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These former national soccer players are now helping Tri-City athletes get back on the field

Melissa Tancredi and Selenia Iacchelli played for Canada in the Olympics and World Cups.

A pair of Canadian national soccer players who played in Olympic and World Cup matches are now helping weekend warriors in the Tri-Cities be their very best.

Melissa Tancredi, who won bronze at the 2012 Olympics in London and again at Rio de Janeiro in 2016, and Selenia Iacchelli, who played for Canada at the 2015 World Cup, have opened Workshop performance clinic in Port Moody.

It’s the former teammates’ second multidisciplinary recovery, prevention and performance facility, joining a location they opened five years ago in Vancouver’s Chinatown neighbourhood.

Tancredi, a chiropractor, has worked with the Port Moody Soccer Club for years so, she said, the city was a natural landing spot when the two were looking to expand their operation into the suburbs. They also like Port Moody’s natural beauty and active population.

That their spot is in the 50 Electronic Ave. building on Murray Street, right across from Inlet Park, which should have a FIFA-regulation field turf pitch by the end of the year, is a serendipitous bonus.

Tancredi and Iacchelli’s journey to becoming health care professionals grew very much from their experience as athletes. Tancredi tore her ACL early in her career which cascaded into further soft tissue injuries. Iacchelli broke eight bones during her playing career.

Just as some athletes who become coaches take notes of the way they were guided during their playing careers, Tancredi and Iacchelli paid careful attention to the way they were treated as they recovered and rehabbed from their various injuries.

“We were fighting for our careers every day,” Tancredi said. “We know how important it is to get back out there.”

After retiring from soccer and working individually at other clinics, Tancredi and Iacchelli decided to team up again and put their observations into practise.

They know how tough it can be for even the most casual athlete to go through an injury, the frustration of not being able to perform up to their own expectations.

Working as part of a team of professionals that includes personal trainers, strength and conditioning coaches, registered massage therapists and acupuncturists, Tancredi and Iacchelli try to cut through the pain and uncertainty to restore their clients’ hope.

It’s as much a mental battle as a physical regimen, Iacchelli said.

“We also have to be counsellors,” she said of keeping injured athletes invested in the sometimes arduous process of getting better. “It can take you to a dark place.”

Both Tancredi and Iacchelli worked toward their post-retirement careers while they were still playing. When it came time to hang up their cleats, they knew they wanted to stay connected to sport.

“I love people who compete and want to challenge themselves,” Tancredi said.

And while they were never able to “make bank” from their playing careers that included stints in various professional leagues in North America and Europe, both Tancredi and Iacchelli said they’re proud to have been part of the cohort of players that laid the foundation for gold medal success at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, the coming formation of a professional women’s league in Canada and even the qualification of the men’s national team for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

“We might not have been in the prime time, but we were the generation that put soccer on the map and gave it momentum,” Iacchelli said.

“It’s so incredible to see Canada be so accomplished,” Tancredi said. “You can’t deny we’re a soccer nation.”

• The Workshop is located at 3139 Murray St., Port Moody.

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