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Hooper is Canada's lone all-star selection


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[Hooper obviously deserves this honour. I think she is the best women's player in the world.]

By TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

LONG BEACH -- For a player who was forced to reinvent herself at this World Cup, Charmaine Hooper received a star for a job well done here yesterday.

Hooper was the only Canadian named to the MasterCard Women's World Cup All-Star team, announced at a late afternoon press conference.

"I'm surprised to say the least," said the Ottawa product who has spent the better part of two decades as the queen of Canadian soccer but was asked to spend this World Cup as a defender when Candace Chapman and Breanna Boyd were lost to the team due to injury.

"Not bad, eh?" she said when found by cellphone enjoying a day off here yesterday.

"You know, if I'd played as a striker and been picked an All-Star as a striker, I don't think I'd see it as that big a deal.

"But this is kind of exciting.

"Who'd ever have thought I'd be able to play defence, much less end up as an All-Star at the World Cup playing defence.''

Hooper has been a tower of strength while Canada's rising strike force of Christine Sinclair, Kara Lang and Christine Latham have performed up front.

Canada's all-time leading scorer with 58 goals and most capped player at 101 games going into this World Cup, Hooper has scored two goals in the tournament to make her Canada's all-time leader with four. She also played in the 1995 and 1999 World Cups.

She says she's now seriously considering turning into a defender full-time to extend her career so she could play another four years.

"I'm starting to think so,'' said the 35-year-old.

The team features Silke Rottenberg, Sandra Minnert, Bettina Wiegmann, Maren Meinert and Birgit Prince of Germany as well as Victoria Svensson, Caroline Joensson and Malin Mostroem of Sweden who will play in Sunday's final.

Joy Fawcett, Shannon Boxx and Mia Hamm made it from the U.S. Others who made the team but have long since headed home are Norway's Dagny Mellgren and Solveig Gulbrandsen, China's Liping Wang and Brazil's Marta.

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Hard to argue with any of those choices.

That, by the way, was the team selected by the FIFA Technical Study Group and should not be confused with the "FANtasy" all-star team selected by on-line voting by the fans. It's interesting that the top GK as chosen by FIFA wasn't even on the ballot for the fans to vote for.

The FANtasy team consists of:

Forwards: Mia Hamm, Birgit Prinz, Maren Meinert

Midfielders: Julie Foudy, Kristine Lilly, Bettina Wiegmann

Defenders: Juliana, Charmaine Hooper, Sandra Minnert, Sharolta Nonen

GK: Brianna Scurry

Only one of the players selected by the fans didn't play in the WUSA.

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