People get e-mails all the time, many that are unimportant and from senders they don’t know.
The electronic mail that former national soccer player Candace Chapman received a few weeks ago caught her attention.
It was from the federal government indicating that she was selected to be on this year’s Government of Canada Black History Month poster paying tribute to national athletes – past and present.
“I felt really honoured when I received the e-mail,” 31-year-old Chapman told Share. “It’s something that never crossed my mind and to be recognized for something that has so much meaning is a great feeling.”
The second youngest of the honourees (NBA player Anthony Bennett is 21), the recognition comes a few months after the veteran defender retired from the sport.
“My body was breaking down,” said Chapman, who missed the entire 2003 season because of a devastating knee injury. “I had an issue with my knee and it has been there for a long time. Stepping away as a player from the sport I really love was a tough decision. If I wasn’t injured, I wouldn’t want to leave. I love playing so much.”
Chapman has made a seamless transition from player to coach.
She’s the technical assistant of Canada’s Under 15 and 17 girls’ sides and club head coach at Arlington Soccer Association that competes in the Washington Area Soccer League.
“I really love the sport of soccer and I found out along the way that I have a passion for teaching,” said Chapman. “This is an opportunity for me to pass on some of the lessons I learned from some amazing coaches and my own playing experiences. As a player, at least for me, I never really thought about retirement because I was absorbed in the game. Once I decided to retire, John Herdman (the national women’s coach) gave me an opportunity to continue with the sport in a coaching role and that’s something I couldn’t pass up. I knew this is what I wanted to do.”
Chapman is among a distinguished group of 11 national women players to make 100 appearances for Canada’s senior team. Some memorable moments include the landmark achievement at the London Olympics where Canada won an Olympic bronze medal – the first medal in a traditional team sport since 1936 – and winning her first Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) championship with FC Gold Pride in 2010.
A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Chapman won a NCAA College Cup championship in her senior year and a second WPS title with the Western New York Flash in 2011.
Born in the twin-island republic of Trinidad & Tobago, Chapman honed her skills with various Canadian league and national programs. She led the Ajax Wildcats to three league titles and the Ontario Cup championship in 1998 while being the top goal scorer for the club for six seasons. She was also a member of the Ontario soccer team which clinched an Under-19 title.
In addition to soccer, Chapman was a high school all-star basketball and track and field athlete standout at Archbishop Denis O’Connor Catholic High School.
Chapman, who made her senior team debut as an 18-year-old in the Algrave Women’s Cup tournament in Portugal, has represented Canada at two FIFA Women’s World Cups (China 2007 and Germany 2011) two Olympic Summer Games (Beijing 2008 and London 2012), two Pan American Games and the FIFA Under-19 World Cup in Canada in 2002.
To mark the Canadian Soccer Association centennial celebrations three years ago, she was selected by fans to the All-Time Women’s XI.