no quarantine. There’s just a COVID test so many times a week to be safe. But I think in France, we’re rolling, the season’s going, [UEFA Women’s] Champions League is on, so in that sense, it feels pretty normal.”
And rolling is an excellent way to describe it.
In 2020, Buchanan and her Olympique Lyonnais squad celebrated three club trophies, including the revered UEFA Women’s Champions League, making her an easy choice for Canadian player of the year, awarded by Canada Soccer.
“I feel like every game we’re trying to improve, whether we’re facing a team that’s in last place, there’s always things to improve and touch upon for the next game,” Buchanan explained of her nearly half-a-decade professional tenure with the Division 1 Féminine organization.
“You can’t do the same thing you did last year. You need to grow and get better. I will always be grateful for where we are and how far we’ve made it, but we always try to go one step further. We won a Champions League this year. Next year, it’s not going to be easy, and it’s going to be a different game.
“Every year, we try to get better because we know that clubs are investing in players. A club like Chelsea are putting a lot of money toward their players and getting better.”
The 2016 Olympic bronze medallist has been an integral part of the Canadian national team roster since she debuted as a 17-year-old.
As a centre-back, she commands the backline and often, Buchanan’s tenacious style sets the tone for the game.
Although the group hasn’t played together since the early part of the year, she says their mentality hasn’t changed, even with the 2020 Games being postponed to 2021.
“We’ve been doing a lot of check-ins and really seeing how everyone is doing,” she offered.
“A few of the players have two bronze. I have one bronze. Just looking to change that colour and get gold.”