Nov. 24, 2010
CANCUN, Mexico - Washington State redshirt-freshman goalkeeper Gurveen Clair brought home a gold medal when the Canadian National Women's Soccer Team won the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) World Cup Qualifying Tournament earlier this month.
A native of Surrey, British Columbia, Clair trained with the national team in Europe in early fall, and then traveled with the team to Mexico.
"Nothing compares to the excitement and adrenaline that comes with qualifying," Clair said. "I was with players on the team that I looked up to when I was playing as a 10-year-old. I have some of their signatures on t-shirts. I remember wanting to be like Erin McLeod. In Cancun, she was my roommate for a week and it was amazing."
Canada opened the World Cup Qualifying with a 1-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago before rolling over Guyana 8-0 to clinch a spot in the tournament's semifinal round. A 3-0 win over Mexico gave the Canadians a sweep of their group and a match-up with Costa Rica.
A 4-0 victory over Costa Rica coupled with Mexico's upset of the United States set up a rematch with the tournament host for the gold medal. Christine Sinclair gave Canada the championship with a goal on a penalty kick in the 54th minute of a 1-0 victory.
"The gold medal match was the most amazing atmosphere," Clair said. "Mexico was coming off a huge win over the United States and had a lot of momentum. We were able to overcome the home field advantage and pull out a victory."
Canada's performance in Cancun earned an automatic spot in the 2011 Women's World Cup which will take place in Germany, June 26-July 17.
Balancing soccer and studies this fall has presented a challenge for Clair, whose native country won its second CONCACAF championship and first since 1998.
"Only being in Pullman for three weeks during my first semester of college, it was a little stressful at first," Clair said. "A lot of the women on the (Canadian) team were helpful. My professors made it work for me. The academic staff on campus helped me with my classes. Everyone was very supportive."
Clair is not guaranteed a spot on the World Cup roster. In the interim, she will continue training with the Canadian U-20 team.