Ajax’s Chapman joins U.S. women’s soccer league

By RON FANFAIR

Ajax resident, Candace Chapman, is the latest Canadian to join the new Women’s Professional Soccer League that kicks off next month.

The Boston Breakers signed the national senior team defender to a multi-year deal to complete the five international signings that each club is allowed. The team’s other foreign signings are Canada’s Christine Latham, Brazilian striker, Fabiana and England’s national team players, Kelly Smith and Alex Scott.

Chapman, who is currently in Cyprus with the national women’s team, was unavailable for comment.

A former collegiate standout and All-American at Notre Dame, Chapman has represented the national side 62 times and scored five goals since making her debut as an 18-year-old in March 2002 at the Algarve Cup tournament. She also helped the Vancouver Whitecaps capture the W-League title three years ago.

Chapman, who turns 26 next month, won a silver medal with Canada at the International Soccer Federation (FIFA) Under-19 Women’s Word Cup in Canada in 2002 and was a member of the national side that placed second in that year’s Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Associations of Football (CONCACAF) Women’s World Cup and the 2006 Peace Queen Cup and CONCACAF Gold Cup tournaments. She also won a bronze medal with Canada at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Chapman scored the first goal of the tournament and the first point in last year’s summer Olympics, netting in the 27th minute in a 2-1 win over Argentina two days prior to the Olympic Games opening ceremony.

“Candace brings a wealth of international experience having started for Canada in the last World Cup and Olympic tournament,” said Breakers coach, Tony DiCicco. “She is versatile, very athletic and gives us some options in where we can use her. She is another exciting player that Boston Breakers fans will enjoy watching.”

While at Notre Dame, where she was the team’s co-captain in 2005, Chapman earned several honours, including Big East Defensive Player of the Year in her sophomore season.

Prior to going to the U.S. university, Chapman attended Dennis O’Connor High School in Ajax, which does not sponsor varsity women’s soccer, and helped Ajax United – she was the top goal scorer from 1993-1999 – clinch three league titles and the 1998 Ontario Cup. She also played two seasons with the Burlington Sting.

The Boston Breakers is one of seven teams in the WPS inaugural season that runs from April to August. The other participants are based in Los Angeles, New York/New Jersey, St. Louis, Washington D.C, Chicago and the Bay Area.

Boston, which plays its opening game on April 5 against FC Gold Pride in Santa Clara, California, will host its home matches at Harvard Stadium. The team opened its training camp last weekend.

Chapman will join them in the next week after taking part in the Cyprus Cup eight-team, one-week tournament that started yesterday.

Canada, which is the defending champions, is in the same group with Russia, the Netherlands and New Zealand. The other group comprises England, France, South Africa and Scotland.

Other Canadians in the new league are goalkeeper, Karina LeBlanc, who was selected with the fifth overall pick by the Los Angeles Sol, forward, Christine Sinclair, who was picked eighth overall by the Bay Area team, FC Gold Pride, mid-field player, Kelly Parker, who is with the New York/New Jersey side, Sky Blue FC and goalie, Erin McLeod, whose rights were assigned to the Washington Freedom.

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