Thank God Canadian coach Even Pellerud has gotten over his ridiculous experiment of trying to turn Charmaine Hooper, one of the world's most lethal strikers, into a defender. That stategy got Canada precisely nowhere for the past three years.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006 Canada’s Women Wrap-Up NCAA Tour
Ottawa, Ontario – Earlier this month, Canada’s Women’s National Team Head Coach, Even Pellerud, took his team on a four-city, five-match tour of the USA where they played the University of Louisville and Purdue University in Louisville, KY, the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO, the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS, and the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, NE.
The Canadian team was invited to travel to the Midwest by the above mentioned Universities and when approached, Pellerud jumped at the opportunity to get his squad together.
“Thanks to an invitation from a group NCAA teams, we took advantage of a week long opportunity to play five scrimmages while traveling from state to state,” said Pellerud, following his squad’s nine-day camp.
“While we were victorious in all five games and scored a total of 22 goals while conceding only 2, the trip was an important early step for us as a team as we start to build the program towards the World Cup Qualifying tournament this coming November.
The nine days also provided Pellerud with an excellent opportunity to experiment with his squad.
“All the players saw considerable playing time in their preferred positions but we also took advantage of this opportunity to incorporate different playing styles; had the opportunity to play and train in some extreme conditions (heat); and were able to train on both grass and on turf.
“It must also be said that the different playing styles of our opposition provided excellent experience to our players and staff.'
Pellerud also singled out Melanie Booth for her string of superb performances. The Burlington, Ontario native has earned 15 senior caps but was making her first appearance with the senior squad since Canada took on Brazil on July 17, 2003. She had played 22 times with the U-19 squad, scoring thrice and was a vital component of Canada’s unprecedented run to the final of the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship.
“Melanie Booth’s return to the team was a huge success. Her service from left fullback position was crucial in helping us build from the back and spring forward with quick, decisive attacks.”
The Women’s National Team will come together again in early June in Nanaimo, BC. Details regarding the camp will be released when available.
Canada’s Charmaine Hooper scored a hat trick on Tuesday as the Canadian Women’s National Team defeated Sweden 4-2 in Blaine, Minnesota.
Canada was ahead 2-1 by the half with two goals by Hooper. Hooper scored her first after she received a terrific feed from Christine Sinclair which she then headed from the top of the six yard box past the Swedish goalkeeper. In the 20th minute, Martina Franko played the ball into the box, but a poor clearance fell to Hooper who volleyed the ball over the keeper.
Sweden’s Victoria Svensson scored in the 38th minute.
In the second half, the score line remained similar, but this time it was Sinclair who broke past the last defender on a Melanie Booth pass and sent the ball to the far post in the 58th minute.
One minute later, Hooper netted her third of the match and 71st for Canada in 130 appearances. Canada’s free kick by Sharolta Nonen bounced off a Swedish defender where Hooper ran onto the ball with nothing but an open net for a target.
Sweden’s Therese Lundin scored in the 80th minute.
“A strong 4-2 win against fifth ranked Sweden secured our teams’ sixth game without defeat in 2006. The players came out very strong and determined and it was only a question of time before we scored with Sinclair and Hooper looking very sharp in the first half. Hooper scored two stunning goals before Sweden slowly but surely picked up the pace of the game and they earned the goal they scored by halftime,” said Even Pellerud.
"Again, we came out strong in the second half and scored two additional goals. It was uphill for Sweden after that, but they took advantage of a better level of soccer fitness and dominated possession the last thirty minutes. They also managed to create a couple of goal chances and it would not have been undeserved if they had scored one more. However the better team won this even played, tempo filled game.”
Canada’s next match takes place against the United States on July 30th at the SAS Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina.