Canada goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe allows a goal to United States’ Alex Morgan during first half women’s friendly soccer action in Vancouver on November 9, 2017. Goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe, who has earned 49 caps for Canada and helped the women’s team claim Olympic bronze in Rio, is looking to win a job with the Calgary Foothills FC men’s team. The 31-year-old from Stony Plain, Alta., has been Canada’s No. 1 since veteran Erin McLeod was sidelined with a knee injury prior to the 2016 Olympics. With McLeod’s return at the recent Algarve Cup, Canadian coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller used all three of his goalies but chose Labbe for the first and last matches. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe denied shot at men’s team by league

CALGARY — Canadian women’s goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe has been denied a chance to play for the Calgary Foothills FC men’s soccer team by the league citing her gender.

The 31-year-old from Stony Plain, Alta., was trying out for Foothills FC. The Premier Development League, a feeder league sponsored by United Soccer Leagues in the United States and Canada, says no.

“I have given it my best fight and feel myself fitting in, but unfortunately not everyone is as open minded about this situation,” Labbe wrote in her blog.

“The PDL’s initial response was that as per the rules ‘The PDL is a men’s league’ and ‘given that the PDL is a gender based league, women are ineligible to play.’”

Labbe has earned 49 caps for Canada and helped the women’s team win an Olympic bronze in Rio in 2016.

She’s been looking for a place to play since parting ways with the National Women’s Soccer League’s Washington Spirit earlier this year.

The PDL told The Canadian Press in a statement that, “like virtually all of our peer leagues around the world, the PDL has gender-based eligibility requirements, which we applied consistently in this case.

“Although our specific mission relates to the men’s game, we applaud all that female players have done to move the sport of soccer forward in North America.

“Stephanie Labbe, in particular, has had tremendous success, and we wish her the best as she continues to pursue her career goals.”

Labbe has played in pre-season matches for Foothills, who open the regular season May 11 versus the Victoria Highlanders.

Labbe and Foothills FC coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr., did not immediately respond to email messages from The Canadian Press.

But Labbe wrote she’s not entirely giving up on playing with the men’s team.

“This may be the first road block, but hearing ‘no’ doesn’t mean the end, it just means we have to find a diversion around the problem,” she said.

Wheeldon Jr. wrote in her blog that while “this door maybe closed for now, we are looking at other windows of opportunity to stretch Steph’s game.

“As given the short season length, any appeal would eat into valuable playing time. So whilst we get creative with a solution, the club well and truly considers Steph a part of the team.”

Just Posted

Team Alberta athletes arrive in Red Deer on Saturday for pre-games orientation

Excitement is building with less than a month to go, says Team Alberta spokesperson

Springbrook Skate Park gets financial boost

Province approves $125,000 grant for proposed skate park

UPDATED: STARS Lottery is back

Lacombe STARS patient tells his story

Former Red Deer man named Mr. Gay Canada

To compete in Mr. Gay World

Sylvan Lake council adopts waterfront plan

Sustainable Waterfront Area Redevelopment Plan to guide development for next 20 years

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

In limbo: Leftover embryos challenge clinics, couples

Some are outright abandoned by people who quit paying storage fees and other couples struggle with tough decisions

Netflix rejects request to remove Lac-Megantic images from ‘Bird Box’

At least two shows on Netflix’s Canadian platform briefly use actual footage of the 2013 tragedy

Teen vaping is an epidemic: US government

E-cigarettes are now the top high-risk substance used by teenagers, outpacing cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana

‘I never said there was no collusion,’ Trump lawyer says

President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani says he has ‘never said there was no collusion’

Body of Canadian miner found after African kidnapping

Kirk Woodman’s body was discovered 100 kilometres from the site where he worked for Progress Mineral Mining Company in Burkina Faso

Canada’s Conners on his way to full PGA Tour card with fast start to 2019 season

Corey Conners was working on his putting last Friday when fellow Canadian… Continue reading

Canada’s Milos Raonic, Denis Shapovalov advance at Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia — Canada’s Milos Raonic and Denis Shapovalov have advanced to… Continue reading

Study finds more than half of food produced in Canada wasted

The study released Thursday is the world’s first to measure food waste using data from industry and other sources instead of estimates

Most Read