Canadian-Guyanese Charmaine Hooper is our next Black History Month honoree. While the Black Soccer Coaches Advocacy group’s focus is mainly on coaches, we also embrace our black soccer community from everywhere in the diaspora. Charmaine Hooper was born in Guyana in 1968. She began playing soccer as an 8-year-old when her diplomat father was posted to Zambia in Central Africa making it clear that the connection once professed by Trinidadian Dom Basil a friend of Lincoln Phillips that the triangle of blackness remains a very important part of bringing people together from everywhere through the beautiful game.
To refresh your memories that triangle, according to Dom Basil “started in Africa, went to the Caribbean and then goes, at its furthest point away, in America. And there was that link that would link back to Africa with the kind of excellence. He went on to add that “the whole African diaspora could look on this one team in reference to Howard’s undefeated 19-0 national championship team of 1974, as an example of the best that we can be.”
Growing up playing soccer mostly with boys, Charmaine eventually joined an all-girls team when her family moved to the capital city of Canada where she attended J. S. Woodsworth Secondary School. After high school she was went on to play for the North Carolina State University Wolfpack in Raleigh at a time when rival UNC Tar Heels dominated the women’s college game.
While at NCSU, Hooper was an excellent student and an awesome player on the NC State Wolfpack women’s soccer team. She set the record for most points in a season, most goals in a season, most points in a career, and most goals in a career. The team was the (ACC) Atlantic Coast Conference champions in 1988. They also made it to the NCAA quarterfinals in 1987, 1990 & the semifinals in 1989, while also playing in the final in 1988. Charmaine made 89 appearances and scored 58 goals for the Wolfpack and graduated with a degree in food science. Following her career, she was inducted into the NC State Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014.
Charmaine Hooper was selected to earliest women’s national soccer team in Canada in 1986. She was the first player to be capped 100 times. During her 20-year career, which concluded in 2006, Charmaine wore the Red and white Canadian jersey 129 times while scoring an incredible 71 goals on her way to setting national records at the time. With three appearances at FIFA Women’s World Cup including in 2003 where she lead Canada to its best-ever finish in the international tournament.
She scored the only goal in the team’s 1-0 win over China, to help her team advance to the semi-finals. Charmaine was Canada’s Female Player of the Year in 1994, 1995 and 2002. She was also named honorary ambassador to the first-ever FIFA Under-19 World Cup, held in Canada in 2002.
At club level, Hooper played professionally in the United States, Norway, Italy and Japan. Meanwhile, Charmaine these days lives in Texas, with her family as she continues to stay involved with the sport by coaching her 9-year-old daughter while also making time to the FIFA Task Force. We congratulate and honor Charmaine Hooper on a very successful journey and career as she continues to help grow the sport. She is an inspiration to many young girls around the world.