When Juventus Women first came to be in 2017, Sofia Cantore was one of a handful of young players that was on the Bianconere roster and experiencing Serie A for the first time. Like many of the other youngsters, she showed plenty of promise, but the reality of the situation was that as Juve’s women’s team grew, playing time would be harder to come by and heading out on loan was more and more of a reality.
Well, after three years on loan — including the most recent season with Sassuolo — Cantore, now no longer a teenager, is back at Juventus and ready to pick up where she left off.
Juventus Women announced Cantore’s return to the club Wednesday, with the 22-year-old Italian striker — seriously, she’s still going to be one of the youngest players on the team, folks — the latest piece to be added to Joe Montemurro’s incredibly talented attacking group. Cantore’s return comes one day after Juve announced the signing of former Bayern Munich Frauen striker/winger Lineth Beerensteyn, as the duo join a group that has continuously been one of the highest-scoring attacks in Serie A Femminile ever since the club came to be five years ago and started putting together its historic Scudetto reign.
Cantore will wear the No. 9 jersey, per Juve’s announcement, which was open for the taking following Andrea Staskova’s departure at the end of the season.
' , !— #FANTA5TIC (@JuventusFCWomen) June 22, 2022
➡️ https://t.co/vb9HtGw3Et#WelcomeBackSofia pic.twitter.com/s7XFsx39HP
Cantore’s road since heading out on loan hasn’t exactly been the easiest one. She’s been to Hellas Verona, then Florentia and finally Sassuolo this past season, a loan spell that started brightly only to end abruptly when she suffered a broken spleen that cut short her 2021-22 campaign back in February.
But over that period of time on loan away from Juventus Women the last couple of years, Cantore also earned her first Italian women’s national team call-up, and when healthy has been a regular for an Azzurre team that is filled with really good strikers. (Yes, even more than there currently is at Juventus Women.) If not for her season-ending injury, Cantore would almost certainly had a very good shot at making Italy’s final squad for this summer’s Euros in England.
Before her injury, Cantore was on pace to have the best season of her young career, scoring eight goals — one shy of her career high — and adding three assists for a Sassuolo team that finished a surprising fourth behind Juve, Roma and Milan.
It will be interesting to see how Montemurro uses Cantore knowing just how many really good attacking options there already are. Will Cantore be playing true to her new number and be flanked by the likes of Barbara Bonansea, Angese Bonfantini and Lina Hurtig as she gives Cristiana Girelli a rest? Or could Cantore play more of a second striker while on the field with Girelli? It’s all possible seeing as Montemurro certainly does like to rotate.