Young Canadian international forward Clarissa Larisey on the move and loving it

Young Canadian international forward Clarissa Larisey on the move and loving it
Canada's Clarissa Larisey is shown in this handout image provided by soccer Canada at a women's International soccer training session in Brisbane, Australia on September 2, 2022. Larisey's soccer road has taken her from Ottawa, Memphis and Reykjavik to Glasgow. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Canada Soccer by Daniela Porcelli

Clarissa Larisey’s soccer road has taken her from Ottawa to Memphis, Reykjavik and Glasgow. Now the 23-year-old hopes to see the World Cup in her future.

“It’s been amazing,” said Larisey. “I’ve always wanted to travel. So this is a fun way of being able to go around the world. I’ve enjoyed myself.”

Larisey has been turning heads along the way.

Summoned to both of Canada’s two most recent camps, she made her senior debut last month when she came off the bench in the 75th minute to replace Adriana Leon in a 1-0 victory over No. 12 Australia at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.

“It was surreal,” Larisey said of the moment. “Just being able to be a part of this team was one thing. But being able to play as well, with these players and in a stadium in Australia, it could not have gone any better than that. The experience was amazing.”

She won her second cap as a 78th-minute substitute last Thursday in Canada’s 2-0 win over No. 31 Argentina in Sanlucar de Barrameda, Spain.

Larisey’s cross set up Canada’s second goal, by Cloe Lacasse, nine minutes later.

Canada coach Bev Priestman, in her post-match comments, pointed to Larisey’s speed and penetration. “She’s electric and I think you got to see that in moments,” she added.

The seventh-ranked Canadians face No. 76 Morocco on Monday at Estadio Municipal de Chapin in Jerez, Spain.

Larisey now has her eyes set on making the team for next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

“It would be an honour and an experience, for sure. It would be a great experience,” she said.

The Morocco game is Canada’s last before the Oct. 22 World Cup draw in Auckland, New Zealand.

Larisey won the Icelandic league with Valur in 2021 and both the Scottish Cup and League Cup with Celtic.

She joined the storied Scottish club on Aug. 31, 2021, just before the transfer deadline closed and days before the start of the Scottish Women’s Premier League season. Larisey says her experience with Celtic has been “amazing.”

“There’s a lot of history behind it,” she said of the club. “I never understood really how much football means to them until I got there. It’s unreal the amount of passion and love that they have for the game and they have for the people who play for them.”

She is also enjoying the history of the city itself, as well as the hospitality of its residents.

“The people are very, very nice,” she said. “That helps.”

Glasgow teams have dominated the standings this season with Rangers, Celtic and Glasgow City all winning their first six games of the season. Rangers leads on goal differential, outscoring its opposition 39-0. Celtic has a 32-0 goal differential while Glasgow City’s is 23-1.

Glasgow Women, another club in the Scottish top flight, have not fared as well in losing all six of their matches to date.

Larisey scored 34 goals and added 10 assists in 73 appearances for the University of Memphis where she majored in psychology. In 2019, the five-foot-four Canadian was named co-winner of the American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year award and was chosen to the United Soccer Coaches’ All-America second team.

Memphis won the AAC title in November 2018, blanking South Florida 3-0 with Larisey scoring twice as the Tigers won the conference for the first time.

She enjoyed her time at Memphis, enjoying both the school, the soccer and the food on offer in the city. “The BBQ, unreal. I will go back to Memphis for that,” she said enthusiastically.

She signed with Valur in May 2021, getting a taste of UEFA Champions League qualifying play.

“A beautiful country,” she said of Iceland.

Larisey played for Ottawa’s Goulborn SC growing up, following her sister in playing the sport. She subsequently played for West Ottawa SC and OSU Force in League 1 Ontario.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 8, 2022

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