Women in Soccer
Inspire Generations: Play, Coach, Lead
Did You Know?
- Women make up less than 30% of Coaching Course Registrants at all levels of coaching in Alberta
- Females make up only 27% of Registered Referees in the province
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.
2019 Women in Sport Conference
The 2019 Women in Sport Conference was held in Red Deer, AB, with 60 women from around the Province (and beyond) attending.
This event marked the first year the conference featured speakers and guests from multiple sports, including hockey, basketball, swimming, 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.
“There is something very powerful that happens when you bring a group of women together and provide a platform to explore their journeys…The Women in Sport conference provided this opportunity for females in Alberta to share their journeys at different stages of life. The opportunity to collaborate with other woman through their own triumphs and defeats, allowing us to gain courage, strength and confidence by each experience we observe,” shared Jacquie Hertlein, Development of Women in Soccer Committee Member and Executive Director of Calgary Women’s Soccer Association.
The conference, a coordinated effort between Alberta Soccer and Hockey Alberta, offered keynote speeches, workshops, and panel discussions on a variety of topics, including:
- Being a female in sport
- Physical Empowerment
- Addressing gender issues and influencing change
- Public Speaking
- Women Behind the Whistle (multisport referee panel)
Quotes from the weekend
“Thank you to you and your staff for creating a top-class event. PSOs can take a page out of your book for not only the event itself but the merging of forces with Hockey Alberta. This event proved that as women, we all need that supportive community to connect with!”
– Carmelina Moscato, Olympic bronze medalist and three-time FIFA Women’s World Cup Team member
“Having time to speak with each panel member separately following their stage Q&A was great and allowed for time to ask many questions in a personal/social environment. Loved it!”
– 2019 Conference participant
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:
- Calgary – April 14, 2018 (Mt. Royal University)
- 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
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)
Honourary Members of the Women’s Committee
Erin McLeod (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. Growing up in Alberta all of my coaches were male and naturally I started to trust men more in the soccer world. 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. With all of the women’s national team successes it proves we are capable of not only setting a standard domestically but internationally. Girls that have strong female role models, and coaches, opens their eyes to possibility; they can play professionally, or like previous FIFA coach of the year, Swedish Pia Sundhage, they can lead a team to a gold medal.”
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. “After each game, I want to be able to say: I gave it all I could, I gave it my best – unknown”
The Alberta Soccer Development of Women in Soccer Committee was established in December 2012 and currently consists of 8 talented, diverse and passionate female members from across the province. These women represent every facet of soccer including coaches, referees, players, administrators and parents:
Mary Jo Spence – Chair
ASA BOD Liaison
ASA Staff Support
“Coaching is both demanding and rewarding. An enormous amount of time and energy is committed to studying the game, preparing the athletes, coaching in the competitions and mentoring the participants in sport and life.
Likewise, coaching affords the honour of seeing children and youth develop courage, confidence and competence through sport. Boys and girls are better served by having men and women as their coaches. Yet, while there are many women coaches at the grassroots level, that number decreases as the level of knowledge, competition and commitment increases. We must all work to reduce barriers and increase opportunities for women to coach, referee and lead as they have much to offer our communities.”
Dr. Mary Dyck, Past Chair, DWSC Leadership Subcommittee