VAN DIEST: Janine Beckie extends stay in England, looks forward to next appearance for Canada

While Janine Beckie is currently at home in Colorado waiting out the COVID-19 pandemic, her future with the Manchester City Women’s Football Club has been secured for at least another two seasons.

The Canadian international signed a two-year extension to stay with the English club, who were leading the Barclays FA Women’s Super League standings before play was suspended due to the global outbreak of the coronavirus.

Beckie, 25, has been with Manchester City since August 2018, and was having a strong second season. She is also an integral member of the Canadian women’s national team, with 31 goals in 70 international appearances.

“I’m really excited, my original contract had an option year on it, but we’ve been in communications about a potential extension for a few months now,” Beckie said on Wednesday from her home just outside of Denver. “There was some interest from some other teams, but to be completely honest, I was not interested in leaving Man City. I’ve loved my time there and it’s very clear to me and hopefully to others that I’ve gotten a lot better over the last few years, and I just couldn’t quite leave that environment with what feels like some unfinished business.”

Beckie joined Manchester City after playing with the Houston Dash and Sky Blue FC of the National Women’s Soccer League in the United States.

Born in Colorado to Canadian parents, the talented forward has been part of Canada’s national team since 2014. She scored three goals at the 2016 Rio Olympics, helping Canada secure a second consecutive bronze medal, and represented the country at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France last summer.

Beckie has five goals and 10 assists in 21 games for Manchester City this season.

“The season has been a lot different for me than last season,” Beckie said. “Last season, I came into the team about a month after they had been together and we had Georgia Stanway and Nikita Parris who were playing at top at the time, just scoring loads of goals and playing really well, so it was really difficult to break into the starting 11.

“This season I came in, I had a really good preseason and was a starter up top for the first quarter of the season. Then, unfortunately, Aoife Mannion, our right fullback, tore her ACL and we had to find a quick fix for that. Nick Cushing who was our manager at the time thought that I was the next best option for what we had, most likely due to my athletic ability, definitely not to my defending ability.”

Beckie has taken over the role of right back admirably for Manchester City and was playing a full 90 minutes in the spot. Eventually, Beckie would like to return to her position up front, which she also plays extremely effectively for Canada.

“Part of what I’ve learned playing at the back is the kind of movements as a forward that make a fullback’s job easier,” Beckie said. “When I’ve gone back to the national team and been closer to the goal, it’s helped me be more efficient with how I can get the ball or how I can support the players behind me. So it’s definitely helped me.”

Canada’s Janine Beckie shoots at goal in a Group E game against Cameroon at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup at the Stade de La Mosson, Montpellier, France on June 10, 2019. Jean-Paul Pelissier / Reuters

Beckie’s newfound knowledge helped Canada qualify for the for the Tokyo Olympic tournament, which has since been pushed back to next summer due to the pandemic. Canada also had been scheduled to play an exhibition game against Australia in Vancouver this past Tuesday, which was cancelled.

Like most professional athletes, Beckie is trying to stay as active as possible for when her season in England and national team duties can resume.

After getting knocked out in the second round of the Women’s World Cup last summer, Canada had high hopes heading into the Olympic tournament.

“Just like everything else in the world, we’re on hold, but it makes it a little bit easier to swallow knowing that we’re not the only ones being affected by this,” Beckie said. “It’s a difficult place to be in, because we don’t know the next time we’re going to be together as a team, we don’t know how many high quality international games we’re going to be able to play before next summer.

“It’s definitely a difficult time, but our staff has been incredible communicating with us and as soon as they have any information they let us know. It’s been an odd-time, but hopefully, people keep following government guidelines and we can get sports back up and running sometime soon.”

Canadian players pose ahead of the France 2019 Women’s World Cup Group E football match between Canada and Cameroon, on June 10, 2019, at the Mosson Stadium in Montpellier, southern France. Pascal Guyot / Getty Images

Regardless of when they get back on the field, the women’s national team remains world class with players like Beckie, Kadeisha Buchanan, Ashley Lawrence, Jessie Fleming, Rebecca Quinn and Nichelle Prince taking over from a golden generation of players, which included Christine Sinclair, Diana Matheson, Erin McLeod, Desiree Scott, and Sophie Schmidt.

“Had the Olympics happened this summer I think we would have started to see a real transition of personnel on this team in the next year,” Beckie said. “I love our current team and I hope our current team can stay together over the course of the next year as much as possible.

“I think that’s what special about this team is that Canada has had to rely a lot on youth over the course of the last decade with the help from veteran players that have been around for a long time. Our veteran players have been incredibly gifted in bring up the new generations and making them feel like they’re important and valued and I think that’s been the X-factor on our team.”


On Twitter: @DerekVanDiest

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