Monday, January 31, 2011

The Race is Over

Don't stop typing, but we have a winner.

This past weekend Canadian women's national soccer players (who currently have a twitter account) were challenged to see who could be first to gain 200 Followers. Stephanie Labbe, Emily Zurrer, Mel Booth, Kaylyn Kyle, Carmelina Moscato and Christina Julien kept things interesting right up until the end. The challenge began at the stroke of Noon (MST) and Emily Zurrer got off to a great start. The Illini lead dissolved quickly as a UConn alum took over. Stephanie Labbe led for most of Saturday and Sunday but the tide shifted as another teammate took the baton-- Kaylyn Kyle.

An anonymous source noted that in the interest of having Ms. Kyle contribute to his blog-- The Equalizer-- Sports Illustrated writer, Jeff Kassouf threw his considerable support behind Kaylyn's efforts. That helped Kyle slingshot past Labbe. But Kyle's creative methods of persuasion sealed her victory. In the waning hours of the competition, Kyle added a whopping 45 Followers in 43 minutes. And from what we could tell-- no spambots!!

Leave it teammate, Candace Chapman (@chappie95) to set the bar even higher by pledging to give $1 to the for every 5 new followers until she reaches 1,500. Before the race ends, Emily Zurrer (@emme_z) pledges to match her teammate. Now that's a proposition where everybody wins

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Race to 200

The Canadian Women's National team decided to make good use of their time off. On this little social media network named Twitter, the players who have an account are competing in a race to see who can get 200 more followers than they already have. The competition started on Saturday January 29. Since then players have become very creative with their campaign. Candace Chapman for instance is donation 1$ to @biaagcanada (Because I am a Girl Cananda) for every 5 new followers. Some players are using their college team hash tags such as Steph Labbe (UConn), Emily Zurrer (Illinois) and Mel Booth (Florida Gators). Some are getting help from friends. @TiffanyWeimer is tweeting pics of Carm Moscato, they are pretty funny I suggest you check em out. All in all the game is in good fun. The ladies are getting really into it and it is fun to see their creative side. Help your favourite player reach +200 first.

Melanie Booth--@melbooth13 (
Candace Chapman--@chappie95
Stephanie Labbe--@stephlabbe1
Kaylyn Kyle--@KaylynKyle
Karina LeBlanc--@karinaleblanc
Emily Zurrer--@emme_z
Carm Moscato--@cmoscato4
Erin McLeod--@Emcleod_dc
Brittany Timko--@brittanytimko
Christina Julien--@juliencm21

While your at it, might as well follow @cdn_chica

Friday, January 21, 2011

Starting off with a Bang

  5:30am matches are the best-only when your team wins.  

 Canada kicks off its first game of 2011 at the 4 Nations Cup versus host nation, China. I missed out on the first dozen minutes of the first half due to streaming issues, however when I tuned in, Canada was already on their back heel. In the 19th minute, China's 23, You Jia put her country up 1-0. From then on Canada looked nervous. China was playing a controlled style while Canada played long balls and scrambling in front of the net. This did not serve well for Canada as they quickly went down 2-0 in the 36th minute, scored by Jia again.

  In the second half, Canada seemed to settle down a bit. The ladies created more chances and started to play more organised. Tancredi and Sinclair created most of the chances, heading the ball wide and shooting the ball on net. No score yet, but momentum built. In the 56 minute, Tancredi received a pass from mid field, broke past the Chinese back line and chipped it far post, putting Canada back in the game. Big Red continued to pour on the pressure. Sinclair became very frustrated with herself after missing numerous opportunities, but those emotions were short lived. By the 80th minute, Sinclair marked her first goal of 2011 with a short angle shot, sending the ball post to post then in. At this point I think we were all just happy to tie it up. A draw would be enough. But no, not for our women, they continued to push for that final goal. With less than a minute left in the match, a draw seemed inevitable. Don't say that to Captain Clutch though. Literally, at the last second, Christine sprinted past the defense and shot the ball in the back of the net, lifting Canada to a 3-2 win over China.

  Worth mentioning: Erin McLeod started in net today after being absent from the national team for months. Her play was respectable considering she just came back from a torn ACL. She can only get better from here. Jodi-Ann Robinson also made a reappearance on the national team. Not sure why she was absent from camp for so long, but will try to find out more. Her play was great. Since joining the team, Robinson always had such poise and natural skill. One too many touches though, but nice to see some more flare on the team. With two goals in this match, 114 in her career, Christine Sincair is tied with Julie Fleeting in 5th for all time goals scored in the world. Any guesses on how long it'll take her to get to #1?

  An early morning game, but well worth it to see Canada win.

Starting X1:
GK: McLeod
D: Nault, Zurrer, Chapman, Wilkinson
M: Moscato, Matheson, Kyle, Tancredi
F: Sinclair, Foligno

 Leblanc in-McLeod out '46
 Shmidt in-Moscato out '45
 Robinson in-Foligno out '68
 Gayle in-Nault out '75
 Scott in-Kyle out '82

Video: Inslight on the win vs.China from Sinclair and Tancredi :

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Let's Get it Started

Set your alarm clocks, folks.

 Tomorrow the CANwnt will begin its 2011 season against China in the 4 Nations Cup. The match will kick off at 18:35 local time. For any of you who want to catch this match, it will begin 5:30 ET and 2:30 PT. Unless you're an all nighter type of person, I suggest you set your alarm clocks.

  Canada faced China twice in 2010. The first match in April, China defeated Canada by a score of 2-0. However, Canada won the second match 3-1 in September at BMO Field in Toronto.

  This is an important tournament for Canada. With two power houses (Sweden and USA) participating, it will give the opportunity for head coach, Carolina Morace a chance to see where her squad levels up to major WWC contenders. This tournament is also huge for the players to show that they should not be underestimated when June comes around. With two new youngsters joining the team, its time for them to prove what they've got.

  No doubt Canada is playing its most exciting soccer right now. Winning this tournament would be huge for the red and white. Even if they lose, things can only go up from there.

Match Links:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

On to China

Another championship, anyone?

  This week, the CANwnt travelled to China to play in the 4 Nations Cup. There they will play Sweden, USA and host China. Take a look at Morace's selection:

GK- Stephanie Labbé | SWE / Piteå IF | Stony Plain, AB, CAN
GK- Karina LeBlanc | USA / Chicago Red Stars | Maple Ridge, BC, CAN
GK- Erin McLeod | USA / Washington Freedom | Edmonton & Calgary, AB, CAN
CB- Candace Chapman | USA / Western New York Flash | Ajax, ON, CAN
CB- Robyn Gayle | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC | Mississauga, ON, CAN
CB- Sophie Schmidt | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC | Abbotsford, BC, CAN
CB- Emily Zurrer | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC | Crofton, BC, CAN
RB- Christine Exeter | USA / University of Louisville | Pickering, ON, CAN
RB- Brittany Timko | Unattached / sans club | Coquitlam, BC, CAN
RB- Rhian Wilkinson | NOR / Lillestrøm SK Kvinner | Baie d’Urfe, QC, CAN
LB- Melanie Booth | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC | Burlington, ON, CAN
LB- Marie-Eve Nault | CAN / Ottawa Fury | Trois-Rivières, QC, CAN
CM- Laura Chénard | CAN / Amiral de Québec | Ste-Luce, QC, CAN
CM- Kaylyn Kyle | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC | Saskatoon, SK, CAN
CM- Diana Matheson | NOR / Lillestrøm SK Kvinner | Oakville, ON, CAN
CM- Carmelina Moscato | Unattached / sans club | Mississauga, ON, CAN
F- Josée Bélanger | CAN / Amiral de Québec | Coaticook, QC, CAN
F- Jonelle Filigno | USA / Rutgers University | Mississauga, ON, CAN
F- Christina Julien | CAN / Ottawa Fury | Williamstown, ON, CAN
F- Taylor Patterson | | Edmonton, AB, CAN
F- Jodi-Ann Robinson | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC | Richmond, BC, CAN
F- Desiree Scott | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC | Winnipeg, MB, CAN
F- Christine Sinclair | USA / Western New York Flash | Burnaby, BC, CAN
F- Melissa Tancredi | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC | Ancaster, ON, CAN

  Two players are making their debut with the CANwnt, Taylor Patterson and Christine Exeter. They have both played under Morace in the youth programs and will get the opportunity to play with the best in Canada.

  Canada will kick off its first game against host nation, China on the 21st of January at 18.35 local / 06.35 ET / 03.35 PT. Then they will go on to play the last nation to qualify for the WWC,  USA on January 23rd 19.05 local / 07.05 ET / 04.05 PT. Finally they will finish off group play against Sweden on January 25 15.35 local / 03.35 ET / 00.35 PT. No web cast has been found for these matches as of late but I am sure someone will find one.

  Our ladies are coming off a huge 2010 season. Confidence is on their side with a 10 game winning streak and 3 championship titles. By looking back on the previous matches Canada has played against each of these nations, we see that Canada defeated China in Toronto this past September in what I could only call the beginning of something great for this team as we saw them flourish and really play exciting football for the first time under Morace. There was a 3-3 draw in a friendly match on home turf for the States. The last time Canada played Sweden was way back in 2006 where they won 4-2. Now of course that does not mean that Canada are the favourites here. What is on paper means nothing in reality. Clearly each team has made changes, perhaps developed further and may have gotten better. These are simply just facts that have been laid out in front of you. Make your own calls.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Q&A With Karina LeBlanc

  I've recently had the opportunity to ask Karina  few questions about her soccer career, where she sees herself after playing life and advice for the youngsters. Here's what she had to say.

A. When did you realise playing at the highest level was something you wanted to pursue?

K. I was very young watching TV and watching the Olympics and I turned to my parents and told them I wanted to do that one day. I got cut when I was 15 from my first provincial team (which is ODP team in the US) and it was the best thing that happened to me because I realized then that I would have to work harder to accomplish my dreams. When I began working harder than ever was when I felt I wanted more and once that started...well the rest is history

A. If you could give advice to yourself in high school, what would you say?

K. If you want this, be willing to work for it. Nothing really worth having comes too easy. The things I sacrifice now will pay off in the end. 

A. Who's your favourite coach you've trained with? Which has a bigger impact on you, goalkeeper coach or head coach?

K. I think the coaching staff we have now has been great for me. Carolina is a fantastic head coach, but Max is such a great goalkeeper coach. I am learning a lot now and looking at the game from a different point of view which is great at this point in my career. I hope to continue to learn so that everyday I am becoming better.

A. How do you keep focus when the crowd is rowdy, yelling and throwing things at you? Do you take it personally?

K. It actually motivates me but to be honest during the game I am so focused on what is going on and staying mentally and physically involved, many times I don't hear what is being said.

A. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

K. That is the big question. I am not sure. I want to play for as long as my body will allow me and I still have the passion. I love coaching, I love doing my motivational talks yet at the same time I think I will want to challenge myself with something new. I would love to find a way to combine all of my career into something in my future so that I am still figuring out.My career has had its ups and downs and I feel everything happens for a reason so who knows where it will all lead

A. Do personal records matter to you?

K. Not really. Other people pay way more attention to that than me. I couldn't even tell you how many caps I have. To me it is an honor every time the national anthem is being played and I hear it like it is the first time every time. I don't want to miss out on that moment in time. In life I always try to push myself to new heights and new challenges, so while the records may matter to me later in life, for now I feel I haven't accomplished what I want to accomplish while here on this earth.

A. Playing in the WPS, you had a chance to win a title 2 years in a row, but was traded mid season. Any regrets? What were the causes of the trades?

K. I actually was traded at the end of the season so being a part of 2 Championship games with two different teams was an experience I will cherish forever.

A. With the Chicago RedStars no longer a team in the WPS, will you be signing with another team for next season or will the national team be your main focus leading up to Germany.

K. I am still deciding on this. Chicago folding was heartbreaking and with Canada I want to put myself in the best position where I will be playing the best soccer heading into the world cup so I am still unsure of what I will be doing. I am in talks with a couple teams so we will see.

A. What are 3 things in your life you can not live without?

K. God, family and my iPhone.

A. To all the aspiring young soccer players out there, what advice do you have for them?

K. If you want something real bad, be willing to work harder than others and somehow you will not fail. Whether it is the goal you are going after that you accomplish or the lesson you will learn from working hard, somehow you will always win.

A. Since Morace took post as head coach of the Canadian squad, the team has been very successful, winning 3 titles in one year. What are your thoughts on how she's turned this
program around?

K. She's just a phenomenal coach and woman. She makes everyone around her want to be better and the knowledge that she has, along with her passion is so contagious. Playing soccer is fun, being in camp is fun....everything is fun again and everyone just has higher standards. She demands that you give her everything everyday and for the person that she is, as a player you want that for yourself, for your teammates and for her. It's a great environment

A. What are the first thoughts that pop into your head when you hear the word Bachelorette?

K. I want to be on it as the next Bachelorette.....let's make that happen (lol)

Bring us home another cup, Karina!!


Since being under head coach, Carolina Morace, the CANwnt has been more successful than before.

  Carolina was born February 5 1964 in Venice, Italy. She was very successful as a player. Marking her first cap with the Italian national team as the age is 14. She scored 105 goals in just 153 appearances. Playing in the Italian national women's league, she scored 550 goals. She participated in 6 European Championships as well as in the inaugural Women's World Cup in China in 1991 where she scored 4 goals, 3 of them came from a 5-0 win against Chinese Taipei. There is no denying in her skills.

  As a coach, she made a remarkable start. Being best known for the only women to ever coach a professional men's team, Viterbese, of Italian Serie C1 in June 1999. However, she resigned after just 2 matches due to heavy media pressures. Up till June 2005 she coached the Italian women's national team. In February 2009, she took post as head coach of the CANwnt, and boy were we excited.

 Under Morace's lead, the CANwnt won the 2010 Cyprus Cup in March. Ever since, our ladies in red and white gained a new found confidence. Playing in the 2010 CONCACAF Gold Cup, they went 5 games without conceding a goal and scoring 17, and ultimately qualifying for the Women's World Cup 2011 in Germany. A few weeks later, the team played in the Torneio Internacional Cidade de São Paulo. They made it to the final match against Brazil, where win or tie they would clinch the title due to goal differencial and so they did, drawing 2-2 versus Marta and crew.

  No other Canadian national team, men's or women's has ever had this amount of success. What makes it even more remarkable is that Morace turned this team around in such a short amount of time to get to this point. After watching many interviews with the players, you can tell that they have so much respect and appreciation for Carolina's commitment and drive for success. With the World Cup just a few months away, the potential that this team has, and Carolina's ever thriving coaching techniques, soccer is bound to get exciting here in Canada, and quick.

So what's next?

As everyone knows, yesterday 8 year veteran of the CANwnt, Kara Lang retired at age 24 due to a knee injury. We are all of course sad that we won't be able to see #15 play again for the red and white. We won't get to see her hoist a World Cup nor wear a gold medal, which probably sucks more for her than us. But we should all be happy and excited for what comes next.

  Yesterday in the press conference, Kara said she wants to remain a part of the growth of women's soccer in Canada. She mentioned that she will be meeting with Carolina in February to see where her roll fits in with the program. As for coaching, Kara stated that she won't be pursuing that as a career.

  Fans of Kara know that she's a avid surfer and super into yoga. She teaches classes at her dad's studio in Oakville, so not training and playing with the team, she'll avoid becoming obese like many other retired soccer players. In all seriousness, with Kara's intelligence and hunger to grow women's soccer in Canada, she'll be successful no matter what.  Good luck, Kara in all your future endeavours!

Kara Lang Retires

What a career she's had.

  Kara Lang, at just age 24 is set to announce her retirement tomorrow in Oakville, Ontario. Her young carreer came to an end due to a nagging knee injury, tearing the same ACL twice. Kara's loyalty, exceptional long range shot and determination will alway be remembered as one of the greatest CanWNT players. Losing Kara at this critical point in the CanWNT growing success and with the Women's World Cup in Germany just a few months away serves as a blow to the team. But who can blame the girl? Her knee isn't getting strong enough, to keep playing would serve no purpose other than to make the fans happy.

  Kara has no doubt had a great career right from the get-go, playing her first game and scoring her flirt goal at age 15 for the national team. Competing in the W omen's World Cup in 2003 scoring that oh so famous long rage free kick to put Canada up 1-0 vs the Swedes in the semi-finals. Helping Canada's U-20 team clinch a CONCACAF title. Participated in World Cup 2007. Played in her first Olympics in Beijing, Was part of the Canadian team that qualified for Women's World Cop 2011 in Germany. She also played for the UCLA Bruins having a breakout freshman season scoring 17 goals in 24 games. Kara will no doubt be missed on the pitch.

  With that said, I'd like to give my deepest thanks to Kara, for always being a pro on and off the field. Thanks for all you've done for the CanWNT and grassroots soccer. Bitter sweet, but I know you"ll be successful in whatever you do after this. You've made me proud to be Canadian :)

Make that 3 Championships for Canada in 2010

  What a roller coaster ride this final was today. The game was exciting right from the get go. Both teams were pushing. Brazil were in a must win situation in order to win, Canada just needed a draw. In the first half, it seems as though Canada had better chances. Both Matheson and Belanger missed golden opportunities letting their shots whistle wide. With Marta's incredible pace, and the teams quick, on the ground passes, Brazil came out firing. Canada's defense was a little rattled early on as Brazil made some dangerous runs, but were unable to convert on them, which seemed to make them very frustrated, especially Marta . Finally with just 2 minutes left in the half, Canada's Tancredi crossed the ball to an open Belanger and headed the ball in the net giving Canada a 1-0 lead.

  The second half had the same pace. 55 minutes in, superstar Marta makes a wonderful play. She received the ball and sprints past the Canadian defense who looked like they were standing still, and slid the ball past goal keeper Labbe. The Brazilian ladies gained some confidence as their supporters electrified. The game seemed to pick up even more from then on. There was back and forth action, both teams pushing for that second goal. At the 71 minute mark, Canada's Nault was cautioned with her second yellow after a hand ball in front of a scrambling open Canadian net, sending her off the pitch and leaving Canada down a man. This resulted in a penalty kick for Brazil. Marta, of course took the shot. Goal keeper Stephanie Labbe did not seem intimidated though, she looked ready to step up. Marta took the shot, Labbe guessed the right side but the ball just snuck past her, giving Brazil the upper hand.

  Even though there was a lot of time left on the clock, the Canadian side seemed depleted, you can see it on their faces. But as true Canadians, they kept fighting. Just 11 minutes after Brazil's 2nd goal, "Captain Canada" Christine Sinclair received a pass and kicked a hard one timer at the Brazilian goal and curled in the top left corner of the net. I myself was caught off guard and didn't know they scored until I saw Sinclair celebrate. The game intensified even more. Canada was a man down, only needing a draw to claim gold. Brazil with the 12th man, pushed to the final minute with a free kick just ouside the 18 followed by a corner kick. Finally, to the relief of all the Canadian fans and players, the final whistle blew and it was time for Canadians everywhere to celebrate!

  Today's win was especially awesome because the #CANwnt hash tag made the trending list on twitter for Canada. Just the icing on top for an amazing 2010 season

Anticipation for the Final: Canada v Brazil-Torneio Internacional Cidade de São Paulo

If you are a fan of the CWNT, you know that this has been by far the best year they have had. Winning Cyprus Cup. Winning CONCACAF Gold Cup, winning all 5 games, scoring 17 for, 0 against, which ultimately qualified them for the Women's World Cup 2011 in Germany. Now they are playing in the 4 nations cup in Brazil. Both Canada and Brazil had already qualified for the cup game on Sunday the 19th of December, but had to finish off group play against each other on the 15th. Although I did not get to watch the game, I still felt positive vibes and excitement via updates from twitter (thanks @Ingridium and everyone else who was keeping me up-to-date). Brazil is #3 in the world, and possess undoubtedly the #1 player in the world, Marta. Canada, on the other hand is ranked 9th in the world. So you would think that Brazil would come up with the win, but uh-uh, that was not the case. We played, what has to be called a "second string" team that game. Only because Sinclair didn't play, Kyle, Matheson (although she did come on as a sub) or a LeBlanc. Instead, we played a very young starting XI, with Woeller, Chenard, Stewart, Pietrangelo, and who can forget about the MVP of the game, Miss Stephanie Labbe. I didn't get to see the game but I heard she made some magical saves (with 2 miracle stops by the post). Also i have to mention a welcome back to the pitch to Timko. It's been 9 months since she has played an official international game, and apparently she ripped it up on the wing. Good to have you back!

In the end, the final result was 0-0. Brazil threw everything they had at us. Controlling most of the game, and creating the majority of the chances. But with Canada's slick, composed, confident, organized defense, Marta and crew had nothing on us. Now, this makes me very excited. If Brazil, the most exciting team to watch in the women's game, (in my honest opinion) can't come up with a win against Canada's "second string" well then heck no are they winning in the finals tomorrow with our top players on the pitch. I am definitely not taking anything away form the youngsters, because they did indeed play their hearts out for Canada. This just goes to show you how deep our bench is. And I believe it's only going to get better from here.

Now tomorrows' task: catch the Canadian women take on Brazil @2pm ET..this game won't be broadcast, but it will be webcast. I do not have the link to the game yet, but I will have it well before the game tomorrow.

It's time we all recognize something great and support the women's game. GO CANADA GO!!

*update-just found out that win OR tie aginst Brazil tomorrow the CWNT will be champions!*

*update- watch the game here *

Getting Started

Hey hey, folks. I am new to blogging. I've always wanted to start a blog but did not know what or who I should talk about. One of my newest friends, Ingrid, who like myself is a die hard Canadian Women's National Team fan told me I should start writing about the team. So that is exactly what I'm going to do.

Kay but first a lil about me. I was born n raised in Toronto. My ethnic background is Guyanese, never been but planning on taking a family trip there on day. Love all things sports especially the Canadian Women's National team (will be referring to them as CWNT). I feel as though the women's game, even most women's sports, don't get enough recognition and respect as the men's that it why I feel I need to voice my opinion, since I love sports, especially women's sports. This blog won't be directly dedicated to the CWNT or women's sports..just all things me :)

So, yup that's me. If ya don't know, now ya know.