Breen cracks nat'l team roster

Darcy MacRae
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21-year-old to represent Canada at World University Games

Laura Breen is taking her game to a new level this summer.

The 21-year-old from St. John's was recently named to the national soccer team for the upcoming World University Games in Bangkok, Thailand, giving her the opportunity to play with and against some of the top young soccer players in the world.

"I'm looking forward to playing with the best university players from across the country, that's not something you get to do very often," Breen said. "I highly doubt there's going to be a weak team (at the University Games), and the opportunity to represent Canada ... it's a good feeling."

Laura Breen

Laura Breen is taking her game to a new level this summer.

The 21-year-old from St. John's was recently named to the national soccer team for the upcoming World University Games in Bangkok, Thailand, giving her the opportunity to play with and against some of the top young soccer players in the world.

"I'm looking forward to playing with the best university players from across the country, that's not something you get to do very often," Breen said. "I highly doubt there's going to be a weak team (at the University Games), and the opportunity to represent Canada ... it's a good feeling."

Breen caught the attention of national scouts with her play in the last two university soccer seasons. A striker for the Memorial Sea-Hawks, Breen was named an AUS first-team all-star and a CIS second team all-star in 2006, in addition to winning the provincial female athlete of the year award.

She was invited to a tryout in Montreal for the national university team in late April, but by the time training camp ended, Breen was convinced she didn't make the team.

"After my tryout I was so upset, I didn't come home right away because I was so disappointed with my performance," Breen said. "I didn't play to my capability. It really surprised me (that I made the team)."

Breen, considered by many to be the top women's soccer player in the province, switched positions at the national camp, moving from striker to outside midfielder. This caused her some problems early in camp but her natural athleticism and ability to adapt ultimately impressed the coaching staff enough to include her on the university team.

"It was a bit of an adjustment, for sure," she said. "They liked my speed and the crosses I was putting over (as an outside midfielder)."

Breen will line up at her new position for much of this summer's Jubilee Trophy schedule with Investors Group/Billy Boot (Molson Kick) and is confident she'll be comfortable there by the time she leaves for the national team's training camp in late July. The university squad will workout in Vancouver from July 30 to Aug. 3 in an effort to develop chemistry on and off the pitch before leaving for Bangkok on Aug. 4.

"Hopefully we'll spend a lot of time together those four days. That really helps bring everyone together," Breen said. "We'll be going twice a day (practicing), probably doing a lot of system and formation work so we'll know how the coaching staff wants us to play."

Breen will also hit the gym regularly this summer, lifting weights and working with a personal trainer. She wants to be in the best shape of her life when she arrives in Thailand, insisting this is what it takes to get steady playing time in an international tournament.

"Being on the team is harder than trying out for the team," Breen said.

dmacrae@thetelegram.com

Organizations: World University Games, Investors Group, Molson Kick

Geographic location: Canada, Bangkok, Thailand St. John's Montreal Vancouver

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