Retired Canadian soccer player, Charmaine Hooper, will enter two Sports Halls of Fame this year.
The first national player to reach the 100-game milestone is among nine Canadians to be inducted into the national Sports Hall of Fame later this year. And, on June 3, she will join her brother, Lyndon, in the Soccer Hall of Fame.
Overall, Hooper turned out for Canada 129 times and scored 71 goals – both national records at the time – in a sterling 20-year career that ended in 2006. She represented Canada at the 1995, 1999 and 2003 World Cups.
One of the game’s outspoken and committed players, Hooper refused to play under Coach Neil Turnbull, blaming him for what she perceived to be Canada’s inept preparation for the 1999 World Cup finals. She paid the price for her candidness by losing her Canadian Soccer Association funding.
The hiring of new coach, Even Pellerud, in 1999 rejuvenated Hooper and sparked interest in the women’s game in Canada
Last April, Hooper – Canada’s Female Player of the Year in 1994, 1995 and 2002 – was appointed to the FIFA Task Force 2014.
A total of 520 Canadians have been inducted into the national Sports Hall of Fame since its establishment in 1995. Hooper is just the second Black Canadian woman to be inducted after hockey star, Angela James, who was inducted three years ago.
She’s also the second Guyanese-born athlete going into the Hall of Fame after Phil Edwards who was a member of Canada’s 4 x 400-metre relay team that won a bronze medal at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. The McGill medical school graduate and specialist in tropical diseases, who died in Montreal in September 1971 at age 64, was inducted posthumously in 1997.
Other Black Canadians in the national Sports Hall of Fame include boxers George Dixon and Sam Langford, hockey legend Herb Carnegie who passed away last month, football players Warren Moon and George Reed, wrestler Daniel Igali, baseball player Ferguson Jenkins and track and field athletes Harry Jerome, Bruny Surin, Donovan Bailey, Robert Esmie, Carlton Chambers and Glenroy Gilbert.
This year’s induction ceremony will take place on October 18 at the Sports Hall of Fame, which opened the doors to its new building at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary on July 1, 2011.
By RON FANFAIR