We were very excited when the most capped goalkeeper in Canadian Women’s soccer history, Karina LeBlanc, agreed to take time out of her very busy schedule to take part in our interview.

WSU:

How old were you when you first started playing soccer and who/what inspired you to play?

Karina LeBlanc:

I started pretty late. I believe I was 12 when I actually joined a team because I was really into basketball. My dad was the first person I saw playing when I was younger and I wanted to do everything to be like him.

WSU:

What has been your career highlight to date?

KL:

I would say being at all 3 of the past World Cups have been amazing experiences but definitely the Olympics stand out to me at this moment.

WSU:

What has been the highlight and low point of your career so far?

KL:

I think the toughest thing for me was getting hurt a couple days before the World Cup in 2007. It was one of our last training sessions and we were playing next goal wins and I was the number 1 keeper. I felt the best I had ever felt, confidence was where I should be going into a big event like that and I felt on top of the world. In that second it happened I don’t think I ever had felt so much pain in my life but it was physical and emotional because I knew deep down it wasn’t going to be ok in time. I tried telling myself every moment of every day for the next couple days that God was going to heal me but he had other plans for me. We did well as a team nevertheless.I think I’ve had a couple highlights with the Olympics and 3 World Cups but I think playing professionally daily in the best league in the world is amazing to me.

WSU:

Do you have any superstitions or pre-match rituals before a soccer match?

KL:

I like to visualize with my music which I have a game day song list which I always listen to. I also like to have my game day pancake mix which is pancakes, mixed with fruit and yogurt all in one. Sound crazy but it is delicious.

WSU:

What advice would you give to someone thinking about getting involved in women and girls soccer?

KL:

I think the greatest thing in life is making other people happy. It is so easy to put a smile on someone’s face and coaching is such an easy way.To inspire the kids of the future and let them know that if they dream big and are willing to work hard towards that goal, anything could be possible is a remarkable thing.

WSU:

What are your hobbies/interests when you are not playing soccer?

KL:

I love writing,taking pictures, coaching (I have my own gk school and also coach at Rutgers University in New Jersey), updating my website www.karinaleblanc.com I’m always trying to find time to do things that make me learn because I love being busy.

WSU:

How has goalkeeping changed throughout your career and how do you see it continuing to change?

KL:

The position has become more sophisticated. There are several aspects of the position: the Mental side, the Physical side, the Tactical side and the Technical side. Earlier in my career I don’t think we focused on all the aspects as much or in as much detail; today, there is an emphasis on all. We no longer are responsible for just catching the ball but being that 11th field player as well. To be honest I enjoy it but it does require much more work.

WSU Member Questions:

Agnes: Bonjour Karina.The best Canadian players now left Canada and play now abroad (in the United States, in Norway and in Sweden…). How do you see the feminine soccer in Canada? the development of the girls in our Canadians amateurs clubs ? Many girls cannot go to play abroad what to make then? Your opinion and yours advices karina ? I wish you a good season. Agnès qui t’aime beaucoup.
Karina LeBlanc: “I think women’s soccer in Canada is still growing and with the hiring of our new coach Carolina it will continue to get better. I personally hope that soon one of the Canadian cities will buy into the Women’s Professional League so that the young girls weekly will get to seethe best players in the world play live in front of them. I think that is so important and that is why we have tried to get home games in Canada with our national team because I know the difference it makes when you are a young with big dreams. When you dream big dreams and get to see the reality of it first hand it makes you feel like you can accomplish anything and in the end it inspires you to work harder to make it happen. The W-League is also a great avenue for the players that cannot go abroad. We have several players on our national team playing in that league so you know there is a great level of competition there.”
Michelle Chang: Hey Karina, After playing for the Canadian National Team, what’s it like playing against some of your Canadian teammates in the WPS? But more specifically, what’s it like playing with some of the US National Team players you’ve played so many matches against?
Karina LeBlanc: “I love playing against my teammates. We talk to each other weekly because we have become such close friends so we joke about the games all the time. In the end we are all professionals so we understand whatever happens during the game stays that way. The same goes for the US players. One of my best friends plays for the US team and we have the same understanding. I think because we’ve played the US so many times coming onto these teams has made the transition easier because it kinda felt like you had already known some of the players on each team.”

WSU:

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.

Visit Karina’s Official Website: www.karinaleblanc.com

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