Canada Soccer have announced that former Vancouver Whitecaps FC player Martina Franko and former Whitecaps FC Girls Elite head coach Rhian Wilkinson have been named to the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame. Also named to the Hall of Fame is former Canada men's national team player Patrice Bernier.
The three former international footballers will be inducted as honoured members in the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022.
“Canada Soccer is honoured to welcome Patrice Bernier, Martina Franko, and Rhian Wilkinson to the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2022,” said Dr. Nick Bontis, Canada Soccer president. “Bernier was a Canadian champion and men’s national team hero while both Franko and Wilkinson were notable members of our Olympic Games and FIFA World Cup teams with the women’s national team. All three Canadian heroes are deserving of this great honour in recognition of their careers as professional players.”
Martina Franko was a FIFA World Cup and Olympic Games participant, helping Canada reach the quarterfinals at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. She won two Concacaf silver medals and a bronze medal at the Rio 2007 Pan American Games. In all, she made 55 international “A” appearances as a forward and centre back from 2005 to 2009, of note leading Canada in minutes played in 2006 and 2007. She was voted to the All-Time Canada XI as a centre back in 2012.
Franko was a club champion in the WPSL, the USL W-League with Whitecaps FC in 2004 and 2006, the WPS regular season, and Canada Soccer's National Championships. She was the WPSL Top Scorer in 2002, a USL W-League All-Western All-Star in 2004, and the Top Scorer at Canada Soccer’s National Championships in 2004 and 2006. She was also named to the USL W-League Championship’s All-Tournament Team in 2006. From her college career, she was inducted to the Colorado College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2021.
Rhian Wilkinson was a Concacaf champion and two-time Olympic Games bronze medal winner. She represented Canada at four FIFA World Cups and three Olympic Games, also winning six medals from six Concacaf tournaments (one gold, four silver and one bronze) and three medals from three Pan American Games (gold, silver, bronze). In all, she made 181 international “A” appearances from 2003 to 2017, ranked third all time when she left international football.
Wilkinson was head coach of the Whitecaps FC Girls Elite program from November 2018 to August 2019, working in a dual role as head coach of Canada's U-17 women's national team, who she led to a fourth place finish at the 2018 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Uruguay.
Voted to the All-Time Canada XI during her playing career, Wilkinson played her professional football in Canada, USA and Norway, notably helping Lillestrøm SK reach the 2009 Norway Cup final and winning the 2012 Toppserien league title. She was the USL W-League Scoring Champion in 2005 and then helped the Ottawa Fury reach the USL W-League Championship Final in 2006. A six-time Québec Soccer Professional or Senior Player of the Year, she was also a two-time Sports Québec Le Maurice winner. From her college career, she was inducted to the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteer Hall of Fame in 2013.
Patrice Bernier was a two-time Canadian Championship winner with CF Montréal as well as a Concacaf Champions League runner up. He represented Canada in three cycles of FIFA World Cup Qualifiers as well as four editions of the Concacaf Gold Cup, notably reaching the Concacaf Gold Cup semifinals in 2007. In all, he made 56 international “A” appearances from 1999 to 2017, including three starts as Canada’s captain.
At the professional level, Bernier played in Canada, Norway, Germany and Denmark, including appearances in UEFA Cup and Concacaf Champions League. He was the first Canadian to play more than 10,000 MLS minutes with a Canadian team. He was a two-time Danish Cup winner and one-time team MVP with Montréal. He was an eight-time Québec Soccer Professional Player of the Year and was inducted as an honoured member in the Québec Soccer Hall of Fame in 2017.
Canada Soccer Hall of Fame
The Canada Soccer Hall of Fame honours Canadian players that have played the game with excellence at the international and club level. With the three new selections for 2022, the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame now features 205 honoured members: 140 players, 13 coaches/managers, 10 referees, and 42 builders.
As a Canada Soccer Hall of Fame priority achieved this year, the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame’s Modern Canadian Players category now features an even balance of former men’s national team and women’s national team players. With this year’s class, there are now 29 former men’s national team Players and 29 women’s national team players from the 1980s/90s forward. This balance reflects the modern era during which international football at the very highest level has both a men’s and women’s FIFA World Cup as the pinnacle of the sport (since the inauguration of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1991).