'Caps for Canada: Shannon Woeller

Vancouverite looking forward to dream opportunity in hometown

Later this month, BC Place will be host to the 2012 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament. For many players on the team, this won’t be the first time playing in front of fans in Vancouver, as the squad includes 14 former members of Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Over the next two weeks, whitecapsfc.com will be profiling each of these players as we get set to support our fantastic Canadian women!

The chance to not only play for the national team, but to get to do it in front of a cheering hometown crowd, is an opportunity very few footballers get to experience. For Canadian women’s national team member Shannon Woeller, a chance of a life-time begins this week at BC Place. With home-field advantage, you can bet she’ll be fixing for a starting spot on the pitch, as she told Rutgers Athletics back in December, “Playing at home in a big tournament, in front of friends and family, is a chance that not many people get, so that is special to me right now.”

Don’t be surprised if you see some fans from Emily Carr Elementary and Prince of Wales Secondary School in the grandstand rooting for her next week. Shannon is a Vancouverite through and through, starting out with local Douglas Park Soccer Club and eventually going on to be a part of the Whitecaps FC Prospects program at the age of sixteen. In 2008, she began playing with the ‘Caps in the W-League, where the resolute centre back has been a regular starter for the last few seasons. Her indefatigable stature saw her start six of nine appearances in 2010, establishing herself as an essential ingredient for a Whitecaps team that proved unassailable after going undefeated throughout the regular season. Last year she continued to be a stalwart defender for the club, which yielded only a single loss in the entire 2011 regular season.

In addition to her time with Whitecaps FC, Shannon has been a standout player at Rutgers University where she has been a member of the Scarlet Knights since her freshman year in 2009. In her last season with the Scarlet Knights, Woeller was named co-captain of the team and was the linchpin for a backline that shut out seven teams. Her soccer smarts are complemented by her academic ability, maintaining a 3.97 GPA in exercise science. Rutger’s head coach Glenn Crooks had nothing but praise for Shannon telling Rutgers Athletics, “At Rutgers, she has grown both as a player and leader in the back and I’m happy that she can now test her skills and continue to develop through the Olympic Qualifiers.”

New national team head coach John Herdman certainly took notice of Woeller, starting the centre back in all five games when Canada won gold at the Pan American Games last October, bringing her senior team caps tally to nine. After posting a shut-out in the match against Argentina, Woeller’s tenacity was rewarded when she was distinguished as the player of the match.

While Woeller has been an anchor on the back line she shares both the responsibility and the credit with her compatriots. A sentiment she expressed directly after being named to the college soccer All-BIG EAST Third Team last November, “This is a team game, and you don’t achieve anything alone.”

You can bet that Shannon Woeller’s whole team will be fully behind her at their first tournament match this Thursday versus Haiti, an experience she will dearly relish. “I am excited to have this opportunity,” says Woeller. “It’s one step closer to reaching my dreams.”

For more details on how to purchase tickets, please visit the CanadaSoccer.com CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying tournament information page.