LeBlanc back with national team

Karina LeBlanc, the pride of Maple Ridge soccer, is back with the national women’s team.

Karina LeBlanc, the pride of Maple Ridge soccer, is back with the national women’s team.

The Canadian women’s team coach, John Herdman, recently released the roster that will take part in an exhibition game in Edmonton on Oct. 31.

Veteran keeper LeBlanc will be part of that Halloween friendly in the City of Champions against South Korea.

Christine Sinclair, Diana Matheson and many other familiar names are also on the roster, which is not surprising given that group brought home a bronze medal from the 2012 London Olympics. Herdman has promised he will be looking at new players during this trip.

The women will all gather in Edmonton on Oct. 24 for pre-match training.

LeBlanc, now 33, is still at the top of her game. She played for the Portland Thorns FC during the past season, and they won the inaugural National Women’s Soccer League championship. In the final against the Western New York Flash at the end of August, she blanked them in a shutout win, with a couple of tough saves among her seven stops.

LeBlanc started 21 games for the Thorns, who are affiliated with the MLS Timbers men’s team. She put up a record of 11 wins, five losses and five ties, and had seven shutouts.

She was a huge part of her team’s great opening season, as LeBlanc led the NWSL is wins, and was second on the new circuit in both saves and minutes played.

Her national team teammate and fellow B.C. native Sinclair also figured in that championship, with a goal in the final. She had eight goals in 20 games during the campaign.

LeBlanc has made 105 appearances and 98 starts for the national team, and made her debut in 1998, when she was just 18.

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