Charmaine Elizabeth Hooper, soccer player (born 15 January 1968 in Georgetown, Guyana). Charmaine Hooper debuted with the Canadian women’s soccer team in 1986 and was a two-time NCAA first-team All-American. She represented Canada at three FIFA Women’s World Cups (1995, 1999, 2003) and won two silver medals for Canada at the CONCACAF Women’s Championships (1991, 1994). She also helped lead Canada to its first-ever CONCACAF gold in 1998. She was named Canadian Player of the Year in 1994, 1995, 2002 and 2003 and was the first player to have 100 caps for the women’s national team. She also played professionally in the US, Europe and Japan. She was named a member of the All-Time Canada XI women’s team and has been inducted into both the Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.
Early Life and Family
Charmaine Hooper was born in Guyana’s capital and largest city, Georgetown. When she was seven years old, her father, a diplomat, took a posting with the Guyana High Commission. The family moved to Zambia in South-Central Africa.
In Zambia, Hooper started playing soccer at age eight with her brother Lyndon and his friends at the international school they attended. After her family moved to Ottawa in the late 1970s, Hooper joined an all-girls soccer team and started playing soccer for the Nepean Hotspurs. She went to J.S. Woodsworth Secondary School in Nepean, where she played soccer and basketball.
After high school, Hooper attended North Carolina State University (NC State) in Raleigh, North Carolina, from 1987 to 1990. She graduated with a degree in food sciences. During her career with the NC State Wolfpack women’s soccer team, Hooper set various individual records that still stand, including: most points in a single season (57); most goals in a single season (26); most points in a career (145); most goals in a career (58); most points in a single season by a freshman (46); most consecutive games with a goal (7); and most consecutive games with at least one point (11). She is also tied for the school record for most goals in a game (4).
In her first year with the team, Hooper helped the Wolfpack qualify for the NCAA quarter-finals. In her sophomore year, she led the team to an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) championship and then to the NCAA Finals — NC State’s best finish ever. They made it to the NCAA semifinals and then the NCAA quarterfinals in the next two years.
Hooper made 89 starts with NC State. In both 1989 and 1990, she led the ACC in goals and total points and was named an NCAA first-team All-American. She also was selected as an ISAA All-American in 1989 and All-ACC in 1988, 1989 and 1990. She received the H.C. Kennett Award in 1991, the highest athletic award at NC State, given annually to athletes who demonstrate the finest attributes of all-around leadership, sportsmanship and character.
Charmaine Hooper was one of the original six members of the Canadian women’s national team that formed in 1986. She was also the first player on the team to have 100 caps (appearances in international competition). During her 20-year career, she laced up for Canada 129 times and scored 71 goals, making her Canada’s all-time leading goal scorer (a record since surpassed by Christine Sinclair).
Hooper made her debut for Team Canada as an 18-year-old against Team USA on 7 July 1986. She went on to represent Canada at three FIFA Women’s World Cups (Sweden 1995, USA 1999, USA 2003). At the 1995 and 1999 World Cups, Hooper was recognized by the FIFA Women’s World Cup Technical Study Group as one of Canada’s outstanding players. After the 2003 World Cup, the group noted that Hooper is an “inspirational leader, commanding in defence and dangerous at set pieces.”
It was also at the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup that Hooper helped lead Canada to its highest finish ever (4th). Her notable play and three tournament goals earned her a selection to the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup All-Star Team. She also won two silver medals for Canada at the CONCACAF Women’s Championships (1991 and 1994) and helped lead Canada to gold for the first time in 1998.
Hooper was named the Canadian Player of the Year in 1994, 1995, 2002, and 2003. In 2003, she was nominated for the FIFA World Player of the Year award; she was ultimately ranked No. 10. In 2012, she was named to the All-Time Canada XI Women’s Team. She was also inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame that year.
In 1993, Hooper played one season in Kristiansand, Norway, with FK Donn in the Toppserien. She made 13 appearances for the club and scored 17 goals.
After a short stint in Italy playing for Lazio in Serie A, Hooper took her talents to Japan for four seasons. She played for Prima Ham FC Kunoichi in the Japanese L-League, where she was regarded as a highly valuable player. She was one of the league’s top scorers and helped Prima Ham win the Nadeshiko League Cup twice; the Empress’s Cup All-Japan Women’s Football Tournament twice; and the Nadeshiko League Division 1 once.
After winning just about every possible award playing in Japan, in 1998 Hooper returned to the United States to play in the USL W-League, first with the Rockford Dactyls and then the Chicago Cobras. During the 2000 WUSA Foreign Player Allocation, she was selected by the Atlanta Beat and played three seasons with the club. She was also selected to the All-Star WUSA team as a member of the Beat. She returned to the Chicago Cobras in 2004 after the WUSA dissolved and then played for the New Jersey Wildcats in 2006. In 2008, she played her final year of soccer for Fort Worth FC in the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL).
Charmaine Hooper was inducted into the United Soccer League’s Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural class in 2002.
- Player of the Year, Canada (1994, 1995, 2002, 2003)
- Award of Merit, Canada Soccer (1995)
- All-Star Team, FIFA Women’s World Cup (2003)
- Hall of Fame, Canada Soccer (2012)
- Sports Hall of Fame, Canada (2012)
- All-Time Canada XI (2012)
- Sports Hall of Fame, Ottawa, ON (2013)
- All-American, NCAA Division I (1989, 1990)
- All-American, ISAA (1989)
- All-ACC (1988, 1989, 1990)
- All-Final Four Team, NCAA (1988)
- C. Kennett Award, NC State (1991)
- MVP, L-League (1995)
- MVP, W-League (1998)
- Global 11 Team, WUSA (2001)
- All-WUSA Second Team (2002)
- South All-Star Team, WUSA (2002)