It wasn’t her first time playing soccer in the United States but it certainly was her first playing for a professional team in the U.S. Olympic bronze medalist and Canadian international defender Rhian Wilkinson arrived to training Thursday afternoon, joining her new Breakers teammates for the first time.
It wasn’t her first time playing soccer in the United States but it certainly was her first playing for a professional team in the states. Olympic bronze medalist and Canadian international defender Rhian Wilkinson arrived to training Thursday afternoon, joining her new Breakers teammates for the first time.
Wilkinson, one of six players allocated to the Breakers, arrived one day later than expected but at no fault of her own. A snowstorm in Boston kept the 30-year-old Quebec native stranded in Montreal. She eventually landed in Boston Wednesday, and on Thursday, she donned Breaker blue for the first time and took the field inside Cohasset Sports Complex alongside fellow Canadian Adriana Leon, U.S. Women’s National teamers Heather O’Reilly and Sydney Leroux, Breakers veterans Katie Schoepfer, Cat Whitehill, Julie King, and Bianca D’Agostino, newcomers Kia McNeill, Joanna Lohman, Lianne Sanderson, Lisa-Marie Woods, and a host of others.
Wilkinson, capped 137 times for Canada, met the Breakers players right before practice began Thursday. She said her first training, a two-hour session led by Breakers Head Coach Lisa Cole and Assistant Coach Maren Rojas, went quite well.
"It’s always exciting to meet your new teammates, and I think everyone is excited about the season and playing together. I’m really looking forward to season," said Wilkinson, who has never played on a team with any of the current Breakers aside from Leon. "It’s been about 10 years playing against Heather (O’Reilly), and (recently) Sydney as well with the national team, so it was fun to actually get to meet them. Getting to play with them is a whole different experience."
Wilkinson most recently played in Norway’s top-flight league, Toppserien, for LSK Kvinner. Her most recent national team appearance with Canada came this month at the Cyprus Cup, where Canada finished as runners-up to England. During Thursday’s training session, Wilkinson got right to work and following practice, she talked about her goals for 2013.
"I have a lot to work on in regards to being the best possible player for my country and my team," Wilkinson said. "Every day I have to be mentally prepared and physically prepared."
Wilkinson’s first time playing soccer in the U.S. came in the early 2000s when she starred for the University of Tennessee. She began her post-collegiate career in 2003 in the W-League, playing for the Ottawa Fury. She won the league’s scoring title with 13 goals and also finished with 12 assists to earn W-League All-Star Team honors in 2003. In 2005, she was named to the W-League All-Championship Team. Wilkinson not only owns an Olympic bronze medal, she won the gold medal with Canada at the 2011 Pan-American Games.