When the United States Women’s National Team walked into BMO Field in Toronto on June 2, 2013 to play rivals Canada, one player on the team was getting a heap of boos from the sold-out crowd. Sydney Leroux, who was born in Vancouver to a Canadian mother and American father, played at the youth level for Canada before switching to play for the USWNT. That didn’t sit well with the Canadian fans in attendance, and throughout warmups, they let Leroux know that they didn’t particularly care for her and the decision she had made 5 years prior.
The match begins with Leroux on the bench and was a scoreless affair until the 70th minute, when Abby Wambach assisted Alex Morgan on a goal. Morgan would score two minutes later, with Tobin Heath on the assist, to make it 2-0 USWNT in a matter of minutes. Leroux subbed onto the field for Heath in the 74th minute, and the Canadian crowd let her have it.
Boos rained down from every corner of the stadium, and they continued every time she touched the ball. But, Leroux had something for them if she scored. In the 3rd minute of stoppage time, with a few seconds left in the match, Abby Wambach fed Leroux the ball behind the defense. Leroux, who had broken away from a defender, got the Canadian goalkeeper to go for the ball, got around her and punched the ball home for the game’s third and final goal.
She gets up off the turf and steps right to the endline, where the Canadian supporters were, and started to celebrate in front of them. She punctuated her celebration by popping the USWNT crest on her jersey several times right in front of them and put her finger to her lips as if to shush the crowd. Leroux received a yellow card for the demonstrative celebration, but no one wearing a U.S. shirt cared. She let the world know that she was an American player and that if you weren’t down with the USWNT, you weren’t on Team Leroux.
Leroux went on to be a major contributor to the team that won the 2015 Women’s World Cup, getting the chance to lift the trophy in Vancouver, of all places. That time, it was nothing but cheers for the Canadian-American who had become a champion in the city she was born.