Canadian women’s team midfielder Julia Grosso can not be blamed if her head is spinning after 12 months.
Grosso, who scored the winning goal in Canada’s dramatic penalty shootout victory over Sweden, secured the historic gold medal for Canadians at last summer’s Olympics.
A native of Vancouver, he was playing NCAA football at the University of Texas at the time, but his exemplary performances in Tokyo caught Juventus’ attention. Last December, when the famous Italian team signed a short-term contract, he advanced from college to the pro rankings.
The Canadian midfielder was instrumental in helping the Turin-based club win the Italian League Championship, while making his debut in the UEFA Champions League when Juventus reached the quarter-finals. Juventus are so impressed with Grosseau that they have signed a contract extension until the end of the 2024 season.
The 21-year-old is set to play a key role for Canada in the upcoming CONCACAF Women’s Championship, which is set to qualify for the 2023 FIFA World Cup. The top four teams will advance to the World Cup, while the winner of the tournament in Mexico from July 5-18 will also qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics. The second and third place teams will meet on a date of the playoffs to determine the other CONCACAF qualifiers for the Olympics.
Grosso’s star has been on the rise since making his national team debut in 2017 at the age of 17 under former coach John Hertman. Since then, the hard-working central midfielder has been a key feature on the Canadian team, including appearing on the bench in last Sunday’s 0-0 draw against South Korea in Toronto.
Scott’s retirement at the end will be the biggest hole to fill Canada in midfield. But even two years ago, when Grosso cut his teeth with the national team and played NCAA football, Canadian captain Christine Sinclair predicted big things for the Vancouver native.
“Julia can do whatever she wants in this game, she’s very talented. She has a great role model to watch from Desire Scott, learn from her and absorb as much as she can. I fully believe. [Desiree] The best holding midfielder in the sport and I hope one day Julia will fill her shoes. She has a long future with this team, “Sinclair said during the 2020 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championships.
‘Best view of the game’
Grosso’s sport does not shine through with any extension of imagination because she often flies under the radar. But every team needs a holding midfielder like her who can retain possessions and distribute the ball effectively and connect with attacking players.
This is not all murmuring work with Grosso. She effectively marries a body style with other traits that make her a major creative trap in the midfield of Canada.
“He has amazing technical ability, strong left leg, and excellent vision of the game,” exclaimed senior midfielder Sophie Schmidt.
That being said, there is room for her game to progress and thrive. The transition from college to professional football was relatively smooth for Grosso, especially as he had to adapt to a new language and culture in Italy.
Takes the next step
Canadian coach Bev Priestman has seen measured growth in Crosse as he has played in the Italian top flight and the UEFA Champions League. But with that comes more responsibility, and he has challenged the young midfielder to become more aggressive and more involved in Canada’s attack.
“What I want to see from Julia is to play faster, think faster and take more risks to play forward. I always felt when she came in. [Canadian training] Before the camps from the NCAA that it would take her four days to reach the pace of play. My hope is that she’s in a professional environment that will speed things up for her, “Priestman told CBC Sports.
“Julia’s ceiling is very high – physically, tactically, technically. She’s a beautiful player at the ball. Because if we lose the ball, we’ll win it again. That’s what I want to see from her going forward. ”