By Mike Perason, News Staff
Ancaster native Melissa Tancredi is one of 18 players headed to London with Canada’s Olympic women’s soccer team.
Nicknamed “Tank," Tancredi is a veteran of more than 64 games with Team Canada since 2004.
Now 30, Tancredi was a key part of Canada’s 2008 Olympic soccer team. At the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, she scored the fastest goal in World Cup history, just 37 seconds after a match began versus Australia. Tancredi won a bronze medal with Team Canada at the 2007 Pan American Games.
A graduate of Cathedral Catholic Secondary School and the University of Notre Dame, Tancredi was awarded the 2010 MVP award for her club team, the Vancouver Whitecaps. She has played her most recent professional seasons in Sweden.
Last summer, Tancredi returned to her roots with Ancaster Soccer Club, where she and National teammate Erin McLeod dropped by the Under 8 girls practice and ran the team through a variety of drills.
“I was right where you guys are now, twenty years ago,” Tancredi told the youth players. “I was wearing the same uniform. You guys can be whatever you want.”
Team Canada will face an uphill battle for a medal in London, where the Olympic women’s tournament begins on July 25 and concludes with the gold medal match on Aug. 9.
Last month Team Canada showed its grit in a hard-fought 2-1 loss to the United States, who are considered one of the gold medal favourites.
The Canadians will play in Group G in the Olympic tournament, which also includes Japan, South Africa and Sweden. In 2008, Tancredi scored a memorable goal against the Swedes which helped Team Canada advance to the next round of the tournament.
Canada finished eighth in Beijing, led by stars like Tancredi and captain Christine Sinclair, who boasts 135 goals in 182 career appearances with the National team.
Canada will host the 2015 Women’s World Cup.