The Portland Thorns Football Club started its pre-season camp last Thursday, and the big story was the arrival of Canadian Women’s National Team members Christine Sinclair and Karina LeBlanc.
Sinclair is the sublime striker from Burnaby, and LeBlanc the fiery keeper from Maple Ridge.
The pair won bronze together at the London Olympics in 2012.
LeBlanc has been on the national team for 15 years, and has earned 104 caps, making her the longest-serving athlete in Canadian Soccer history. She has played in two Olympics, three Pan American Games and four FIFA Women’s World Cups.
The Thorns will play in the National Women’s Soccer League, a new eight-team circuit that will begin play this spring.
The team is getting ready for its first regular-season game against Kansas City on April 13.
Sinclair and Leblanc have been called up to play in national team exhibition games in France on April 4 and England on April 7.
UNICEF Canada announced on Tuesday that LeBlanc is the relief agency’s newest ambassador.