University of Miami goalkeeper Melissa Dagenais knew she would one day make it to Canada’s national soccer team, but she didn’t expect it would be so soon.
The graduate student from Saint-Hubert, Que., was named to the roster by head coach Bev Priestman for soccer friendlies against Brazil at the end of October.
“I feel like when I have a goal, I know that I will reach it,” Dagenais said in a recent interview with Global News. “So it just kind of a matter of time. It was definitely, like it came as a surprise.
“I thought it would be coming in more like a couple of years.”
The six-foot-one-inch keeper is one that Priestman describes as having a lot to offer and one that “ticks a lot of boxes.” Dagenais is tall, has great reach and “all the attributes are there,” the coach said in mid-October.
The Quebec native is also making waves in the United States. Dagenais recorded her 13th career shutout in the Miami Hurricanes’ scoreless draw with North Carolina State earlier this month. Her three saves upped her career total to 249, fourth-best in program history.
Dagenais, who describes herself as a “calm and composed type of goalkeeper,” says her first call-up for the team is a “huge honour.” She will join No. 1 Kailen Sheridan and fellow goalies Sabrina D’Angelo and Lysianne Proulx on the Canada roster.
“It’s something that I’ve always been aspiring to, so I’m definitely, like, super excited about it and so is my family, which I’m happy they’re going to be here for it,” Dagenais said.
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The keeper says she likes to play in the moment, but she isn’t ruling out that a big crowd will also bring an even bigger adrenaline rush this weekend. But what else is different is knowing she will be part of the national team instead of watching the games on TV.
Another part she’s looking forward to is learning alongside the best athletes, like captain Christine Sinclair — whom Dagenais says has paved the way for women’s soccer in the country. It’s one of the super star’s final matches for Canada.
“She’s definitely someone to look up to,” Dagenais said. “And I’m very excited to be able to train with her because obviously training with the best, you kind of evolve. And I’m hoping to get better for sure.”
The goalie says she hopes she will continue to be called up. Dagenais describes herself as someone who “never just settles for this one thing” and she is determined to represent Canada on the field.
What comes next for Dagenais after she finishes her studies in Florida? The goalie plans to play professionally — whether that’s in North America or Europe.
“I have already had a few approaches. So yeah, it’s just a matter of picking what I think will be the best fit for me,” she said.
The games against Brazil will take place on Oct. 28 at Saputo Stadium in Montreal and Oct. 31 in Halifax at Wanderers Ground.
— with files from Global’s David Sedell and The Canadian Press
© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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