Canada’s Melissa Tancredi played at three Women’s World Cups (2007, 2011 & 2015) as well as three Olympic Games (2008, 2012 & 2016), finally picking up a bronze medal in 2016 under John Herdman.
At the start of 2017, the attacker decided to end her career at the age of 35 after 17 years playing soccer. Naturally, we dropped her a quick message asking what her Best XI would be and this is what she came up with…
Goalkeeper(s) – Hope Solo and Erin McLeod
I’m making a sub at half-time so I can include both of these women!
Widely regarded as one of the best female goalkeepers of all time, Hope Solo and Tancredi spent some brief time playing together for Saint Louis Athletica before Solo went on to settle in Seattle before Tancredi took her career to Sweden.
McLeod also took her career to Sweden but it’s with the national team that Tancredi and the goalkeeper spent the most time playing together – McLeod keeping goal for Canada since 2002.
Defender – Ashley Lawrence
One of the brightest young stars in Canadian soccer right now, Lawrence has made herself a regular member of John Herdman’s solid defence even at the tender age of 21.
Such is her talent, she made the step straight from playing soccer in Canada to Ligue 1 giants PSG over the winter and it’s a marking of how highly regarded she is that Tancredi has picked her in her Best XI.
Defender – Julie Johnston
Still just 24, Julie Johnston hasn’t looked back since arriving in Chicago in 2004 and is now a regular starter for the US Women’s National Team.
Tancredi spent a brief time playing in the same Chicago Red Stars side as Johnston after she was picked up in the NWSL Draft before the Canadian returned to Sweden with KIF Orebro.
Defender – Kadeisha Buchanan
Similar to Lawrence, Buchanan burst onto the scene just in time for Canada to host the 2015 Women’s World Cup and just as Lawrence has, the defender has fast-tracked herself to Europe before considering the NWSL.
If Lyon pick you up there’s no doubt you’re regarded as one of the most talented young players in the world and once again it’s a sign of her talent that Tancredi rates her as one of the best she’s played with.
Midfielder – Julia Spetsmark
Perhaps one of the lesser known names in Tancredi’s team unless you’re an avid fan of the Damallsvenskan. Julia Spetsmark has spent the last three years playing for KIF Orebro alongside Tancredi and clearly had an impact on the Canadian in that time.
The midfielder won the title with Orebro at the first time of asking but as of yet has failed to do enough to impress current Sweden coach Pia Sundhage.
Midfielder – Lisa Dahlkvist
Certainly a more familiar name whether you’re Swedish or not, Lisa Dahlkvist is one of the finest midfielders in Europe and another to grace an impressive KIF Orebro side over the past few years.
Unlike Spetsmark, Dahlkvist has amassed over 100 caps for her country and played a prominent role in Sweden’s march to an Olympic silver medal last summer. On top of that, there’s the small matter of three league titles and a World Cup bronze.
Midfielder – Formiga
Amazingly still going at the age of 39 and not just still going but catching the eyes of the some of the finest teams in the world.
Once again, Tancredi’s time spent playing with the Brazilian superstar was brief when they both rocked up at Jersey Sky Blue in 2007 but any footballer in the world would be hard pushed to discard Formiga even if they’d only played half an hour with her.
Midfielder – Shannon Boxx
The same age as Formiga but now long gone in terms of lacing up her football boots despite nearing 200 caps for the USA. Shannon Boxx was one of the best midfielders in world football and one of the most decorated footballers in US history.
Boxx ended her career alongside Tancredi at Chicago Red Stars and very much like Formiga it would be hard to leave someone like Boxx out of your XI.
Midfielder – Anne Makinen
Finnish international Makinen retired back in 2009 after surpassing the 100 cap mark for her country and a career which saw her grace the USA and Sweden after leaving Finland as a youngster.
Makinen spent part of her college life alongside Tancredi at Notre Dame and once again it’s a sign of her talent that someone like the Canadian classes her as one of the best she played with – despite the fact they were both youngsters at the time.
Striker – Lara Dickenmann
Still going strong, Dickenmann has just come off the back of helping Switzerland win their first Cyprus Cup and has achieved enough in her career to be deemed good enough to play for two of the best teams in the world (Lyon and Wolfsburg).
It’s no surprise she’s included in Tancredi’s team, Dickenmann was another who spent 2007 with Jersey Sky Blue, playing up front with the striker and scoring more goals than games she played in!
Striker – Christine Sinclair
Saving the best until last? It’s not a surprise at all to see the legend Christine Sinclair in here. Even being two years older than Tancredi, Sinclair is still going strong in the NWSL and scoring regularly for Canada as she chases down Abby Wambach’s international record.
One of the greatest players in North American soccer history, it’s a fitting way to round off Tancredi’s all-time Best XI.
You can follow Melissa on Twitter at @MelTancredi14