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!
Picture a young and shy prairie girl, sporting a mouth full of braces and big framed glasses at her first ever Under-13 provincial soccer tournament. Tired of riding the bench as a backup goaltender, she craves to play in the outfield, but is told by her coaches that she just doesn’t have the mettle.
Flash forward a decade, and it’s hard to believe that very same girl is none other than talented and photogenic Canadian soccer player Kaylyn Kyle. The determined Saskatoon native wasn’t about to let a few coaches get in the way of her dream of suiting up for Canada’s women’s national team. It was Kaylyn’s special combination of ability, work ethic and moxie that helped her journey from dream to reality.
After leading her Saskatoon high school team, Bishop Mahoney, to a provincial title, Kyle’s star continued to rise during her youth career with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. In 2006 Kaylyn joined Vancouver Whitecaps FC, helping the team clinch a W-League championship title the very same year, and later in 2010 she played an integral part with the ‘Caps team that went undefeated through the regular season. A member of Canada’s U-17 and U-20 teams growing up, Kyle made her international debut for the senior squad at the Four Nations Tournament in China four years ago this January. Since then she has registered a total of 42 caps, including last summer when she was a regular starter for Canada in front of crowds upwards of 78,000 people at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany.
Directly after the World Cup, Kaylyn returned once more to Vancouver Whitecaps FC for her fifth season with the club. True to form, Kaylyn made her presence felt immediately, finding the back of the net in a 4–3 Western Conference championship match over Santa Clarita; a victory which secured the team a spot in the United Soccer Leagues W-League Championship ‘Final Four’. Kaylyn then punctuated the end of Vancouver’s season by scoring the winning goal in the W-League’s third-place match against I-5 rivals Seattle. "I love being a Vancouver Whitecaps FC player, and for them to bring me in for three games really means a lot to me," Kyle told whitecapsfc.com after the match adding, "Hopefully, I'll be back next season."
Having looked up to the likes of teammates Christine Sinclair and Diana Matheson, now it’s Kaylyn’s turn to be a role model when she dons the red and white once again during Thursday’s home opener against Haiti. Like she told the Province newspaper in her World Cup blog last summer, “Now, I play not only for myself and for my loved ones, but for that little eight-year old girl who’s watching us on TV back home, hoping one day she can put on a Canadian jersey.”
And as for everyone who ever questioned that little girl’s indomitable spirit? Look at her now.
For more details on how to purchase tickets, please visit the CanadaSoccer.com CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying tournament information page.