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Scott first Manitoban going to Olympics

Soccer player amped to experience Games

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THE wait is over -- 24-year-old Winnipegger Desiree Scott can finally breathe.

Soccer Canada announced Monday that Scott had cracked the 18-player roster for Canada's national women's soccer team heading to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

"Literally it was just an awesome sort of feeling," Scott said of the long-anticipated announcement. "My jaw sort of dropped and it just all sort of became real for me at that moment. I haven't stopped smiling since."

Not surprising, when you consider Scott will become the first female from Manitoba to play soccer at the Olympics.

"It gives me chills actually, to think about it," said the former University of Manitoba Bison. "I think it's a complete honour. I'm so lucky to get to do what I do every day. I'm going to be going to the Olympics, representing my country, but also Winnipeg and Manitoba. To be able to do that for all the soccer players in Winnipeg is a real honour."

Scott said she will cherish every last moment of this opportunity.

"I'm excited to be part of that entire experience. I'm excited to be in the Olympic village, putting on the Canada jersey and walking out to our anthem."

Asked if she would go as far as celebrating with a tattoo, Scott laughed. "I'm going to get my nails done, get some Olympic rings on my thumbs."

But still didn't rule out the idea.

"If we medal then maybe I'll get one of some sort."

Honesty, integrity

Canadian head coach John Herdman is confident he made a wise selection.

"Des has really shown over the last eight months honesty and integrity in her performance," said Herdman in a conference call with the national media. "She's got a quality and assuredness and she's known as one of those go-to players that Canada can really rely on.

"She's shown real technical competency, but her real skill set is her ability to read danger, read situations. She's like a female (Claude) Makelele (of France), a midfield player that senses danger and is able to snuff it out. And then when she gets the ball she'll launch counter-attacks and keep things simple for us."

Right now Scott is in Utah, training with the team before a match against the U.S. on June 30. After that, the team will travel to Switzerland for the next few weeks to play in a series of exhibition games before finally touching down in London.

"We're like a family, literally, on and off the pitch, and I couldn't ask for a better group of girls to be going there with," said Scott. "I'm so confident in everyone. We're going to do big things in London."

Another athlete with Manitoba connections is also on the team. Chelsea Stewart, who is listed as being from The Pas, is a defender who plays at UCLA and has 32 international caps for Canada. She grew up in Denver, Colo., but her dad's family is from The Pas.

-- with files from Ed Tait

jeff.hamilton@freepress.mb.ca twitter: @jeffkhamilton

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 26, 2012 D1

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