Kadeisha Buchanan, soccer player (born 5 November 1995 in Toronto, ON). Widely considered one of the best defenders in soccer, Kadeisha Buchanan is a three-time Canadian Women’s Player of the Year (2015, 2017, 2020). At the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, she was named to the tournament’s All-Star Team, as well as the Best Young Player. In 2016, she was named the Big 12 Female Athlete of the Year and the espnW Player of the Year for NCAA Soccer. She also won a bronze medal with Team Canada at the 2016 Olympic Summer Games. In 2017, Buchanan became the first Canadian soccer player to play on a Champions League-winning team. She was named the Postmedia Female Athlete of the Year in 2020.
Early Life and Family
Kadeisha Buchanan was born in Toronto and grew up in the nearby cities of Brampton and Mississauga. Both of her parents are from Jamaica. (See Caribbean Canadians.) Of her 11 siblings, she is the youngest of seven sisters.
At the age of eight, Buchanan started playing soccer at Brams United Girls Soccer Club in Brampton. One of her teammates was another notable Canadian soccer player, Ashley Lawrence. Buchanan attended Cardinal Leger Secondary School, where she competed in soccer, basketball, flag football, volleyball and track and field.
Buchanan was 14 years old when she made her debut in Canada Soccer’s youth program in 2010. In 2012, she helped Canada win a silver medal in the 2012 CONCACAF Women’s U-17 Championship in Guatemala. While still in high school, she was called up to the Canadian women’s national team for a game against China on 12 January 2013. She was one of the youngest players ever on the women’s national team.
During typical play, centre-backs are unlikely to score goals, but Buchanan scored her first international goal in a match against the United States in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on 8 May 2014. Buchanan won back-to-back Canadian U-20 Player of the Year awards in 2013 and 2014. She quickly established herself as one of the best defenders in the sport. She took home the Best Young Player at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup — the first World Cup held in Canada — where she helped the Canadian women’s team reach the quarter-final. That same year, she helped Canada finish fourth at the Pan American Games in Toronto. Buchanan was named Canada’s Women’s Player of the Year in 2015, ending Canadian soccer legend Christine Sinclair’s 11-year run. Buchanan was named to the FIFA FIFPro Women’s World-11 team and was a candidate for FIFA Women’s Player of the Year.
Buchanan also helped Canada finish second at the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifier in 2016. She scored her third international goal in the tournament to help the team earn a spot in the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, where Team Canada won bronze.
In 2017, Buchanan was named the Canadian Player of the Year for the second time in three years. In 2020, she received her third Canadian Player of the Year award in six seasons after helping Canada qualify for the 2020 Olympic Summer Games.
Coach Bev Priestman told Canada Soccer that Buchanan “has world-class qualities that any country would be proud to have, and she is a highly valued member of the squad both on and off the pitch, so we are thrilled for her personally in receiving this well-deserved recognition. As a team, to know you have a centre-back that opposing forwards hate to play against, it fills the group with confidence.” In 2020, Buchanan was named Postmedia Female Athlete of the Year for her continued accomplishments and success at the club and international level.
Buchanan attended West Virginia University for four years, where she established herself as one of the leading women’s soccer players in the NCAA. She was the Mountaineers’ first four-time NSCAA All-American and the first West Virginia University student to be named the Big 12 Female Athlete of the Year. “She took our standard of excellence to a whole new level,” said Mountaineer women’s soccer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “I am so proud of everything she did for our program, the university this athletic department during her four-year career. Kadeisha put in a lot of hard work to earn this honour.”
Buchanan started 90 out of 91 career college matches. In 2016, she won the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy, which goes to the top college soccer player in the United States. That same year, she also took home the espnW and TopDrawerSoccer.com National Player of the Year honours.
Buchanan was a two-time captain of the Mountaineers and helped them post an NCAA-best 18 shutouts in 2016, allowing only 12 goals against. They advanced to the 2016 NCAA College Cup, where they lost 3–1 to the University of Southern California. Buchanan was named the tournament’s defensive MVP. During her time at West Virginia University, she also earned a place on the Garrett Ford Academic Honor Roll.
After graduating from West Virginia University, Buchanan signed a contract with Olympique Lyonnais Féminin of Division 1 Féminine in Lyon, France. In 2020, she signed a three-year contract extension through 2022.
In the 2016–17 season with Olympique Lyonnais, Buchanan became the first Canadian soccer player to play on a Champions League-winning team. She then helped her team win the following three Champions League titles for a total of four consecutive years. Olympique Lyonnais also won the Coupe de France in 2017, 2019 and 2020 and were finalists for the Coupe de France in 2018.
- Female Player of the Year, Canada U-20 (2013, 2014)
- All-Star Team, FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup (2014)
- All-Star Team, FIFA Women’s World Cup (2015)
- Best Young Player, FIFA Women’s World Cup (2015)
- Player of the Year, Canada (2015, 2017, 2020)
- FIFPro World11, FIFA (2015)
- Best Player, Algarve Cup (2016)
- Best XI, CONCACAF (2016, 2018, 2020)
- Player of the Month, Canada (August 2020)
- All-American, NSCAA Division I (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
- Hardman Award, WVU (2015, 2016)
- Honda Sports Award, NCAA (2016)
- M.A.C. Hermann Trophy, NCAA (2016)
- espnW Player of the Year, NCAA (2016)
- Female Athlete of the Year, Big 12 (2016-17)
- All-Star, UEFA Women’s Champions League (2016-17)