Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Defender Renews Olympic Quest after Being Left off Qualifying Tournament Squad: Zurrer Puts Left Foot to Test against China

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Defender Renews Olympic Quest after Being Left off Qualifying Tournament Squad: Zurrer Puts Left Foot to Test against China

Article excerpt

VANCOUVER - Emily Zurrer is putting her left foot forward in a bid to represent Canada at the 2012 London Olympics.

The right-footed defender will suit up for Canada's women's soccer team in an international friendly against China on Wednesday in Moncton, N.B. Zurrer was held off the roster for the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament in Vancouver in January and has been fighting to display her left-footed abilities since then.

"It's mostly just a mind-foot game," said Zurrer, adding she tended to use her dominant right foot previously.

A Vancouver native who grew up in Crofton, B.C., Zurrer plays left centre back, but coach John Herdman felt her left-footed skills were lacking when he took over the team last fall. So he left Zurrer off the roster for the qualifying tournament.

Zurrer got off on the wrong foot with Herdman by missing the Pan American Games because she was under contract with her Swedish club at the time.

"I think missing the Pan Ams was not the best for me timing-wise, but it is what it is," she said.

Zurrer's omission from the Olympic qualifier caught many by surprise, considering she is one of Canada's most experienced players. Disappointed with the missed rare chance to play a major international competition in her hometown, she cheered with friends and family members from the stands while remaining determined to get back on the pitch and prove she belongs.

"It was a test of character, and she's really come back strong and shows real leadership in the team," said Herdman.

Zurrer returned to the squad for the Cyprus Cup in March and helped Canada reach the final against eventual champion France. She scored the lone goal in an earlier 1-0 win over Holland.

"My goal was to make a statement in that game," said Zurrer, who has 52 national team caps to her credit. "I think I accomplished that."

But the former University of Illinois standout refuses to discuss her chances of playing in the Games. Herdman coyly said she has a good chance -- along with many others in the battle for Olympic jobs. …

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