Martina Franko returns to Whitecaps FC women

Veteran is career leader in game-winning goals

VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced today that defender Martina Franko has been signed to the club’s United Soccer Leagues (USL) W-League roster for the remainder of the 2011 season.

“Martina is a natural leader on the field who brings a wealth of experience to our team,” said Hubert Busby Jr., Whitecaps FC women’s head coach. “We’ve had a terrific season so far and we look forward to welcoming Martina back into the fold as we enter the final stretch.”

Franko, 35, returns to Whitecaps FC after leading the team to the 2010 W-League Championship final while serving as team captain last season. The experienced defender is the Whitecaps FC career leader in game-winning goals with 10 and is second all-time with 35 career goals, 19 assists, 89 points and 66 appearances in her five seasons with the club. Included among her accolades with Whitecaps FC are W-League Championship titles in 2004 and 2006.

Prior to returning to Vancouver last season, Franko spent the 2009 season with Los Angeles Sol of Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS). She started all 10 of her appearances for the club and recorded one assist before the Southern California outfit folded at the end of the season.

In addition to her club success, Franko has also started all but one of her 55 international appearances for Canada, scoring five goals in the process. Those appearances include reaching the quarterfinals at the 2008 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in Beijing, China, and the final of the 2006 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup tournament. Apart from her successful playing career, Franko, who currently resides in Squamish, BC, has also been head coach of the Quest University Kermodes women’s soccer team since 2008.

Whitecaps FC play their final W-League regular season match, as they host Colorado Force this Friday night in Langley, BC, with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. PT at McLeod Athletic Park. Vancouver will clinch a playoff spot with a win.

Friday's match in Langley is part of the Whitecaps Women's Soccer Series presented by Kia in partnership with the Girls Metro Soccer League - and is hosted by the United Summer Soccer League (USSL). Tickets are available online for just $12 at www.whitecapsfc.com/wtickets.