By Jacob Born | January 15, 2021

As the Solar SC U-16 team took on FC Stars Blue Sunday morning at the ECNL Florida national event, glancing at the sidelines, one wouldn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. Parents standing and sitting opposite their respective benches, shouting words of encouragement to their players and conversing about the game and whatever else in life warrants mentioning. 

What you wouldn’t know scanning the crowd is that among those parents is someone with more than 125 first-team international caps, more than 70 international goals, appearances in three World Cups, a professional career spanning 20 seasons, four countries and two continents, and an induction into the Canadian Soccer and Sports Hall of Fame. 

Charmaine Hooper may be one of the most prolific soccer players to ever come out of Canada, but she enjoys just being a regular soccer parent like everyone else. 

“It’s been fun,” Hooper said. “But it’s also taught me patience. It’s all a learning process, to be honest, but I’m having fun.”

Born January 15, 2005, Hooper’s daughter Charlie has been around soccer her whole life. Hooper played professional soccer through 2006 while her husband Chuck Codd has risen through the coaching ranks after retiring from professional soccer in 2000, landing as an assistant coach for Baylor University’s women’s program, where he is still today. The two met while attending North Carolina State on athletic scholarships, where Hooper was a striker on the women’s team and Codd was a defender on the men’s side. 

“Charlie’s been around soccer since she’s been born,” Hooper said. “I was still playing and at like two months, she came on a European tour with the Canadian National Team with me. My husband coaches and she’s been around teams and the girls. So she’s learned from the very beginning.”

As Charlie starting playing organized soccer and continued to grow her skills and progress in the game, Hooper was always right by her side. For much of her early years, Hooper was on the bench coaching just like her husband. But now, she enjoys being on the other side of the pitch and being one of the parents. But still, even spectating, it’s not hard for Hooper to get her competitive juices flowing. 

“I coached Charlie for a couple of years and it came to a point where I realized I needed to push her out to someone else,” Hooper said. “It’s been fun and frustrating at times. Sometimes I find myself coaching from the sidelines. I’ll be up and down the sidelines, pacing, sometimes I’ll even find myself running down the sidelines like I’m trying to get her going faster. But it’s been fun.” 

For Charlie, both her mom and dad have been nothing but supportive, giving her advice and encouragement throughout her career.

“I always have support on both sides,” Charlie said. “I’m really lucky to have two parents who can always be behind me. I’m very lucky to have that. With my mom, she’s a great example to live up to and strive for. I can always go to her if I need humbling or some tips.”

During ECNL Florida, mom was on the sidelines watching Charlie put together a successful weekend on the field. A striker with equally impressive passing and shooting skills, it’s not hard to see Charmaine in her game. 

Sunday morning, Charlie helped get Solar on the board with a beautiful pinpoint cross from the right side of the pitch, allowing for a simple finish and opening goal. She later emphatically concluded the game with a rocket into the back of the net, closing the tournament for Solar SC with a 4-0 win. 

“Right now, she plays much closer to my style than my husband’s,” Hooper said. “Because right now, she’s not really thinking about defense; she’s thinking all offense. It’s going to take some time and the good thing is she’s young and she’s able to learn from both of our experiences. I didn’t really learn about defense until after college and she’s getting a taste of it now, so hopefully, she’ll be better in the end because of that.”

Charlie has been with Solar SC for a couple of seasons and already, Hooper can see how the ECNL has helped her develop into a stronger overall player. 

“It’s been a great experience and great for Charlie,” Hooper said. “In Waco, we didn’t have many options. So it’s been good for her because she’s been pushed and she’s been stretched, and that’s the only way she’s going to get better.”

“It’s been really beneficial both for me and as a team,” Charlie added. “We’ve all really improved in the last couple of months and the competition is really good and pushes us a lot. There was an obvious difference in the talent levels and the ECNL really has the talent to help me improve and I’m surrounded by people who can push me.”

Watching Charlie progress through the ECNL landscape, it’s not hard for Hooper to get nostalgic and even slightly jealous of the opportunities her daughter has. And it’s not hard for her to visualize the success coming Charlie’s way. 

“I wish I had this when I was 15, 16,” Hooper said. “It’s so different today. They have a whole lot more opportunities than we had, both now and down the road. We are so thankful these girls have this league. Because of the ECNL, these girls can reach for the stars if they want to.”


About the ECNL:

The ECNL is the nation’s leading youth soccer development platform. The ECNL respects and celebrates the unique individuality of every youth soccer player and club, supporting and enabling them to unleash their unfettered passion and fierce tenacity in striving to achieve their potential. 

The ECNL mission to Raise the Game is a total commitment to create the best possible environment for players, coaches, referees and administrators, with a determination to constantly question convention and challenge the status quo in youth sports.

The ECNL Commitment:

We will lead, set our eyes on new horizons, and pursue them relentlessly. 

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