Andrea Neil

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Andrea Neil
Personal information
Born October 26, 1971 (1971-10-26) (age 43)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Andrea Neil (born October 26, 1971, in Vancouver, British Columbia) is pioneer of women’s soccer in Canada and the most decorated Canadian soccer player. [1]

Neil started her athletic career with badminton at the junior national level. After almost losing her leg to gangrene due to a motorcycle accident in the Dominican Republic, Neil decided to focus her career on soccer.[2]

In 1991, at 19, she made her international debut against Jamaica in Haiti. Over the next 18 years she went on to play for her country 132 times, appearing in four FIFA Women's World Cups as a player (1995, 1999, 2003, 2007), including Canada's best ever finish at a FIFA World Cup (men's or women's), when the Canadian women's national team finished fourth in 2003. Neil earned her 100th cap against Costa Rica on March 5, 2004, becoming the second player to do so in Canadian history. On April 21, 2007, prior to the World Cup in China, she represented Canada at the World All Star Game.

Neil attended the University of British Columbia where she earned a degree in human kinetics. She played a key role in UBC's winning of the CIAU National Championship in 1994 and in 1993 was named UBC's female athlete of the year and then was the winner of the Marilyn Pomfret Award.

In 1994 Neil returned to the #1 ranked Thunderbirds under coach Dick Mosher. Again UBC outscored its opposition at a six to one ratio through the Conference season. "She was not only an outstanding player but one of the finest leaders that I have experienced in the entire athletic program." Dick Mosher, coach of men's and women's soccer at UBC for more than 20 years. [3]

From 2001 to 2006 Neil played for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC and set records for games played, minutes played and assists. While captain of the team she led them to two W-League championships in 2004 and 2006. On May 28, 2008, the Vancouver Whitecaps retired the #5 jersey in honour of her career.

"Andrea Neil is the ultimate pioneer and ambassador. Her relentless commitment to growing women's soccer in Canada is second to none. She is a natural leader and was instrumental during the Whitecaps two W-League championships, 2004 and 2006." Bob Lenarduzzi, Vancouver Whitecaps FC President- [4]

Neil played her last game for Canada on September 15, 2007, against Ghana during the FIFA Women's World Cup in China. At the time of her retirement she was the most capped Canadian soccer player (men's or women's) of all time and fifth overall for goals.

In 2008, Neil was one of three women recognized at the annual In Her Footsteps … Celebrating B.C. Women in Sport gala at the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. The permanent exhibit celebrates women who have made a difference through sports for girls and women in the province of British Columbia. [5]

In April 2009 she was inducted into the UBC Sport Hall of Fame.[6]

On November 8, 2011, Neil became the first woman and third player overall to be inducted for soccer into the Canada's Sport Hall of Fame.[7]

In June 2012, she was inducted into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame and as part of the Canadian Soccer Association's centennial celebrations, Neil was selected as a member of the All-Time Canada XI - Women's Team. [8]

On August 10, 2014 at BC Place in Vancouver BC, Neil was inducted into the Vancouver Whitecaps Ring of Honour, as part of the club’s 40th anniversary. This acclaim acknowledges exemplary players and figures who have embodied “Our all. Our honour” and who represent the club's three core values: Unity, Winning, and Honour. Her fellow 2014 inductees were Bob Lenarduzzi, Carl Valentine and Domenic Mobilio. [9]

After retiring as a player, Neil stayed involved with the sport as a soccer coach. From 1997 to 1999 she was the assistant coach for the UBC Thunderbirds Women's Team. From 2004–2006 she was an assistant coach for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC women's team and their Youth Academy Girls Head Coach. After her retirement as a player from the Canadian women's national team, Neil went on to be one of their assistant coaches, helping the team to win the Cypress Cup twice (2010, 2011), the Brazil Four Nations Tournament (2010) and the World Cup Qualifying Tournament (CONCACAF) in 2010.

On November 10, 2014 with a career record of 15-8-5, Neil stepped down as head coach of the UBC Thunderbirds women's soccer program to pursue other opportunities.

"I am very proud of my time here at the university, both as a coach and as a player," Neil said. "I think the program has a very bright future, and I'm very excited that UBC was able to secure the 2015 CIS Women's Soccer Championship. I think the program is headed in a great direction and will continue to do well." [10]