Goalkeeper Erin McLeod will miss the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this summer. The longtime member of Canada’s national women’s soccer team tore an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) recently and now faces a third knee operation and many long months of rehabilitation.
McLeod has been a key member of the Canadian women’s soccer program since her first appearance in 2002, and was part of the Canadian team that won a bronze medal at the London Olympics in 2012. She also won a silver medal at the 2002 U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup and two W-League titles during her time with the Vancouver Whitecaps.
“Erin is an incredible athlete and her absence in the lead up to and during the Rio Olympics will be felt” said Canadian coach John Herdman through a media release, praising McLeod for her commitment to the national team.
“As a veteran leader of the team and a world-class goalkeeper, her presence will certainly be missed both on and off the pitch and we wish her the best for a full recovery that will see her represent Canada again in the near future” added Canada Soccer President Victor Montagliani.
McLeod also released a heartfelt public statement:
Thank you to everyone for your sentiments and support. I want to apologize for not making a public statement until now about my injury, but I was waiting for all the information to make sure when I went public I was sure of what I wanted.
First, I want to say how grateful I am to have the Canadian Soccer Association, the team, and staff, and of course medical staff behind me and supporting me every step of the way. I am also grateful for my current club, FC Rosengard, and all the support they have shown. It is clear to me that both parties are mostly interested in my health as a person first and foremost, and my life as a soccer player second.
I tore my ACL in the Champions League semi-final game a few weeks ago. The biggest question is the Olympics and because I have already had two operations it makes a third one, well, extremely complicated. What I know for sure is I won’t be ready for August. My surgical options means it will take between one and two years to come back, and there are no guarantees, as there never really are in life.
This news was of course heartbreaking because going to the Olympics is a dream as well as an honour. This Olympic team is one that will excite you, I know for me, it feels like I have been waiting for this group my whole career. The people on this team work harder than any other people I know, and, well, I know they will give anything for the emblem on their chests.
As for me, family, friends, fans, thank you for your love, but know that I am grateful for every moment I have put on a Canadian jersey and this is not the end of the road for me – know that I’ve still got a lot of fight left and I hope to be on that field again someday soon.
Thanks again for all of your support,