The starting Canadian goalkeeper is considered to be one of the best in the world.
Last Friday saw the Portland Thorns FC acquire seven stand out players in the first ever NWSL Allocation Draft. While many of you have probably at least heard of names like Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair, knowing who they actually are is a bit different. Take, for example, our newest goalkeeper: Karina LeBlanc.
Born in 1980, despite her Canadian soccer affiliation, LeBlanc is actually an American-born player from Atlanta, Georgia. She represented the University of Nebraska from 1997-2000 before signing with an actual club, the Boston Breakers, in 2001.
While she didn't see much time, as a rookie, with the WUSA club, she did eventually find some time playing for the New Jersey Wildcats from 2005-2006 of the W-USL league. It's worth pointing out here that in 2005, the Wildcats were the champions of their league and in 2006 they made it to the Conference Finals.
After 2006, LeBlanc played for a series of WPA teams including the LA Sol, Philadelphia Independence and magicJack. The latter of which she played as the second string keeper to American international Hope Solo.
Internationally, LeBlanc has over 100 caps with the Canadian national team.
LeBlanc has a number of accolades attached to her name:
- W-USL Champions, 2005
- WPA Champions 2009
- Guadalajara 2011 - Gold Medal
- 2012 Olympics - Bronze Medal
While LeBlanc doesn't necessarily have the star power that Seattle's current goalkeeper, Hope Solo, does, she brings with her over a decades worth of goalkeeping experience and numerous championships that she has helped her clubs earn. Additionally, being the starting keeper for the #7 ranked national team in the World by FIFA is certainly nothing to scoff at, even if they did just lose 3-1 to China.