Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Striker Julien Savours Russian Soccer Adventure, Looks to France Next

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Striker Julien Savours Russian Soccer Adventure, Looks to France Next

Article excerpt

Julien savours Russian soccer adventure

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TORONTO - Christina Julien is one of a select few Canadians whose soccer skills led them to Russia.

Veteran defender Ante Jazic spent time with Kuban Krasnodar before signing with the MLS Los Angeles Galaxy. And some prospects like Joseph Dichiara have earned contracts.

Julien's club ties to WFC Rossiyanka stand out on a Canadian national team whose players are largely spread around the National Women's Soccer League in the U.S.

"It's been an experience, that's for sure," the 25-year-old from Cornwall, Ont., said with a smile. "There's been a lot of ups and downs.

"It's such a privilege to be able to go to Russia and live there and just experience their lifestyle. You take the good with the bad, you get that experience while you're there."

Julien, an alternate with the Canadian team at the London Olympics, is back in camp with Canada preparing for Sunday's soldout friendly with the U.S. at BMO Field in Toronto.

It's the first time the two North American rivals have met since the top-ranked Americans defeated No. 7 Canada 4-3 after extra time in last year's thrilling Olympic semifinal.

Julien is clearly up for anything, as per her Twitter bio: "Olympian, Team Canada Soccer #10, Professional Athlete, World Traveller, & Lover. Who knows?"

That sense of adventure landed her in Russia in March, after being at the Cyprus Cup with Canada. Her agent got her a tryout at the club, which was looking to beef up its roster ahead of the quarter-finals of the Women's Champions League.

Julien had been sidelined by injury so she was looking to get back in action. She went to Russia and impressed the club, earning a contract.

Julien saw action in eight games including both legs of the 4-1 aggregate loss to Germany's Wolfsburg, which went on to win the final 1-0 over France's Lyon.

Rossiyanka's roster was global with internationals from Brazil, Nigeria and South Africa among other countries. Deep-pocketed owners were willing to pay for talent.

"It's really good football," said Julien. "They were training on a daily basis."

The team was based about 45 minutes outside Moscow -- "or three hours with traffic," she said with a laugh. …

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