Q&A with staff member Carla Baker on soccer career with Canadian national team

Jasmine Zhang

Staff member Carla Baker poses with her Canadian National Women’s World Cup team plaque, jersey, and Canadian flag. She played in the 25th Anniversary Tournament against France, Italy, and the US. (Calina He)

What prompted you to start playing soccer?

I started at the age of 12 and just played in the community. I just had some friends who liked the sport in the community, and I was always out and active, (so when) I was introduced to soccer, I was like, “You know what, let’s try this.”

What was the process to be able to play on a national soccer team like?

For me, growing up in the 80s, at that time, soccer was still pretty young in its development, so I played travel soccer in maybe high school, which is really late in today’s comparisons. After I did that, I had the opportunity to go to university and play in university in Canada, so it was just before I traveled to university that I made my first national team and had that opportunity.

How are you still involved in soccer now? Do you still play today?

I don’t play today because there were too many injuries along the way, but I’ve developed a passion for refereeing, so I referee at youth levels, so travel soccer (and) recreational soccer. It helps me stay fit and helps me get back to the game by helping young players that I referee understand the game and understand if they have a foul, or how to throw the ball in properly. At the coaching level, I coach high school at Park Tudor now, and we are the runner-ups for the state championships (for) 2020.

Baker’s daughter, senior Erin Baker, plays in a soccer game. She played in the same position as her mother, and allowed four goals with 45 saves during the 2018 season.

What led you to pursue a career in professional soccer?

I was a multi-sport athlete growing up, so I did track, ran cross country, played basketball, played volleyball, and I had all that exposure at the elementary level and at the middle school level. When I got to high school, I started playing travel soccer, (and) opportunities started to materialize to be able to play for the Ontario team, so I tried out and made (it).

Is there anything else you would like readers to know about?

My daughter played soccer at CHS, and she was a varsity player for four years. In 2018, I had an opportunity to be on her team that won the state championship with her (playing) as the starting goalkeeper, so that was very special to me. I was the assistant coach at the time.

To read a story on how Baker’s daughter, Erin, continues Baker’s legacy as a soccer player, click here. 

Chloe Sun