Women in Soccer

 Inspire Generations: Play, Coach, Lead

Did You Know?

In Alberta’s soccer community, females make up:

  • 37% of  Registered Players
  • 34% of Coaching Course Registrants
  • 25% of Registered Referees
Time to Take Action

The Development of Women in Soccer Committee’s mandate is to promote, support and increase the numbers of female soccer participants in leadership roles and as players, coaches, and referees.

The Alberta Soccer Development of Women in Soccer Committee was established in December 2012 and currently consists of eight talented, diverse and passionate members from across the province. These women represent every facet of soccer including coaches, referees, players, administrators and parents:

  • Mary Jo Spence – Chair (Calgary)
  • Pearl Doupe (Calgary)
  • Harsimrit Lakhyan (Calgary)
  • Ilsa Wong (Lethbridge)
  • Amanda Wang (Calgary)
  • Andrea Procter (Edmonton)
  • Julie Beschell (Alberta Soccer BOD Liaison)
  • Carmen Charron (Alberta Soccer Staff Support)
Honourary Members:

Erin McLeod (former Canadian Women’s National Team Goalkeeper)

“Developing female coaches and players is essential to soccer in Canada. The women’s program is one of the most competitive in the world and in order for us to continue to rise to the top, it starts from the grassroots level. More women who have an understanding of the game early on will not only make them better coaches but players as well…Tracy David was my first female coach and to this day she made one of the biggest impacts on my life because I started to believe, as a woman, I could accomplish all of my dreams… Girls that have strong female role models, and coaches, opens their eyes to possibility.”

Sheena Dickson (FIFA Referee)

“As the game grows, the need for officials does as well. From my experience, there is a lot of opportunity for female officials to move up and learn what it takes to get to the National and International stage. It does take a lot of blood, sweat and even some tears. However when you reach your goal, it is all worthwhile. Even if you do not aspire to become a FIFA Referee or Assistant Referee, refereeing is a great way to stay involved, at all levels of this wonderful game we all love.”

The following sites provide a wealth of information to help support and develop women at all levels of sport:

Women in Sport Conference

The 2019 Women in Sport Conference was held in Red Deer, AB, marking the first time the conference featured speakers and guests from multiple sports, including: hockey, basketball, swimming, soccer and more. Hailing from Edmonton, Cochrane, Ponoka, Calgary, Red Deer, Innisfail, Airdrie, Ft. Saskatchewan, Grande Prairie, Medicine Hat, British Columbia, and Ontario, those in attendance serve as board members, administrators, referees, coaches, players, and parents in their communities.

The weekend provided a platform for each of these participants to connect and network with other female leaders in sport, gain practical tools and skills to implement in their personal and professional environments, and be inspired by those who shared their unique personal stories. 

Click here to view pictures from the weekend 

The conference, a coordinated effort between Alberta Soccer and Hockey Alberta, offered keynote speeches, workshops, and panel discussions on a variety of topics, including: Mentorship, Being a female in sport, Physical Empowerment, Leadership, Communication, Addressing gender issues and influencing change, Bullying, Public Speaking, Women Behind the Whistle (multi-sport referee panel)

Thank you to the event sponsors for supporting the conference:

90 + participants attended the 2018 conference from 24 communities across the province and Ft. St John and Vancouver, BC.

Alberta Soccer offered  the one-day Women in Soccer Conference program in two locations:

  1. Calgary – April 14, 2018 (Mt. Royal University)
  2. Leduc – April 15, 2018 (Best Western Premier Denham Inn & Suites)/ Leduc Recreation Centre)

This event featured top-notch leadership, coaching, and referee development sessions designed to empower and inspire female leaders.

  • Keynote speech and custom coaching session We were thrilled to welcome keynote speaker, Andrea Neil to the conference. Andrea is a former Canadian Women’s National Team Player, Canada Sports Hall of Fame inductee, and USSF National ‘B’ Licensed and UEFA ‘A’ Licensed coach. Andrea also lead a custom  coaching session for participants. She is both a highly skilled coach and passionate leader on the topic of sport and its role in character development among girls and women.
  • Female Initiated Referee Strategies and Techniques (F.I.R.S.T.) – Practical game management techniques were taught by experienced female instructors (North: Melissa Sargent, Jaimelia Turner and South: Laurie Darvill, Anne McAlduff)
  • Intercultural Communication Skills Training – In this custom session,  participants learned to build awareness about cultural values and biases and strategies they can integrate  when coaching, officiating, playing, or other roles to combat them in their daily life; led by  Stacey Busse, Bow Valley College School of Global Access, who has 15 years’ experience facilitating these workshops.
  • NCCP Mentorship Module – This training reaffirmed and strengthened the abilities and skills of a mentor, while expanding upon the mentor’s knowledge of the mentorship process, led by CAL Facilitator: Jim Loughlin, LED Facilitator: Jackie Cool, NCCP Master Coach Developers
  • CAAWS combined Leading with Confidence/Women on Boards Workshop – This engaging workshop showed participants how to strengthen their leadership skills and provided information about what being on a board looks like and the positive impact they can make on one; led by CAL Facilitator, Lea Wiens, Sport for Life Consultant with 20+ years’ experience and LED Facilitator, Karen Melnyk, who has 25+ years’ experience in leadership training

Click here for more details on each of these sessions

The 2017 Women in Soccer was held in Red Deer on May 5-7, 2017. 

The soccer community needs more strong, skilled women in leadership roles – and this unique conference was created with that in mind!

It offered networking opportunities, new certification and development  opportunities for coaches and referees and leadership workshops. This year, we lined up a passionate and inspiring group of facilitators to lead the sessions, including:

  • Keynote: Lorraine Lafreniere, Chief Executive Officer, Coaching Association of Canada
  • Bev Preistman, the Womens’ EXCEL Director for Canada Soccer 14-U17, Head Coach U17 team
  • Carmelina Moscato, who has played with the Canadian Women’s National soccer team since 2002 and won the bronze medal with the team at the London 2012 Olympic games. She is also currently an assistant coach with the Canada Soccer Women’s EXCEL U15 and U17 teams.
  • Chantal Boudreau, a referee whose journey from an entry level referee to FIFA Assistant Referee only took her five years (of hard work and commitment!).
  • Sheena Dickson,  FIFA Referee from Alberta
  • Dr. Cari Din, a dynamic leadership expert and Olympic medalist

The 2016 Women in Soccer Conference was held on April 9th, 2016 in Calgary. Over 30 women attended the conference and attended the CAAWS Work-Life Balance Workshop and one of:

  • FIRST Referee Session
  • Coach/Player Panel
  • CAAWS Networking Session

The 2015 Women in Soccer Conference was held on June 6th and 7th, 2015 in Edmonton. Over 40 women attended the conference and registered in one of:

  • FUNdamentals Coaching Course
  • Entry Level Referee Course
  • CAAWS Leadership Workshops

Speakers included Vicki Harber from Canadian Sport for Life, Karin Lofstrom, Executive Director of CAAWS and Mayi Cruz Blanco, the Women’s Football Development Manager for FIFA. Participants also received tickets for the record setting opening matches of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015.

“Discrimination still an issue in Women’s Football” (Al Jazeera)