Booth, Matheson picked for Canadian team in international soccer tourney

Burlington’s Melanie Booth, who is having a strong rookie season with Canada’s national soccer team, has been named to squad that will compete for the inaugural Peace Queen Cup.

Melanie Booth

The eight-day tournament will be played in South Korea. Last month, the team made Canadian soccer history when it broke into FIFA’s top 10 rating. Since losing 2-0 to the U.S. on July 30, the Canadians have gone undefeated in four games, one win and three ties. They beat and tied France and played Chine to two sawoffs.

Joining the 22-year-old midfielder/defender Booth, who starred at the University of Florida, will be Oakville’s Diana Matheson, also 22 years old. The midfielder played for the Ottawa Fury of the W-League. She has 45 international caps.

Booth has 18 international caps since her debut with the National team in 2002.

Diane Matheson

The roster consists mostly of familiar faces. FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year nominee Christine Sinclair (Burnaby, B.C.) will head Canada’s attack and keeper Erin McLeod (Calgary) will be available for the tournament. McLeod has started in the last eight friendlies since defeating Holland 3-1 last March. in Victoria, B.C.

Candace Chapman (Ajax, Ont.) returns having not played since a friendly against the United States in June 2005.

Looking to earn her first cap with the senior side is Ottawa Fury’s goalkeeper Leisha Alcia (Mississauga) who was listed on the China series roster but did not play.

“The invitation to join Peace Cup could not have arrived at a better time than it did.” said head coach Even Pellerud. “A two and a half week residency camp in Vancouver was definitely a great way to develop our team in the desired direction, but its hard to stay focused without the motivation of playing real competitive games.

“The tournament will offer us three or four (if finalists) top international games, including Italy (who will be eager to beat us after their 2-1 loss in Toronto this summer), the much improved host nation South Korea and finally Brazil, a fourth ranked team that we have not encountered since we played and beat them twice on home soil in 2003.”

The inaugural Peace Queen Cup, born from the men’s Peace Cup tournament, will see eight women’s national teams compete in group (Group A and Group B) match play across six cities where group winners will meet for a one-match-wins-all final.

Canada is joined by Brazil, Korea Republic and Italy in Group A. Canada’s first match on Oct. 28 in Seoul is against Italy. The balance of Canada’s schedule is:

Oct. 30 vs. Korea Republic
Nov. 11 vs. Brazil