Retired Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Andrea Neil was recognized and honoured at the annual In Her Footsteps...Celebrating BC Women in Sport, on Wednesday night.
Neil, along with Tricia Smith (rowing) and Roberta Ann Steen (teacher, coach, volunteer, sport and recreation administrator), joined 37 previous honourees in the permanent exhibit which recognizes individual women, teams and organizations for their achievements in sport.
It celebrates the leadership and guidance of the honourees, and the access and opportunities they have provided for girls and women who participate in sport. The exhibit is a joint initiative between the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, 2010 Legacies Now, ProMOTION Plus and the BC Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health.
Last December, Neil retired from competitive soccer after 18 years with the Canadian national team program and six years with the Whitecaps. Neil retires as the all-time leader in games played for both her country and her club.
Neil joined the national team program in 1990 and made her senior international debut on April 19, 1991, in Haiti at a CONCACAF women’s tournament. She was only 19 years old at the time. Three years later, she took part in her second CONCACAF women’s tournament, this time in Montréal, Quebec. Neil scored two goals in three games, as Canada qualified for their first FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Neil’s final game was September 15, 2007, in Hangzhou at the FIFA Women’s World Cup China 2007. It was not only Canada’s fourth FIFA Women’s World Cup appearance, but Neil’s fourth as well. In between Sweden 1995 and China 2007, Neil took part in USA 1999 and USA 2003. At USA 2003, Neil helped Canada finish fourth overall.
From 2001 to 2006, Neil played for the Whitecaps (who were originally known as the Breakers). She was the club’s captain for the first six years of the franchise’s existence and was a player/assistant coach for the last three seasons. In 2004 and 2006, she led the club to two USL W-League championship titles. She left the Whitecaps as the club’s all-time leader in assists (22), minutes played (6,066) and games (69). The native of Vancouver, BC, also ranks third for points (70), and is tied for third with goals (24) and game-winning goals (8).
Neil retired after 18 seasons, four FIFA Women’s World Cups and 132 international caps for Canada. She also scored 24 goals over the course of her career.
Neil epitomizes the meaning of teamwork. She has been referred to as a selfless, invaluable asset to the team who is always ready and willing to help staff and players by adopting and promoting new ideas. Her relentless commitment to women’s soccer in Canada has been evident throughout her career.