Better late than never.
The Canadian Soccer Association will honour veteran midfielder Andrea Neil for reaching the century mark in international matches tonight at Swangard Stadium before Canada's friendly against Germany, the defending Women's World Cup champion. Neil, 33, will be playing her 107th game for Canada. Only Charmaine Hooper, with 122 caps, has appeared in more games.
"It's an absolute honour anytime you don the jersey," Neil said. "When I gained my 100th cap it wasn't under the best of circumstances."
That was against Costa Rica on March 5, 2004 during Canada's failed bid for one of two regional berths to play in the 2004 Athens Olympics. The team was basking in the glow of a fourth-place finish at the 2003 Women's World Cup in the U.S. Neil debuted for Canada in 1991 against Jamaica and played in the 1995, 1999 and 2003 Women's World Cup tournaments. Her highlight was a 1-0 upset of China in 2003's quarterfinals.
"It was the ultimate team performance against a very good side," she said. Neil, a player and assistant coach with the W-League's Vancouver Whitecaps, said she's looking forward to next year's qualification tournament for the 2007 Women's World Cup in China.