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Lady of the soil and UNICEF Canada's new ambassador Karina Leblanc returned to Dominica to spread her message, inspiring youth to work hard towards achieving their dreams.

Karina Leblanc, born of Dominican parents, is the goal- keeper for the Canadian Women's Soccer Team and an Olympic Bronze medallist in the 2012 London Games. Karina is the longest-serving player in Canadian soccer history representing that country for more than 15 years including at two Olympic Games, three Pan American Games and four FIFA Women's World Cups. Karina helped lead Canada to its historic bronze medal win in the 2012 London Olympic Games.

"This is a very personal trip for me and I am so blessed to be in the situation. My hope is that not only do I inspire through my stories in telling the kids that to dream big and to work hard and anything is possible if you believe in yourself," LeBlanc stated at a Football Clinic at the Dominica Football Association on March 14, 2015. "I hope that each one of these kids, I have my Olympic medal here, when they touch this it does more than just inspire them, it makes then believe and feel something within that anything is possible."

She said that the great thing about coming to Dominica with UNICEF is that she will be afforded the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the youth.

"I am going to be the soccer player that they can dream to be, I am going to be the woman that they hope if you work hard you can be anything that you want to be," said LeBlanc.

LeBlanc added: "Sport changed my life, sport gave me confidence to believe in myself that I was somebody, sport taught me so many lessons, it taught me goal settings, it taught me about dreams, it taught me about hard work, it taught me about dedication and I had many failures and in many failures I had powerful lessons."

She said the biggest message that she hopes to get across to the youth is that if you dream big, if you work hard and believe anything is possible,

"They may not be the next future Olympian but they might be a doctor, a policeman; they can run this country, they can do anything they want to do but they have to dream big," she stated.

Meanwhile, Sports Coordinator from the Ministry of Youth, Culture, Sports and Constituency Empowerment Trevor Shillingford stated that the ministry is pleased to have LeBlanc visiting the island because the ministry is seeking to further develop women's football in Dominica.

"Women's football is a developing thing in Dominica. We are quite happy that you are with us and we do hope that the experience that you will impact on the children that you will be interacting with over the next few days is something that is going to be meaningful, something that is going to leave a lasting impression on the children and we all know the co-relation between motivation and performance and we do hope that the children will be so motivated by your presence that they will show some improved performances and be further motivated to continue with the sport of football," Shillingford said.


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