Soccer

Women's soccer team agrees with player suspensions

The Canadian women's soccer team says it is standing behind a decision by team management to suspend three disgruntled veterans from the national team program.

The Canadian women's soccer team says it is standing behind a decision by team management to suspend three disgruntled veterans from the national team program.

In a team statement released to the Canadian Press by captain Christine Sinclair, the women said they felt "compelled to make it clear where we stand as a team" regarding the recent protest by national team mainstays Charmaine Hooper, Sharolta Nonen and Christine Latham.

The trio — all members of Canada's 2003 World Cup team — were suspended by team management after failing to play in exhibition games against China in August in St. John's.

The women say they were cut from the team after expressing concerns over the format of a residency program in Vancouver partially funded by Vancouver Whitecaps owner Greg Kerfoot.

Hooper, Nonen and Latham have a combined 243 international appearances, or caps, and 87 goals for Canada. Hooper, a member of the national team since 1986, is Canada's all-time leader in caps (131) and goals (71).

The three have retained counsel and have threatened a lawsuit over being cut from the team.

"Unfortunately, due to a failure to report to camp in Newfoundland, leaving us with 12 [outfield] players to face China and France, three of our teammates have been released from the program," the Canadian team statement says. "Though saddened by the events that have transpired, we cannot stress enough that this decision was made as a team and for the betterment of the team.

"We appreciate the support Mr. Greg Kerfoot has given the women's national team and we are extremely happy under the leadership of [head coach] Even Pellerud.

"We would like to thank everyone for their continued support at this time and look forward to making our country proud in the upcoming Gold Cup to be held in November."

The Gold Cup, scheduled for late November inthe United States, is used as a World Cup qualifying tournament.

The Canadian women wereleaving Monday for the inaugural Peace Queen Cup tournament in South Korea from Oct. 28 to Nov. 4.Canada is in a pool with Brazil, Korea Republic and Italy and will play its first game, against the Italians, on Oct. 28.

With files from the Canadian Press