Gabby Carle was stuck in the Miami airport when she got the phone call from Canadian coach Bev Priestman letting her know that they extended the Olympic soccer rosters to 22 athletes. The announcement came after the IOC and FIFA confirmed that participating countries had the option to select 22 players for their teams after it was previously 18 players with four alternates. Only 18 players are allowed to dress for each match of the Olympics.
“I found out they extended the roster to 22 at the Miami airport after having to stay overnight due to flight delays, so until that point I was having a pretty bad day,” said Carle. “Because I was surrounded by strangers, I did my best not to display my emotions, but it was really hard to contain my joy. When my coach called me I was just so happy. It was a great feeling.”
Carle has been in the Canadian National Team system since 2013 when she was invited to training camp for the Canadian U17 Team. In 2014 she then had the opportunity to play for Canada’s U20 team at the 2014 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup where she played in all of Canada’s four games.
Her Journey with Canada continued in 2015 when finally cracked the roster of the Canadian Senior National Team in the Pan American Games and played in all five games for her country. On December 9, 2015, she earned her first senior national team start against Mexico. Two months later in February of 2016, she scored her first international goal against Guatemala during an Olympic qualifying match.
Carle’s inspiration to make the Canadian National Team started at the age of five when she began playing soccer and training with her dad who had a love for the game.
“Multiple factors drove me to want to play for my country,” said Carle. “The first one came early on in my life when my dad would go out to the field with me for extra training. He’s always been passionate about the game, and I think his passion influenced me to want to become the best soccer player I could be. Another factor was watching the Canadian women’s national team playing on TV at a young age and realizing representing my country was a possibility, which really inspired me.”
Carle did not have a chance to play in the 2016 Olympics as she was named a reserve but she did get a chance to play every minute for the Canadian U20 team during the 2016 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup. In 2018, she was named the captain for Canada during the CONCACAF U20 Women’s Championship.
In 2019, Carle was selected to be a part of Canada’s World Cup team. Although she did not play in the World Cup, it was an experience to remember for Carle that helped her move forward in her soccer career.
“I think this experience has only fueled me more in terms of what I want to accomplish,” said Carle in 2019 after getting back from the World Cup. “Now that I have made it this far, I have a better idea of what it takes to be amongst the best players in the world and I’ll keep pushing my limits to attain that level.”
“Every time I put on the Canadian jersey, I learn something new and gain experience. In 2019, I was still playing as a midfielder for Canada. Training every day with some of the best midfielders in the world definitely helped me improve my game. After the World Cup, I moved to outside back, but I think having that experience in the middle of the field made me a better outside back.”
Carle was doing all of this for her home country of Canada while succeeding on the field and in the classroom for Florida State. She has been a leader for the Seminoles who have helped them win a national championship in 2018 and reach another one in 2021. During her time in Tallahassee, she has played in and started all 77 games of her FSU career.
Her success in the Garnet and Gold extends beyond the field as she also has a 4.0 GPA in Exercise Physiology and was named the NCAA Elite 90 winner prior to the 2018 national championship for having the highest GPA at the 2018 College Cup.
The chance for Gabby to play in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is the opportunity of a lifetime and she looks to cherish every moment and use what she learns in Japan this summer to help her during the rest of her soccer career.
“Most importantly, I want to help this team reach the top of the podium,” said Carle of what she wants to experience in Tokyo. “In the process, I’m looking to gain more experience in high-pressure environments, which will only help me in my future career and in this upcoming season as a Seminole.”
Gabby Carle and the rest of Team Canada begin play in the Olympics on July 21 at 6:30 am ET against host country Japan.