On one side, FC Edmonton’s reserves in blue. On the other, the Canadian national women’s team in red.
North Edmonton was the setting for the women’s team’s first official training session ahead of next Wednesday’s friendly against South Korea. And, for the keeper on the women’s team’s side — the one who watched some of the errant FC Edmonton shots sail over her head and into the meadow — Friday’s training session had a sense of deja vu to it.
For Stephanie Labbe, it was a homecoming. She’s the only former member of the 2004 Edmonton Aviators to be on the current national team. Back when the cash-strapped Aviators played their one and only tumultuous W-League season, they’d often train on fields like this, in chilly conditions. They’d use school fields and community parks.
“For me, this was definitely a flashback,” said Labbbe. “From the Aviators to the Alberta team, I was going back to my roots. Definitely, in 2002, when the (FIFA) Under-19 Championship was here, that was my first exposure to the national team. I was in the stadium watching them. Now, to be back here, with the national team, it feels like I have come full circle.”
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