Luce Mongrain honoured by Canada Soccer Hall of Fame

Luce Mongrain #CANWNT

Speechless. That was Luce Mongrain’s reaction when she learned she was to be honoured by the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame in 2021. Invited to take part in a Zoom video call to recount memories from the early days of Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team with some of her teammates, Mongrain was surprised when Connie Cant, Charmaine Hooper and Isabelle Morneau revealed the real reason for the call.

Mongrain is one of eight legends who has been inducted to the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame in 2021. Marking the 35th anniversary of Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team, the eight legends represent Canada’s landmark first decade in international football from the original selections in 1986 through to Canada’s first participation at the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in 1995. The eight inductees are Sue Brand, Annie Caron, Carla Chin Baker, Janet Lemieux, Luce Mongrain, Suzanne Muir, Cathy Ross and Sue Simon.

“I am deeply honoured and touched to have been selected to be part of the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame,” said Mongrain. “I share this honour with my family and all the coaches and players who have helped pave my way. I was fortunate to have several exceptional people cross my path who cared about my success. Their generous guidance has allowed me to grow as a person and I am so grateful to them.”

Mongrain, who was part of the first Canadian team to feature at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, said representing her country in major competitions are some of her best memories from her playing career. She played at the senior level across 14 years from 1987 to 2000, including a nine-year span with Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team. After her last Canada match on 8 June 1995 against Nigeria, she ranked seventh all time amongst Canadians with 30 international “A” appearances.

“When I first started with Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team in Taiwan, I was just 16 and I didn’t speak English at the time, so that tournament was a major highlight,” said Luce Mongrain. “Another highlight was the 1991 Concacaf Women’s Championship in Haiti, which was the first official tournament before the first FIFA Women’s World Cup. After that it was of course my last tournament, the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1995, which prior to that we had the Concacaf Women’s Championship in Montréal and we were together for many weeks so that was a great experience.”

Mongrain was a right-footed centre back and right back, whether as part of a three- or four-player backline with Canada. She played her international soccer around the world, from Taiwan to Denmark, Bulgaria, Haiti, USA, Trinidad and Tobago, France, Japan, and finally Sweden for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Said coach Sylvie Béliveau in 1995, Mongrain was a “very experienced player, tremendously disciplined (and) a great leader both on and off the field.”

Said Mongrain, “I really liked playing centre back because I liked being aggressive, I liked the physical play and taking on opponents. Canada was well known for working hard and challenging ourselves, but we had no comparisons because we were the first ones. It was a great group, we had a love for the game and we had passion.”

When asked what it meant to her to wear the Canada shirt, she said, “it was a real privilege because Canada is such a great country. With that privilege comes responsibility, a responsibility to be a good ambassador for our country and that’s how we were. I was fortunate to wear the Canada shirt.”

Mongrain, a four-time Coupe du Québec winner, has been honoured by the Québec Soccer Hall of Fame, the Soccer Mauricien Hall of Fame, the Sport Mauricien Hall of Fame, and the Order of the Vérendrye. She was a two-time Québec Soccer Player of the Year, a CIAU Second Team All Canadian, and a Canada Games bronze medal winner with Québec.

“In those years, we rarely had women’s soccer on TV and there were no commercials with women’s athletes, so my inspiration were my teammates and the coaches that helped me out during that journey,” said Mongrain. “They were so generous and I was very fortunate to have exceptional people cross my path, so I am very thankful and grateful to them.”

CANADA SOCCER HALL of FAME:

Je suis profondément honorée et touchée d’avoir été sélectionnée pour faire partie de la famille du Temple de la renommée de l’association canadienne de soccer. Je partage cet honneur avec ma famille et tous les entraîneurs et acteurs qui ont contribué à paver mon chemin. J’ai été choyée d’avoir sur mon parcours plusieurs personnes d’exception qui avaient à cœur ma réussite. Leurs généreux conseils m’ont permis de grandir en tant que personne et je leur en suis grandement reconnaissante. Je n’ose pas nommer de noms par peur d’en oublier. À vous tous, amis, co-équipières, mes parents, mon mari et mes filles, je tiens sincèrement à vous remercier. Je suis également privilégiée d’avoir partagé ce parcours avec des femmes d’exception. Des pionnières, des ambassadrices qui ont su par leurs actions et leurs comportements laisser un lègue pour la génération future de soccer. Je tiens également à féliciter les 7 autres récipiendaires de la cohorte 2021 : Sue Brand, Annie Caron, Carla Chin Baker, Janet Lemieux, Suzanne Muir, Cathy Ross and Sue Simon. Bravo les filles, c’est tellement mérité!

Pour moi, le soccer a été et demeure une école de vie. Merci beaucoup!

I am deeply honoured and touched to have been selected to be part of the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame. I share this honour with my family and all the coaches and players who have helped pave my way. I was fortunate to have several exceptional people cross my path who cared about my success. Their generous guidance has allowed me to grow as a person and I am so grateful to them. I dare not name names for fear of forgetting some people. To all of you, friends, teammates, my parents, my husband and my daughters, I sincerely want to thank you. I am also privileged to have shared this journey with exceptional women. Pioneers, ambassadors who, through their actions and their behavior, have left a legacy for the next soccer generation. I would also like to congratulate the 7 other recipients of the 2021 cohort: Sue Brand, Annie Caron, Carla Chin Baker, Janet Lemieux, Suzanne Muir, Cathy Ross and Sue Simon. Well done girls, it is well deserved!

For me, soccer has been and remains a school of life. Thank you so much!

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