Canadians Karina LeBlanc and Candace Chapman are headed to Sky Blue FC of Women's Professional Soccer.
LeBlanc, Canada's veteran goalkeeper, and Chapman, a defender, are coming off a gold-medal performance at the Pan American Games last month in Guadalajara, Mexico.
LeBlanc returns to New Jersey after helping the New Jersey Wildcats win the 2005 USL W-League championship. She also worked as a goalkeepers coach at Rutgers University.
"There's been some discussion over the last little while whether I'd want to play in the WPS or go overseas," LeBlanc said in an interview from Phoenix where she's training with the Canadian national team.
"I know New Jersey very well. I coached at Rutgers for the majority of those years. I know the area and the organization and Candace and I have chatted about possibly getting a chance to one day work together."
LeBlanc has 90 international caps and has made a Canadian-record four World Cup appearances. The 31-year-old from Maple Ridge, B.C., was instrumental in Canada's first Pan Am title, stopping a pair of shots in a penalty shootout against Brazil.
She said working with her Canadian teammate with her new club will be a big boost.
"Getting the chance to play with your centre back more is only going to help at the international level as well," LeBlanc said. "I'm excited about it because we're close friends and being able to play with someone you're comfortable with is a huge bonus, for this league but also for our national team."
LeBlanc played for the Boston Breakers of the Women's United Soccer Association, the Montreal Xtreme of the USL W-League, the Los Angeles Sol, and the Philadelphia Independence. She played last season for magicJack SC of WPS before that franchise was terminated last month.
"We are very excited to have Karina come back to New Jersey," Gabarra said in a release. "She is a very flamboyant and experienced goalkeeper who will bring a lot of leadership to the field in terms of motivation. She will be a great addition for us in goal, as well as personality-wise."
Chapman will become the only player in WPS history to have played for all three league champions.
The 28-year-old from Ajax, Ont., has anchored the defence of FC Gold Pride and the Western New York Flash the past two seasons, capping off each campaign with a WPS championship.
She has 91 caps and six goals for Canada.
"Candace helps us address our central defender needs with someone who is a calm player, and she will organize and motivate our team in the back as well," Gabarra said. "She has very good international experience and has also won championships in each of the past two seasons."Report Typo/Error
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