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2. SURVEY: Canadians play big roles at women's powers
September 29th, 2006 3:28AM

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Longtime North Carolina coach Anson Dorrance has called it the biggest change in women's soccer in the last decade.

Canadian players have played a growing role in the success of nationally ranked teams. In 2002 and 2005, Canada national team star Christine Sinclair led Portland to NCAA Division I titles. In 2004, Canadian Katie Thorlakson was instrumental in Notre Dame's championship run.

Fourteen of the 23 foreigners who are starting for teams in the Soccer America Women's Top 25 are Canadians. Unbeaten West Virginia has surged into the No. 7 spot with the help of three Canadian starters Amanda Cicchini, Deana Everrett and Robin Rushton. A fourth Canadian, Nicole Mailloux, has also seen significant action.

The impact of Canadians is even more dramatic at Maine, which moved into the Top 25 for the first time in its history this week. The No. 24 Black Bears start eight Canadians.

The majority of Canada's national team, one of the most progressive women's programs in the world, have played or currently play at U.S. colleges. North Carolina's Robyn Gayle, Nebraska's Brittany Timko and Princeton's Diana Matheson missed the first week of the college season to play for Canada on tour in France. Florida's Melanie Booth and Portland freshman Sophie Schmidt are red-shirting in 2006 to concentrate on their national team duties. In addition, UCLA's Kara Lang, the most highly recruited Canadian in history, is sidelined with a knee injury.

The foreign influence in women's soccer isn't as great as it is in men's soccer. The 26 teams in the Women's Top 25 -- two teams are tied for No. 25 -- average only 0.88 foreign starters. In last week's survey of Men's Top 25 teams, the average was 1.36 foreign starters per team. Ironically, not one Men's Top 25 team started a Canadian.

WOMEN'S TOP 25 FOREIGNERS
RANK/TEAM (FOREIGN STARTERS)
1. Notre Dame 0
2. North Carolina 1 (Robyn Gayle-Canada)
3. Florida State 5 (Katrin Schmidt-Germany, Selin Kuralay-Australia, Kirsten van de Ven-Netherlands, Mami Yamaguchi-Japan, Iraia Iturregi-Spain).
4. Portland 0
5. Santa Clara 0
6. UCLA 0
7. West Virginia 3 (Amanda Cicchini-Canada, Deana Everrett-Canada, Robin Rushton-Canada)
8. Penn State 0
9. Rice 0
10. Texas 1 (Stephanie Gibson-Canada)
11. Virgina 0
12. Texas A&M 0
13. Villanova 0
14. BYU 0
15. California 0
16. Wake Forest 0
17. Purdue 1 (Sylvia Forbes-Canada)
18. Boston University 0
19. Tennessee 0
20. Pepperdine 0
21. Florida 0
22. Oklahoma State 3 (Angelika Feldbacher-Germany, Yolanda Odenyo-Sweden, Adriane Radtke-Germany)
23. Loyola Marymount 0
24. Maine 8 (Jasmine Phillips-Canada, Anjelica Hodgson-Canada, Marie-Andree Canuel-Canada, Christine LaBelle-Canada, Marie-Michele Bouchard-Canada, Laura Harper-Canada, Varonique Fleury-Canada, Jordon Pekrul-Canada)
25. Navy 0
25. William & Mary 1 (Donna Mataya-Canada)
(Foreigners who have started at least half of their team's games through Sept 27.)


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