WVU soccer players headed to Rio Olympics


Kadeisha Buchanan and Ashley Lawrence are on a mission to put their home on the map.

While, currently, that home is West Virginia and the WVU soccer program, this talented tandem will soon be playing for something much bigger than themselves. Buchanan and Lawrence have been nominated to play for the Canadian National team at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

This great honor is nothing new for Buchanan and Lawrence as they have already been members of the Canadian National team for a few years, now.

The tandem helped out Canada in last year’s World Cup and Buchanan made a name for himself on the worldwide stage as she was named the tournament’s Best Young Player.

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The accolades have already piled up for Buchanan, too, as she is the reigning BMO Canadian Player of the Year.

Getting these super soccer players across the border and onto the WVU soccer team is no easy task. However, the recruiting side of things gets a little easier when Nikki Izzo-Brown is your head coach. Izzo-Brown as been at the helm of the Mountaineers for the past 20 seasons.

That consistency is one aspect of what makes the Mountaineers so successful. Izzo-Brown is a tenacious leader and a great representative of what WVU has to offer.

Under Izzo-Brown’s watch the WVU soccer program has 16-straight NCAA Tournament appearances and 14 conference titles. All of that includes six Big 12 Conference titles as the Mountaineers have won it in each year they have been a part of the Big 12.

Izzo-Brown has also attracted a total of 47 All-American players. Some of which had come from Canada, even before Buchanan and Lawrence arrived.

Opening up that pipeline has done wonders for Izzo-Brown and the Mountaineers, as well as WVU’s reputation in Canada.

"“This is an incredible feat for Ashley and Kadeisha, and I’m happy they again have the opportunity to play soccer on an elite stage,” Izzo-Brown said. “With only 18 spots available, the Canadian Olympic roster was not an easy roster to make, but both worked so hard and earned this honor. I know Ashley and Keish will represent WVU and make Mountaineer Nation proud.”"

As for Buchanan and Lawrence, they play center-back and midfield, respectively. Obviously, they are both the top players at their positions.

With WVU last season, these two players helped the Mountaineers to a 19-3-1 overall record. It was the most wins by the WVU soccer team in over a decade. In all the years that West Virginia has been a member of the Big 12, it has only lost one conference contest.

In 2015, Lawrence scored five goals and had eight assists, while Buchanan went for one goal and three assists, though her specialty is defense.

As Buchanan and Lawrence prepare for their senior seasons with the WVU soccer team, they will have no better practice than taking on the world’s best in Rio. The Olympics run from Aug. 5-25.