(Contributed)                                Karina LeBlanc was a commentator at the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

(Contributed) Karina LeBlanc was a commentator at the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

Summer Games a springboard for alumni like LeBlanc

Soccer to be played on field named after her.

The BC Summer Games have an impressive list of alumni, and among the event’s featured alumni is Maple Ridge’s own Karina LeBlanc.

She has a long list of titles and accomplishments, including spending 18 years playing soccer at the highest levels of the sport, and helping backstop Team Canada to a bronze medal at the 2012 London Summer Olympics.

Back in 1993 and 1994, she was competing at the BC Summer Games. She was also there in her hometown in the winter of 2017, announcing that the 2020 BC Summer Games would be hosted in Maple Ridge.

One of the soccer venues bears her name, as a new artificial surface soccer field that opened in the fall of that year is named for her.

READ ALSO: Countdown starts to Maple Ridge 2020 BC Summer Games.

LeBlanc said she wants all the kids who play there to dream their own “crazy, big dreams,” as she did as a youth, playing at nearby Merkley Park.

LeBlanc tells a story about getting cut from the Team BC under-15 team, and deciding she would work out an extra 15 minutes every day to get better.

“That field is where I did most of that work,” she said.

She has also started a new namesake foundation based in Maple Ridge, and she hopes it supports girls in achieving their sports dreams.

LeBlanc is on a list of star-studded Games alumni:

• Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, a Prince George native who competed in the BC Winter Games in 2002;

• former Toronto Blue Jay third baseman Brett Lawrie, a Langley resident, competed in the BC Summer Games in 2004;

• Mission swimmer Brent Hayden, who won bronze in the 2012 Olympics, swam in the BC Games in 1998.

LeBlanc has a number of impressive titles, including the head of Concacaf Women’s Football, which she was named to in the summer of 2018.

The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football said “the former Canadian international will lead the Confederation’s efforts to strengthen and grow the women’s game throughout the Concacaf region.”

LeBlanc is also a UNICEF ambassador. She was born on the small Caribbean island of Dominica, and her family moved to Canada when she was a child.

In 2015, she returned to Dominica and visited UNICEF projects, and hosted a soccer clinic for kids.

Before she retired after the 2015 World Cup, LeBlanc had competed in five FIFA World Cups and two Olympic Games for Canada.

She has just returned from working as a commentator at the 2019 Women’s World Cup – the first she attended where she wasn’t on the pitch.

But it all started on the fields of Maple Ridge, and in events like the BC Summer Games.


 


newsroom@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Food For The Soul is offering support for the homeless population from its store on the Lougheed Highway in downtown Maple Ridge. (The News files)
LETTER: Maple Ridge’s Food For The Soul Project doing great work

Society working with homeless population in the community

The Writing Home free creative writing workshops will run for eight weeks beginning Jan. 29. (Special to The News)
Creative writing workshops for immigrant women this month

Writing Home is for newcomers to Canada living in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows

(Pixabay)
Officer from Maple Ridge prison lost career to PTSD

Bringing human rights complaint against BC Corrections

One staff member has tested positive for COVID-19 at Maple Ridge Seniors Village. (Google)
One staff member with COVID-19 at Maple Ridge Seniors Village

Fraser Health announces vaccinations at all long-term care, assisted living facilities

The CubicFarm System moves rows of leafy greens through a system calibrated to grow the perfect crop. (cubicfarms.com)
Veritcal farm company based in Pitt Meadows, Langley raises millions

The company has raised more than $15 million from investors

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

The Delta Hospice Society operates the Harold & Veronica Savage Centre for Supportive Care (pictured) and the Irene Thomas Hospice in Ladner. (The Canadian Press photo)
Fraser Health to evict Delta Hospice Society, open new hospice beds next door

Health authority will serve DHS 30 days’ notice when service agreement expires Feb. 25

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Most Read