Cyle Larin & Jessie Fleming
Cyle Larin and Jessie Fleming have been named Canada Soccer’s Players of the Month for March 2021. Larin of Brampton, Ontario helped Canada win back-to-back matches in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers as well as keep Beşiktaş at the top of the table in Turkey. Fleming of London, Ontario, meanwhile, helped Chelsea FC win the Continental League Cup in England as well as return to the semi-final stage of UEFA Women’s Champions League.
Larin scored four goals in the two Canada wins, notably becoming just the third Canadian to score a hat trick in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers (after Alex Bunbury in 1992 and Simeon Jackson in 2011). After his Player of the Match performance on Thursday night against Bermuda, Larin scored again in the victory over Cayman Islands, moving him into fourth place on Canada’s all-time list for goals in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers (one back of Dwayne De Rosario and Dale Mitchell; three back of all-time leader Alex Bunbury).
At the club level in March, Larin scored a goal and an assist in four league matches (three wins and a draw) as Beşiktaş JK maintained top spot in the Turkish Süper Lig standings. Larin also scored the 3:2 winner in extra time of the Turkish Cup semi-finals (Türkiye Kupası) as Beşiktaş reached the Final for the first time since 2011.
Larin was one of nine players who scored for Canada across the two matches in March, with Lucas Cavallini the hat trick hero in the Monday night win over Cayman Islands. Both Alphonso Davies and Mark-Anthony Kaye scored twice against Cayman Islands while Theo Corbeanu, Alistair Johnston, Richie Laryea, Frank Sturing and David Wotherspoon all scored their first international goals. Both Davies and Wotherspoon also tied the Men’s National Team record with three assists in a match (Davies against Bermuda, Wotherspoon against Cayman Islands).
While Larin and teammate Atiba Hutchinson lead their league in Turkey, Scott Arfield and Rangers FC clinched the Scottish Premiership on 7 March with six fixtures remaining on the schedule. As of 31 March, Jonathan David and Lille OSC were tied for first in France’s Ligue 1, Davies and FC Bayern were at the top of the league in Germany’s Bundesliga, and Milan Borjan and Red Star Belgrade (FK Crvena zvezda) are on pace to win their fourth-consecutive SuperLiga title in Serbia.
Fleming helped Chelsea FC win the FA Women’s League Cup for the first time, playing the full 90 minutes in a 6:0 win over Bristol City. Fleming became the second Canadian to win the trophy, just two years after Beckie won the League Cup with Manchester City FC. In the FA Women’s Super League, Fleming featured in three matches in March as Chelsea maintained first place by two points ahead of Manchester City FC. In UEFA Women’s Champions League, she featured in two matches as Chelsea FC reached the semi-final stage.
Fleming was one of six Canadians that reached the quarter-final stage of UEFA Women’s Champions League, the first time ever that Canadians featured in all four series at this stage. While Fleming and Chelsea eliminated Wolfsburg across two legs, Beckie and Manchester City were eliminated by FC Barcelona while Stephanie Labbé and FC Rosengård faced FC Bayern. Jordyn Huitema and Ashley Lawrence of Paris Saint-Germain FC face Kadeisha Buchanan and Olympique Lyonnais in the other quarter-final series, with the series to wrap up in mid April.
Looking ahead to the month of April, Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team continue their preparations for the Olympic Games with a pair of international matches against Wales on 9 April and then England on 13 April. Fans will find extended coverage across Canada Soccer’s digital channels on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube featuring the hashtag #CANMNT.
PLAYERS of the MONTH:
March 2021 – Cyle Larin & Jessie Fleming
February 2021 – Alphonso Davies & Shelina Zadorsky
January 2021 – Cyle Larin & Ashley Lawrence
Canada Soccer outlines return to soccer guidelines. The return to soccer guidelines provide member organizations with a five-step process, including a checklist of weighted questions known as the Return to Soccer Assessment Tool.