Canada Club Soccer concluded its first Club Symposium this past weekend in Toronto. The event attracted fifty-six technical and administrative leaders from clubs across Canada representing a membership of over 75,000 players.
On Saturday, the attendees who had traveled from as far as British Columbia were divided into working groups to identify and discuss key issues surrounding the sport. Consensus was reached on a series of key issues and recommendations in the areas of leadership, governance, player development, competitive platforms and club development.
“Soccer clubs in Canada need to be empowered to have a voice as to how soccer is operated in Canada,” said club participant, Flynn Beharry of the North York Hearts Azzuri.
Former Canadian international player, coach, and current Director of Soccer Operations for the Vancouver Whitecaps, Bob Lenarduzzi, opened the meeting with an historical perspective on the game in Canada and stressed that the leadership of the sport must focus on the role of clubs in order for the Canadian national team to be successful on the world stage.
“The CSA has an opportunity to chart a new course with the hiring of three new people: the Men’s Head Coach, Technical Director, and CEO. Of these three, the technical director is the most critical when it comes to youth development and in turn the future success of our national team programs,” added former Canadian National Team Coach, Bob Lenarduzzi.
John Knox, President, and Guy Bradbury, Executive Director, of the Ontario Soccer Association were also in attendance on Saturday and participated in the group discussions.
The meeting concluded on Sunday with the support of the attendees for the executive committee to formalize Canada Club Soccer as a not for profit organization in Canada. In addition, there was approval to initiate a plan for membership growth, present a position document to the soccer public on the organizations findings, philosophy, and mission, and, move forward with future regional club meetings across Canada.
“I firmly believe that strength is in numbers. I am pleased to see the start of an organisation which will empower clubs with a voice, and work with the CSA to improve all soccer in Canada,”, said Chris Bezovie of the Edmonton Strikers.
“We need to assess the structure of the game in Canada and devise a plan to move forward. Clubs necessarily have a leading role to play and through Canada Club Soccer, they, at last, have a platform to advocate their views and aid our governing organizations in the decision and policy making process”, said Ottawa Fury President, John Pugh.
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