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!
2008 in China was the last time Canada played in the Olympics. The Red and White put in a strong showing, but they eventually suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 extra-time loss in the quarterfinals to their archrivals from the United States. That was a painful loss, especially for goalkeeper Erin McLeod.
McLeod started every match for Canada during the tournament, posting a 2W-0L-1D record through the group stage. But 19 minutes into the quarterfinal, she suffered an unfortunate knee injury and was forced to watch the rest of the match from the sidelines. An Olympic dream shattered.
The injury was a mere setback to what has been a great career. With cat-like reflexes and a constant will to win, McLeod is no doubt one of the finest goalkeepers that Canada has ever produced. She’s been in net during some of the biggest moments for Canadian women’s soccer. She was there when the upstart Canadian U-20 team captured the attention of the country and made it all the way to the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship Final in Edmonton, where a record 47,784 fans came out to watch. She was also the starter for Canada during the past two World Cups in China in 2007 and last year in Germany.
Despite valiant efforts, major tournaments have often ended in disappointment for Canada. However, that was certainly not the case for McLeod with Whitecaps FC. The St. Albert, Alberta born goalkeeper never lost a regular season match in her three seasons in Vancouver, posting a 25W-0L-3D record and an outstanding 0.638 goals-against-average. McLeod led the ‘Caps to two W-League championships, starring in 2004 when she not only made saves, but also scored the winning shootout goal, then again in 2006 when she backstopped the Whitecaps to a home championship celebration at Swangard Stadium.
Now, with a chance to get back to the Olympic stage, McLeod will hope to recapture that winning magic here in Vancouver and carry it all the way to London 2012.
For more details on how to purchase tickets, please visit the CanadaSoccer.com CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying tournament information page.