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LeBlan signs with New Jersey club

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Friday, February 25, 2005

LeBlanc Signs with New Jersey

Karina LeBlanc

The New Jersey Wildcats continued their recent trend of luring international women’s soccer stars to the Garden State with the announcement of the signing of Canadian Women’s National Team goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc. The former University of Nebraska star joins the Wildcats after a successful career in the now defunct WUSA.

“The Wildcats are pleased to add a world class impact player like Karina and we feel that she’ll help our quest to become one of the top club teams in the world,” said Wildcats head coach Charlie Naimo. “Karina will lead what is already a great pool of goalkeepers for the Wildcats. She brings a world class background to the table and her leadership and take charge personality will also strengthen the foundation of the team.”

LeBlanc made her debut with the Canadian Women’s National Team on May 21, 1998 and has collected 41 caps with 16 shutouts since. Her 41 appearances for Canada are the most of any goalkeeper in team history. In her time with the national team, she has collected extensive international experience making appearances in 2004 Women’s Pre-Olympic Qualification, the 2003 Women’s World Cup, and the 1999 Women’s World Cup. For her efforts in Canada’s attempt to qualify for the 2004 Olympics, LeBlanc was named to the 2004 CONCACAF Women’s Pre-Olympic Qualification All-Tournament Team.

LeBlanc is making her second stop in the W-League. The soon-to-be 25-year old played one game for the Montreal Xtreme last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury that required surgery. LeBlanc was also a star in the WUSA playing three seasons for the Boston Breakers. After being selected 23rd in the inaugural WUSA Draft, LeBlanc made her mark in the 2003 season when she led the Breakers to the regular season championship. LeBlanc was named to the All-WUSA Second Team and was also named the starting goalkeeper for World Team in the 2003 WUSA All-Star Game.

Before her professional exploits, LeBlanc excelled at the University of Nebraska, where she was a finalist for the Hermann Trophy in 2000. She was a All-America Third Team selection by Soccer Buzz in 2000 and was also chosen to the 2001 Umbro Select All-Star Classic Women's Elite College Team.

“After going undefeated in the regular season last year, we set the standard pretty high for ourselves heading into 2005,” said Wildcats General Manager Patric Santo Pietro. “Karina will be a key ingredient in our quest for a repeat performance and a return trip to the W-League Championship game. She’s a world class goalkeeper and I think that she’ll really provide a solid backbone for our team.”

The Wildcats open their 10th season in the W-League on May 13th when they travel to face the Boston Renegades at Danvers High School. They open their home slate on May 21st when they host the New Hampshire Lady Phantoms at 7:30 p.m. at Mercer County Community College.


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