Courtice's Allysha Chapman battles back into Canada Soccer good books

Community May 29, 2015 by Brian McNair Clarington This Week

COURTICE -- Allysha Chapman admits she remains a "hopeless Leaf fan", which means she knows a thing or two about patience and dedication, not to mention frustration.

Those traits have been put to the test over the past few years, and not just by the struggling NHL franchise.

More relevant to Chapman, a 26-year-old Courtice native, she's used her strength of character in a fight to get back into the good books of Canada Soccer, the sport that delivered her to a scholarship at Louisiana State University, the under-20 World Cup, and a pro career in Sweden.

It's clear that she has finally done so, being named on Monday, April 27 to the team that will host the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 tournament from June 6 to July 5 in various locations across the country.

But it was far from easy getting there.

After playing for her country U20 tournament in Chile in 2008, Chapman was invited the next year to a senior team training camp by then-Canadian coach Carolina Morace, who never warmed up to her playing style or personality, Chapman says.

It seemed since then that Chapman, a defender, was no longer in the plans for the national program -- at least, that is until she was surprised by an email last June by current coach John Herdman.

"I'd been kind of shunned from the team for awhile, but finally last June I got an email from John saying that he was watching my season," Chapman recalled by phone from British Columbia on the day the team was announced. "That was exciting, just for the contact because it had been months and months, maybe over a year since I had heard anything from him."

That contact ultimately led to Chapman being invited to the national team on trial in October, and getting her first international cap on Oct. 25 against Japan, where she performed so well she was named player of the match.

"That was very exciting, and then it's kind of been a whirlwind ever since," said Chapman, who scored her first goal for Canada in a 1-0 win over Italy at the Cyprus Women’s Cup in May. "I've been on a long journey. It took a lot of work to get here. Everything finally fell into place."

It got to the point for Chapman where she was looking into the possibility of playing for Scotland, her mother's homeland. The Scottish team had been pursuing her, but ultimately went with the roster that was already intact and failed to qualify for the tournament.

"I was heavily considering it," she admitted. "But, thank goodness, because I'm very Canadian and I'm really happy to be playing for my true country."

Chapman also describes her style of play as Canadian, perhaps borrowing from the sport that her beloved Toronto Maple Leafs play. She was recruited by Herdman with the hope of filling a void at the left fullback position, an area of weakness for the team the past few years.

"I think he likes my style of play a little more," Chapman said, comparing Herdman to Morace. "I've been told I play like a Canadian. I'm non-stop, aggressive, just running around, working hard, so I guess that's one word to describe my play is just very Canadian."

Chapman learned the game with the Darlington Soccer Club, but also played with the Oshawa Turul, Ajax United, Peterborough and Toronto Lynx before graduating from Courtice Secondary School and beginning her scholarship.

Herdman, reached by email while the team travels, said Chapman will be an important piece to the puzzle on his team. “I’ve said before that the fullbacks are going to be important,” he wrote. “Allysha is a modern fullback with the international standard pace, and that desire to get forward and create things, that's what we need from her going into the World Cup.”

She joins a Canadian team led by captain Christine Sinclair and several others who won a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, including goalkeeper Erin McLeod, midfielders Diana Matheson, Desiree Scott and Sophie Schmidt, and forward Melissa Tancredi.

Canada opens the World Cup against China on Saturday, June 6 in Edmonton and will also face New Zealand and the Netherlands in group play. Although Canada is ranked eighth in the world, Chapman expects home field will offer a huge advantage in the quest for another medal.

"We're going to have huge crowds, bigger crowds than I've played in front of before. I can't wait. I think it's going to be unreal," she said. "I think we come in as an underdog, but we do well under pressure and I think we'll rise to the challenge and definitely be a contender again for this tournament."

The team that will play at the World Cup will be much different than the one that will be looking to defend its Pan Am Games title in Toronto later in the summer, Chapman said, as the coach plans to run with younger players for that tournament.

Courtice's Allysha Chapman battles back into Canada Soccer good books

Proud defender pumped for FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 tournament

Community May 29, 2015 by Brian McNair Clarington This Week

COURTICE -- Allysha Chapman admits she remains a "hopeless Leaf fan", which means she knows a thing or two about patience and dedication, not to mention frustration.

Those traits have been put to the test over the past few years, and not just by the struggling NHL franchise.

More relevant to Chapman, a 26-year-old Courtice native, she's used her strength of character in a fight to get back into the good books of Canada Soccer, the sport that delivered her to a scholarship at Louisiana State University, the under-20 World Cup, and a pro career in Sweden.

It's clear that she has finally done so, being named on Monday, April 27 to the team that will host the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 tournament from June 6 to July 5 in various locations across the country.

But it was far from easy getting there.

After playing for her country U20 tournament in Chile in 2008, Chapman was invited the next year to a senior team training camp by then-Canadian coach Carolina Morace, who never warmed up to her playing style or personality, Chapman says.

It seemed since then that Chapman, a defender, was no longer in the plans for the national program -- at least, that is until she was surprised by an email last June by current coach John Herdman.

"I'd been kind of shunned from the team for awhile, but finally last June I got an email from John saying that he was watching my season," Chapman recalled by phone from British Columbia on the day the team was announced. "That was exciting, just for the contact because it had been months and months, maybe over a year since I had heard anything from him."

That contact ultimately led to Chapman being invited to the national team on trial in October, and getting her first international cap on Oct. 25 against Japan, where she performed so well she was named player of the match.

"That was very exciting, and then it's kind of been a whirlwind ever since," said Chapman, who scored her first goal for Canada in a 1-0 win over Italy at the Cyprus Women’s Cup in May. "I've been on a long journey. It took a lot of work to get here. Everything finally fell into place."

It got to the point for Chapman where she was looking into the possibility of playing for Scotland, her mother's homeland. The Scottish team had been pursuing her, but ultimately went with the roster that was already intact and failed to qualify for the tournament.

"I was heavily considering it," she admitted. "But, thank goodness, because I'm very Canadian and I'm really happy to be playing for my true country."

Chapman also describes her style of play as Canadian, perhaps borrowing from the sport that her beloved Toronto Maple Leafs play. She was recruited by Herdman with the hope of filling a void at the left fullback position, an area of weakness for the team the past few years.

"I think he likes my style of play a little more," Chapman said, comparing Herdman to Morace. "I've been told I play like a Canadian. I'm non-stop, aggressive, just running around, working hard, so I guess that's one word to describe my play is just very Canadian."

Chapman learned the game with the Darlington Soccer Club, but also played with the Oshawa Turul, Ajax United, Peterborough and Toronto Lynx before graduating from Courtice Secondary School and beginning her scholarship.

Herdman, reached by email while the team travels, said Chapman will be an important piece to the puzzle on his team. “I’ve said before that the fullbacks are going to be important,” he wrote. “Allysha is a modern fullback with the international standard pace, and that desire to get forward and create things, that's what we need from her going into the World Cup.”

She joins a Canadian team led by captain Christine Sinclair and several others who won a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, including goalkeeper Erin McLeod, midfielders Diana Matheson, Desiree Scott and Sophie Schmidt, and forward Melissa Tancredi.

Canada opens the World Cup against China on Saturday, June 6 in Edmonton and will also face New Zealand and the Netherlands in group play. Although Canada is ranked eighth in the world, Chapman expects home field will offer a huge advantage in the quest for another medal.

"We're going to have huge crowds, bigger crowds than I've played in front of before. I can't wait. I think it's going to be unreal," she said. "I think we come in as an underdog, but we do well under pressure and I think we'll rise to the challenge and definitely be a contender again for this tournament."

The team that will play at the World Cup will be much different than the one that will be looking to defend its Pan Am Games title in Toronto later in the summer, Chapman said, as the coach plans to run with younger players for that tournament.

Courtice's Allysha Chapman battles back into Canada Soccer good books

Proud defender pumped for FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 tournament

Community May 29, 2015 by Brian McNair Clarington This Week

COURTICE -- Allysha Chapman admits she remains a "hopeless Leaf fan", which means she knows a thing or two about patience and dedication, not to mention frustration.

Those traits have been put to the test over the past few years, and not just by the struggling NHL franchise.

More relevant to Chapman, a 26-year-old Courtice native, she's used her strength of character in a fight to get back into the good books of Canada Soccer, the sport that delivered her to a scholarship at Louisiana State University, the under-20 World Cup, and a pro career in Sweden.

It's clear that she has finally done so, being named on Monday, April 27 to the team that will host the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 tournament from June 6 to July 5 in various locations across the country.

But it was far from easy getting there.

After playing for her country U20 tournament in Chile in 2008, Chapman was invited the next year to a senior team training camp by then-Canadian coach Carolina Morace, who never warmed up to her playing style or personality, Chapman says.

It seemed since then that Chapman, a defender, was no longer in the plans for the national program -- at least, that is until she was surprised by an email last June by current coach John Herdman.

"I'd been kind of shunned from the team for awhile, but finally last June I got an email from John saying that he was watching my season," Chapman recalled by phone from British Columbia on the day the team was announced. "That was exciting, just for the contact because it had been months and months, maybe over a year since I had heard anything from him."

That contact ultimately led to Chapman being invited to the national team on trial in October, and getting her first international cap on Oct. 25 against Japan, where she performed so well she was named player of the match.

"That was very exciting, and then it's kind of been a whirlwind ever since," said Chapman, who scored her first goal for Canada in a 1-0 win over Italy at the Cyprus Women’s Cup in May. "I've been on a long journey. It took a lot of work to get here. Everything finally fell into place."

It got to the point for Chapman where she was looking into the possibility of playing for Scotland, her mother's homeland. The Scottish team had been pursuing her, but ultimately went with the roster that was already intact and failed to qualify for the tournament.

"I was heavily considering it," she admitted. "But, thank goodness, because I'm very Canadian and I'm really happy to be playing for my true country."

Chapman also describes her style of play as Canadian, perhaps borrowing from the sport that her beloved Toronto Maple Leafs play. She was recruited by Herdman with the hope of filling a void at the left fullback position, an area of weakness for the team the past few years.

"I think he likes my style of play a little more," Chapman said, comparing Herdman to Morace. "I've been told I play like a Canadian. I'm non-stop, aggressive, just running around, working hard, so I guess that's one word to describe my play is just very Canadian."

Chapman learned the game with the Darlington Soccer Club, but also played with the Oshawa Turul, Ajax United, Peterborough and Toronto Lynx before graduating from Courtice Secondary School and beginning her scholarship.

Herdman, reached by email while the team travels, said Chapman will be an important piece to the puzzle on his team. “I’ve said before that the fullbacks are going to be important,” he wrote. “Allysha is a modern fullback with the international standard pace, and that desire to get forward and create things, that's what we need from her going into the World Cup.”

She joins a Canadian team led by captain Christine Sinclair and several others who won a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, including goalkeeper Erin McLeod, midfielders Diana Matheson, Desiree Scott and Sophie Schmidt, and forward Melissa Tancredi.

Canada opens the World Cup against China on Saturday, June 6 in Edmonton and will also face New Zealand and the Netherlands in group play. Although Canada is ranked eighth in the world, Chapman expects home field will offer a huge advantage in the quest for another medal.

"We're going to have huge crowds, bigger crowds than I've played in front of before. I can't wait. I think it's going to be unreal," she said. "I think we come in as an underdog, but we do well under pressure and I think we'll rise to the challenge and definitely be a contender again for this tournament."

The team that will play at the World Cup will be much different than the one that will be looking to defend its Pan Am Games title in Toronto later in the summer, Chapman said, as the coach plans to run with younger players for that tournament.