Karina LeBlanc | General Manager
LeBlanc is responsible for the overall management of the technical soccer operations of the club, reporting directly to owner and CEO Merritt Paulson. She serves as the central leader for Thorns FC on all soccer aspects while also having an integral voice on key business decisions related to the club, helping to create, cultivate and manage the culture of Thorns FC.
Since 2018, LeBlanc has been the Head of Women’s Football for Concacaf, overseeing the efforts of 41 confederations across North America, Central America and the Caribbean Islands to strengthen and grow the women’s game. In her position, LeBlanc has focused on developing women’s soccer throughout the region by increasing opportunities for women in soccer across multiple areas including through grassroots and competitions platforms, development and coaching initiatives, and administration. She launched the Women’s Football strategy in 2019 and was a key part and voice of the Concacaf’s new women’s ecosystem.
A stalwart in the global soccer community and throughout Canada, she founded the Karina LeBlanc Foundation in 2018, seeking to empower young girls and women. Donations to her foundation provides young women with scholarships in her community as well as grants that provide girls with the opportunity to attend camps to enhance their skills in sports and other activities. In 2013, she became the first female professional soccer player to be appointed a UNICEF Canada Ambassador and is also an Honorary Captain of the Royal Canadian Navy. She has also worked with the FIFA Women’s Leadership Program, while serving as a motivational speaker and on-air personality across various television networks.
Across 18 years at the international level with Canada, LeBlanc played in five FIFA Women’s World Cups and two Summer Olympics, winning a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics. She retired in 2015 after making 110 appearances (108 starts), helping lead Canada to CONCACAF Championships in 1998 and 2010 and a fourth-place finish at the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Allocated to Thorns FC ahead of the club’s inaugural 2013 NWSL campaign, LeBlanc helped Portland win the NWSL Championship in its first season. During the 2013 campaign, LeBlanc started and played in 21 of the club’s 22 regular-season matches, recording seven shutouts, while making 92 saves with a 1.10 goals-against average and a record of 11-5-5.
LeBlanc played in the first women’s professional soccer league in the United States the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA) with the Boston Breakers from 2001-03 as well as Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) with several teams, while concluding her NWSL career in 2014 and 2015 with the Chicago Red Stars. A graduate of the University of Nebraska, she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management.