Where are they now: Andrea Neil
WHERE SHE STARTED: Andrea Neil was born in Vancouver British Columbia. As a child, she played for Kerrisdale Soccer Club in her earlier years and started playing competitive soccer at the age of 17.
Neil played six seasons for Vancouver Whitecaps FC from 2001 to 2006 and established club records for games played (69) and minutes played (6,066). She also finished as the club’s all-time assists leader with 22, and was tied for third in goals scored with 24, eight of those being game-winning goals.
“Playing for the Whitecaps was first-class and wonderful,” remembered Neil. “The W-League was at its height and it was prime days for the ‘Caps, as we had virtually all of the women’s national team players on our team.”
She went on to captain Whitecaps FC teams to W-League championships in 2004 and 2006.
WHERE SHE WENT: Her achievements with Canada’s women’s national team were no less spectacular. Neil made her international debut at the age of 19 on April 19 1991 and would go on to represent Canada 131 more times. In that time she would score 24 goals and help Canada to its highest finish in a FIFA Women’s World Cup (fourth) at the 2003 tournament in the United States.
“One of my favourite moments was finishing fourth during that 2003 World Cup,” remembered Neil. “It was a great team and a great achievement.”
One of Canada’s greatest all-time leaders, Neil went on to play in four World Cups before retiring as a player in December 2007.
WHERE SHE IS NOW: iN 2009, Neil worked as an assistant coach with the Canadian women’s national team, helping guide the team that played in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany.
Another great honour was added to her legacy in 2011 when she was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, becoming the first women’s soccer player to be bestowed the achievement.
“Being inducted was both humbling and overwhelming,” explained Neil. “It’s not just for an award for me; it’s a credit to all the people that helped me along the way both on and off the field.”
Most recently, Neil was named head coach of the University of British Columbia's (UBC) women's soccer team, where she is preparing for her first season in charge this fall.
When it comes to women's sport in Canada, few people have made a bigger impact than Andrea Neil.