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Back from injury, rising star Jayde Riviere looks forward to 2nd Women’s World Cup

Just 22, Jayde Riviere already has a glittering soccer resume. And she is expected to add to that reputation at the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

The fullback from Markham, Ont., who plays her club football for Manchester United, has already won Olympic gold, featured at the 2019 World Cup in France and won 37 caps for Canada. Not to mention earn an endorsement deal with Under Armour.

Riviere is poised beyond her years, on and off the field.

“She’s incredible. The way she has come in and just owned the fullback position,” said Canada captain Christine Sinclair. “Nothing seems to faze her. It doesn’t matter if she’s playing an Olympic gold-medal game, training or playing against a Marta [of Brazil] or playing against the U.S.”

“She just has this confidence about her that she’s going to own whoever she plays against,” Sinclair added. “She just plays so fearless, which is obviously an invaluable trait to have.”

Seventh-ranked Canada opens Group B play July 20 versus No. 40 Nigeria in Melbourne before taking on No. 22 Ireland on July 26 in Perth and No. 10 Australia on Aug. 31 back in Melbourne.

Riviere was 18, with just senior five caps to her name, when she started versus New Zealand in the 2019 tournament. She then saw action off the bench against the Netherlands and Sweden, which eliminated Canada with a 1-0 win in the round of 16.

At 20, she played four matches at the Tokyo Olympics, and came off the bench in the final against Sweden. Markham marked the gold-medal performance by declaring it Jayde Riviere Day.

But due to injury she has played just once for Canada — a 2-1 loss in a March friendly against France — since the CONCACAF W Championship in July 2022 in Mexico, where she appeared in all five games.

The young defender announced via social media in September that she had played her last game at the University of Michigan. She elected to have hip surgery then in order to be ready for the World Cup.

“You saw the work that she’s put in. She’s ready to go,” Sinclair said of Riviere’s return to health.

“Rehab was horrible, to say the least,” said Riviere. “It was a lot of fitness. It was a lot of honestly just going back to fundamentals, which was I’d say the hardest part. Just kind of going back to like ‘How do I take a good touch? How do I set myself up to shoot properly? How do I shoot again?’ Doing things that you never even thought [before] of doing in an actual game.”

“And then on top of that how to do it at a high-end professional level where I could be of use to [Manchester] United,” she added.

The injury was essentially due to overuse, with the hip eventually forcing her out of the CONCACAF W final versus the U.S. after 61 minutes

“I went to chase a ball and it kind of just gave out,” she said.

The surgery cost her her senior year at Michigan, where she played 47 career games. But she says the rehab helped build resilience.

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