If you’re looking to name a hard working midfielder then Diana Matheson has to be mentioned. The 4-time first-team All-Ivy honouree led the Princeton University Tigers (2004-2007) with 23 goals and 26 assists. Since debuting for the Senior National Team as an 18 year-old in 2003, Matheson has played every minute in 91 of her 101 caps. Most recently, she displayed her tenacity in Canada’s September 30 friendly against China while patrolling the midfield and playing great one-touch soccer with her teammates. Matheson started the match with a bang, scoring the opening goal after making a great run from the centre circle to the 18-yard box. Perhaps AWK likes the idea of Western New York signing her?
All White Kit: You, Kara Lang and the rest of the team recently hosted a clinic with the Oakville Soccer Club to help raise money for the Haitian National Team. Talk a little bit about that, and your experience playing for OSC as you were growing up.
Diana Matheson: I had a great experience growing up with OSC. It’s a huge soccer club and they do a great job with women’s soccer. Kara grew up there as well, so they do okay in producing soccer players I think ;). The clinic went really well. I think we basically wanted to try and connect with girls’ soccer players out there. With Kara and I being from Oakville and they being such a good club, we thought of them first. The club did a great job organizing the event, and Carmelina Moscato and Kara organized it on our end and the drills and everything. We did 2 hours of coaching with the girls and it was a great turnout. I think we had about 300 people from age 4 to age 51. We did signings afterward and we met everyone. It was a great experience for us.
AWK: Did you and Kara grow up playing against each other?
DM: No, Kara’s 2 years younger so we never played against each other.
AWK: You had a foot injury earlier this year. Are you all healed up and ready to go?
DM: Yup, it’s all good. I had surgery back in May and I was back a couple months after that.
AWK: Congratulations on reaching such a milestone in your career. What are some of your special memories over the course of picking up those 100 caps?
DM: Definitely 2003 [at the Women’s World Cup] and finishing in 4th place. We actually beat China in the quarter-finals and it was a pretty big moment. And qualifying for the Olympics was pretty big for us – it was the first time ever for Canadian soccer. Playing in the Olympics was also a highlight for me.
AWK: You’ve been a really important part of the Canadian midfield for quite sometime. Carolina had you guys playing a 4-4-2 in 2009 and she’s now switched to more of a 4-3-3. How do you make up for all that extra space in the midfield?
DM: I enjoy it. With two centre midfielders, you don’t really get as much attacking freedom because you have to be more responsible defensively. The role that I have now is as a high midfielder. I get a little more freedom to attack, which I enjoy and Carolina encourages.
AWK: Since you’re close friends with Amy Walsh [midfielder, 102 caps] I figured I might ask you this. She took some time off to have a baby and the same thing with Martina Franko [defender, 55 caps] as well. [Neither has been called into camp since then.] Do you know if they have any plans on returning to the National Team or is it more affected by Carolina looking to the younger players right now?
DM: I know Martina played with the Vancouver Whitecaps this year and did well. I think they’d both like to [return], but we’ll see. Having babies changes a lot of things, but it’s still up to them right now.
I was bummed that I wasn’t able to get pictures of some awesome posters from the September 30 friendly, but Rhian Wilkinson’s blog has got the goods!