The Players: Kelly Parker

The first person Kelly Parker contacted after she made Canada’s FIFA Women’s World Cup team was her mom. Kelly had been waiting “30 years” for this opportunity, or perhaps for as long as she had been playing at the elite level in the national program. What had perhaps once seemed like an impossibility was at last a reality.

The first person Kelly Parker contacted after she made Canada’s FIFA Women’s World Cup team was her mom. Kelly had been waiting “30 years” for this opportunity, or perhaps for as long as she had been playing at the elite level in the national program. What had perhaps once seemed like an impossibility was at last a reality.



She was going to the FIFA Women’s World Cup.



Parker had always known she was good enough. She was a smart, dynamic midfielder who prided herself “in the creativity of her dribble.” She also knew, though, that her style did not fit the national program’s mold for the better part of a decade. Her style just didn’t fit the national team.



Rather than change the way she played, she continued to play and improve in her own way, maintaining a love for the game that endured no matter where she played. She wasn’t in the national program, but she was keeping the dream alive no matter where she played.



“I knew that I didn’t fit the program that we had at the time,” said Parker. “So, yes, I was excited when the new staff came in because it was a fresh start for me. It was a new coach that gave everybody the chance.”



Indeed, in 2009 that program opened its doors as it moved in a new direction under newly-hired head coach Carolina Morace and her technical staff. At last, here was a coach that liked Parker’s “willingness to dribble.”



“I’m not a flashy player,” said Parker. “It is more about timing and my vision. As a midfielder, it is quick ball movement and an ability to be good off the ball.”



Immediately, Parker was back in the fold, making her re-debut on 10 March 2009 at the Cyprus Women’s Cup, more than five years after her previous one and only appearance for Canada. Now, she was starting almost every match, playing big minutes and helping control the flow of game for her team. She had become an important player in the Morace squad.



“Ever since that initial invite into camp with the national team (at the youth level), you think of the FIFA Women’s World Cup,” said Parker. “It was always in the back of my mind, it was always something I wanted to do.”



Since Morace’s arrival in 2009, Parker has only gotten better, with the prime opportunity to play in two of the best women’s leagues in the world: Women’s Professional Soccer in USA and the Frauen-Bundesliga in Germany.



“The German league is very technical, like the German national team,” said Parker. “The league is so strong because all the German players stay at home. The (players) are athletic, but they don’t rely on their athleticism.”



Parker played only a few matches in the Frauen-Bundesliga in early 2010 before suffering an injury. She was an original member in WPS in 2009 and returned to the American league in 2011.



“There are tactical players and technical players, but it is another level in terms of athleticism,” said Parker. “It is the fastest speed of play in which I have competed next to international.”



That higher level of play has equally prepared Parker for her current run with the national team en route to the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011. Fully recovered from her 2010 injury, she has made the 2011 squad and fulfilled her dream of reaching the biggest stage in the world for women’s football.



“Everyone is excited,” said Parker. “For me, it is a dream come true.”

Canada Soccer Nation Podcast

The Canada Soccer Nation Podcast hosted by Jason deVos, features engaging Canadian soccer guests speaking about a range of grassroots, coach education and club development topics. Check out all available episodes now!