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Coquitlam soccer player is getting her shot to play with Canada's national women's team

Jeneva Hernandez Gray started playing soccer in Port Coquitlam when she was five.
Coquitlam's Jeneva Hernandez Gray, a midfielder with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC girls elite academy program, will suit up for Canada's national women's team at two upcoming international exhibition matches against Australia.

A Coquitlam teenager is getting a shot to play with some of the best women’s soccer players in the world.

Jeneva Hernandez Gray, 17, has been added to the roster of Canada’s national women’s team for a pair of upcoming exhibition matches against Australia — Dec. 1 in Langford and Dec. 5 at BC Place in Vancouver.

Gray has been playing for the Whitecaps FC elite female development program since she was 13 and earlier this month she was named its most promising player after she helped her team win five different trophies.

Gray also recently committed to begin her post-secondary career with the NCAA’s Auburn University Tigers.

“She’s a bright, young talent,” Canadian coach Bev Preistman told Canadian Soccer Daily. “She’s very technical and has a bright future and everything to gain from coming into our camp and add to our midfield.”

The friendlies won’t be Gray’s first taste of international soccer. She made her world debut for Canada’s U15 national team, played at the U17 World Cup and helped the U20 team qualify for the 2024 U20 World Cup in Columbia.

Gray will have some familiar Whitecaps FC company on the pitch, as national team players Jayde Riviere, Julia Grosso and Jordyn Huitema are also graduates of the club’s female elite academy program.

The matches against Australia are expected to be the swan song for legendary 40-year-old Christine Sinclair who announced her retirement from international competition in October.

Since first joining the national women’s program when she was just 16, Sinclair has led Canada to six appearances in the FIFA Women’s World Cup and her 190 goals make her the greatest international goal scorer among female and male players, including superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.