Ivan Hooper stood proudly beside his son, Lyndon, last year as he was inducted in the Soccer Hall of Fame.
He will get two for the price of one this year as his daughter, Charmaine, enters the sport’s ultimate pantheon and Lyndon is inducted again as part of the 1989 Francophone Games national men’s team which is going in as the Team of Distinction.
The induction ceremony takes place in Toronto on June 3.
“I am truly blessed,” said the Nepean-based family patriarch and retired Guyanese diplomat who spent two years in Zambia before being posted to Ottawa in 1978 where he eventually took up permanent residence. “We encouraged them to play the sport at a young age and they have done well for themselves and not disappointed us.
“I think this honour is long overdue for Charmaine and I am so happy that she’s getting her dues here because she fully deserves it.”
The Canadian honour comes a decade after she was a member of the first class of United Soccer League’s Hall of Fame inductees.
Hooper, who resides in Texas with her husband, Chuck Codd and their daughter Charlie, was the first national player to be capped 100 times. She achieved the milestone in 2003 in a friendly international against Mexico in Vancouver.
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.
A 1991 North Carolina State University graduate where she is the all-time leading scorer with 58 goals and 145 points and a three-time Most Valuable Player, Hooper played professionally in Norway, Italy and Japan from 1994-1997 before returning to the United States to dominate the Women United Soccer Association league with the Chicago Cobras and the Atlanta Beat with whom she was a three-time MVP.
Hooper was the first – and along with University of North Carolina’s Mia Hamm – the only players to lead the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in scoring. Hooper recorded 15 goals in 1988 and 26 the following year.
Hooper has been rewarded for her excellence with many accolades. She was an honorary ambassador for the first ever International Soccer Federation (FIFA) Under-19 World Cup in western Canada in 2002, a two-time Golden Boot winner as the top goal scorer in Japan, the H.C. Kennett Award winner in 1991 for being North Carolina State University’s Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year and the MVP of the 1999 World All-Star classic.
Last April, Hooper – Canada’s Female Player of the Year in 1994, 1995 and 2002 – was appointed to the FIFA Task Force 2014.
At the first FIFA Francophone Games world soccer tournament 23 years ago, Lyndon Hooper scored the first goal in Canada’s 4-1 upset win over favourites Morocco before a partisan crowd of 70,000 in Casablanca.
Jamaican-born Kevin Holness, who was installed in Saskatchewan’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2009 – scored Canada’s last goal in that contest.
By RON FANFAIR