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Canadian soccer players connect with fans via Twitter

The Canadian women's soccer team saw Lady Gaga perform live at Circus Maximum in Rome recently, and midfielder Kaylyn Kyle couldn't decide what to wear: #meatdress or #glowstickdress.

A couple of days later, the team scheduled a 2 a.m. wakeup call in Rome to cheer on the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

We know this thanks to Twitter, which has provided a unique peek into the lives of Canada's finest female players in the months leading up to the FIFA Women's World Cup.

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We also know Karina LeBlanc got a pre-World Cup haircut - she was soliciting suggestions on Twitter. And Marie-Eve Nault's roommate at Canada's training camp in Italy apparently can't sing.

"Please someone tell my roommate she is not Adele!!! #needearplugs," Nault tweeted.

The players have been tweeting a countdown to the World Cup for weeks. First up is two-time defending champion Germany in Berlin on Sunday.

The Canadian women have taken to Twitter both as a way of keeping in touch with friends and family back home while they train abroad, and to get the message out about the upcoming World Cup.

But LeBlanc said that through every serious or silly truncated message, the players are connecting with aspiring female soccer players, 140 characters at a time.

"We all remember being those little girls trying to be able to get to know more about our mentors, and what's remarkable about social media is that these little girls can have a chance to know us more than just as a number on the field, or a name," said the veteran goalkeeper from Maple Ridge, B.C. "They can actually get to know us and see, we go through the hard times too, we go through the difficult practices, but we bounce back from it and the next day we love the game.

"Bad practices don't mean the end of the world, they mean OK, you know what? Tough day today, tomorrow is going to be better."

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On that note, defender Melanie Booth tweeted after a recent testing session: "Dear speed, I seem to have misplaced you. Anxiously awaiting your return, Mel."

A recent post-practice tweet from Christine Sinclair, the team's captain and leading scorer: "Extra fitness in 330C heat tough work #itwillbeworthit."

Jonelle Foligno posted this inspirational message: "RUN when you can, WALK when you have to, CRAWL if you must... JUST NEVER GIVE UP!" #WorldCup2011 #TeamMOTTO #13Days

LeBlanc, who's just shy of 1,800 Twitter followers and also has her own website, said as a kid she knew little about her role models away from the pitch.

"When you can find a role model who you can relate to and they're listening to the same music as you are, they may be watching the same show as you do - 'hey, you know what, that's a normal person I can be that person because I'm just the same,"' LeBlanc said.

While the Canadians have been living and breathing soccer for several months, they've clearly had a few laughs along the way. The pies to the face of Sinclair on her 28th birthday were well-documented Twitter proof.

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Among other light-hearted tweets, this from World Cup rookie Christina Julien: "Is it bad that my favourite contender on #thebachelorette is Ben F. (the winemaker) only because he looks like #Messi. haha"

Kyle wrote: "HUNGRY and all i have is protein powder in my room... not a good idea before bed #myasscantgetanybigger #byebyejeans."

Connecting with kids, said LeBlanc, is a responsibility she and her teammates don't take lightly.

"I think none of us lose sight of the fact that we love what we do but we also understand that we are role models for these kids and we're giving people hope ... I think that's pretty remarkable," said LeBlanc.

The Canadian Soccer Association is inviting fans to tweet messages of support with the hashtag #canWNT and is streaming the Twitter feed on its website.

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