British Columbia

Karina LeBlanc's parents reflect on daughter's impressive soccer career

Katrina LeBlanc played in five World Cups, three Pan American games and two Olympics

LeBlanc played in five World Cups, three Pan American games and two Olympics

Karina LeBlanc's parents, Vans and Winsome, say they are proud of their daughter's extensive accomplishments and are excited for her life after soccer. (Winsome LeBlanc)

After 17 years of international soccer Team Canada goaltender Karina LeBlanc has announced that she'll be hanging up her cleats after this World Cup.

Her parents, Winsome and Vans, who have been with her every step of the way, couldn't be more proud.

"To think Karina has been part of this exciting journey all through the years she's been on the team. It makes me shiver to think our daughter could reach these heights," said Vans LeBlanc. 

The LeBlanc family immigrated to Maple Ridge, B.C. from the Caribbean island of Dominica when Karina was eight-years-old.

She started playing soccer at 12 and became a goaltender two years later when nobody on her team wanted to play the position.

Karina LeBlanc started playing soccer when she was 12. By the end of high school, she was offered full scholarships to 19 different colleges across North America. (Winsome LeBlanc)

"She was a striker and she would make sure before she goes in for her half [as goalie], she had already scored the amount of goals she was planning to score. So that at the end of the season she was still the top scorer as well as the top defender," said Winsome. "She was one of those people that loved challenges and she accepted both."

By the end of high school, Karina was offered full scholarships to 19 different colleges across North America. 

"Through soccer and basketball...she was able to have more confidence in herself. She became a mature young lady and she became interested in fulfilling her goals and sports really did a great job helping her achieve that," said Vans.

World class 17-year career 

Karina's career has taken her to five World Cups, three Pan American games and two Olympics. 

"We couldn't be more happy for her and proud of her and know that the biggest thing for her is being part of a team and motivating the whole team, and then let's move on to the country and let's include the fans," said Winsome.

Karina LeBlanc is the longest serving player in Canadian Soccer history. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Both Vans and Winsome will be in the stands during Saturday's quarter-final game against England at BC Place.

"I'm excited. I'm hoping I have a voice because usually when we start cheering, Karina knows exactly where we are...we know how to attract her attention," said Winsome.

Whether Team Canada wins or loses, Van says he couldn't think of a better venue for his daughter to finish her career.

"This is the right time to retire, when she is at home. She can give the fans in the stands her last wave and say goodbye and thank you to everyone."

to hear the full interview, listen to the audio labelled Karina LeBlanc's parents discuss their daughter's final World Cup.


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