Thorns FC head coach Rhian Wilkinson was named today to the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame. She joins former national team stars Patrice Bernier and Martina Franko as inductees into Canada Soccer Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022.
Wilkinson was a Concacaf champion and two-time Olympic Games bronze medal winner. She represented Canada at four FIFA World Cups and three Olympic Games, also winning six medals from six Concacaf tournaments (one gold, four silver and one bronze) and three medals from three Pan American Games (gold, silver, bronze). In all, she made 181 international “A” appearances from 2003 to 2017, ranked third all time when she left international football.
Voted to the All-Time Canada XI during her playing career, Wilkinson played her professional football in Canada, USA and Norway, notably helping Lillestrøm SK reach the 2009 Norway Cup final and winning the 2012 Toppserien league title. Wilkinson was a member of the Boston Breakers for the team’s inaugural NWSL season in 2013, making 14 appearances and registering two goals. She made her final club appearance with Thorns FC during the 2015 NWSL season. She was the USL W-League Scoring Champion in 2005 and then helped the Ottawa Fury reach the USL W-League Championship Final in 2006. A six-time Québec Soccer Professional or Senior Player of the Year, she was also a two-time Sports Québec Le Maurice winner. From her college career, she was inducted to the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteer Hall of Fame in 2013.
Wilkinson was named Thorns FC head coach in the fall of 2021 after her time as an assistant coach with the England Women’s National Team. During her tenure with the Lionesses, Wilkinson was part of the coaching staff for Team Great Britain at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Prior to her time with England, Wilkinson served as assistant coach for the Canada Women’s National Team in 2019 and 2020, working with the senior team during the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
In 2019, Wilkinson became the head coach of Canada’s U-20 and U-17 women’s national teams, while serving as an assistant coach for the senior women’s national team. Prior to joining Canada Soccer full time, Wilkinson was the head coach of the Girls Elite REX program, helping provide a pathway for youth in Canada to professional soccer, scholarships and the Canadian national team.
Wilkinson began her work within the Canada youth national team system in 2014 as an assistant coach for the U-20 Women’s World Cup team, while also gaining experience with the U-17s and senior team from 2017-2019. At the youth level with Canada, Wilkinson was the head coach at the U-15 Concacaf Tournament in 2018 and helped guide the U-17s to a fourth-place finish at the 2018 U-17 FIFA World Cup in Uruguay.
The Canada Soccer Hall of Fame honors Canadian players that have played the game with excellence at the international and club level. With the three new selections for 2021, the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame now features 205 honored members: 140 players, 13 coaches/managers, 10 referees, and 42 builders.
As a Canada Soccer Hall of Fame priority achieved this year, the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame’s Modern Canadian Players category now features an even balance of former Men’s National Team and Women’s National Team players. With this year’s class, there are now 29 former Men’s National Team Players and 29 Women’s National Team players from the 1980s/90s forward. This balance reflects the modern era during which international football at the very highest level has both a men’s and women’s FIFA World Cup as the pinnacle of the sport (since the inauguration of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1991).