(January 24, 2016)

The Alberta Soccer Association held their Annual General Meeting on January 23rd at the Delta Edmonton South Hotel and welcomed their 23 District Members, and three Associate Members to discuss key issues facing the sport and hold elections for the Board of Directors.
Elections for four positions were held including the Vice-President, Director of Finance, Rural Director at Large, and Director at Large. The Alberta Soccer Association thanks all candidate who ran for positions indicating their commitment and motivation to better the sport in Alberta. Alberta Soccer would like to thank outgoing Board Members Ted Yoo, Malcolm Pritchard and Rob Ziccarelli for their service on the Board. We welcome new Board Members Wayne Dosman (Director of Finance), Jeannie Hawksworth (Rural Director), and Kathryn McNeil (Director at Large). Sherri Thorsen remains on the Board of Directors but moves into the position of Vice President.
Annual Awards Banquet recognizes accomplishments in 2015 and beyond.
The Delta Edmonton South was the venue for Alberta Soccer’s Annual Awards Banquet this past weekend which honoured achievements in 2015 and long-term contributions to soccer in Alberta. Donovan Workun and Graham Neil, creators of the Power of Yes workshops and comedy improv experts hosted the event and provided the keynote speech to much laughter and enjoyment from the crowd. Don Story provided opening remarks on behalf of the Canadian Soccer Association who delivered a message meant to inspire the more than 200 guests in attendance to better the game in Canada.

Awards handed out during the evening were as follows:

Life Members: Brent and Nancy Thorburn
(Taken from the Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame) Since coming to Lethbridge in 1974, Brent and Nancy Thorburn were instrumental in turning soccer into a thriving sport in this city. Through their tireless efforts on and off the field the Lethbridge Soccer Association became one of the most respected soccer organizations in the province. The Thorburn’s not only contributed their administrative skills but also served as coaches, producing championships and developing the skills of countless players who went on to play in the college and university ranks. Brent became President of the Lethbridge Soccer Association in 1982 after serving on the board for three years. As President, he helped bring about new facilities for the sport in Lethbridge, including the indoor soccer facility. In 1993 Brent was elected President of the Alberta Soccer Association. Nancy worked for several years as the manager of the Lethbridge Soccer Association, running a sports program that served over 1,500 participants annually. She was also one of a handful of coaches in the province to hold a C license. Brent and Nancy built the Chargers Soccer Club into one of the most formidable teams in the province. In all, the Thorburn’s guided teams to 11 provincial titles, 5 silver medals at nationals, a bronze medal at nationals and a Western Canadian Championship.

Golden Shoe (Youth Team of the Year) – Calgary Foothills 01 Girls
The Calgary Foothills 01 girls’ soccer team, characterized as a strong team unit and driven by hard work, physical strength, and mental focus achieved impressive results in 2015.  Together, the players took each practice, game, and tournament one step at a time, and kept their focus on their objective.  In March, they participated in a higher age group in the Kelowna Ice Breaker tournament, going undefeated, and brought home gold.  In May, they participated in the Toronto Umbro Top Rated Showcase Tournament, again going undefeated.  They continued on with the outdoor league in Calgary Minor Soccer, winning the Tier 1 division, and again remaining undefeated.  At the Alberta Soccer Tier I to Nationals, the team earned a gold medal, and qualified for the Sport Check National Championships in the U14 age group. There, the team went undefeated, including an impressive statistic of no goals against to become National Champions.  This team’s determination and dedication sets them up for a bright future ahead and we are excited to watch!

Golden Shoe (Senior Team of the Year) – Edmonton Victoria Women
The Edmonton Victoria Women had another incredibly successive season highlighted by their third consecutive national championship title in October. The “three-peat” at the national level has never been achieved by an Alberta team and was only last achieved from 1991-1993 by the Surrey Marlins. The team finished second in the Alberta Major Soccer League despite missing several key players for long stretches but captured the Provincial title in both indoor and outdoor. This team continues to write history and prove themselves a clear choice for Senior Team of the Year.

Woman of Distinction Award – Melody Martyn
When you look at Melody Martyn’s resume, it resembles what we see so often from so many of our members involved in the soccer community. She has always been a valuable volunteer, was active in her kid’s soccer endeavours, she coached, she managed and most of all has been a passionate fan of the game. Melody has been a constant presence on the fields and in the boardrooms throughout Alberta and her ability to think outside of the box and pursue innovation in a sport characterized by tradition has inspired so many other females looking to lead in the soccer community. Melody has been part of the St. Albert Soccer Association for 17 years now, most recently as the Executive Director. Anyone you talk to from the Association will perk up with nothing but accolades for Melody upon mention of her name. In addition to her work at SASA, Melody was a dedicated employee of the FIFA U-20 Men’s World Cup local organizing committee in Edmonton. She also spent time working as an administrator at Edmonton’s largest youth organization, the Edmonton Minor Soccer Association. Melody is the first administrator to win this award.

Silver Badge Award – Kurtis Nozack
Kurtis Nozack is one of the top up and coming officials in the province of Alberta. As well as managing his own referee career, Kurtis has volunteered many hours to helping other officials achieve their goals, by leading fitness sessions in the Advanced Referee Development group. Kurtis also participated as an onfield assistant instructor in several Alberta Soccer referee courses for new referees. Somehow, while helping others, Kurtis also managed to achieve an outstanding 2015 in his own referee career.
Highlights from 2015 included:
Appointed to AMSL list of referees, completing his first men’s referee assignment in that division.
Appointed to EDSA Major/Premier list of indoor referees for 2015-16
Appointed as assistant referee at ACAC Men’s Provincial Championship in Fort McMurray.
Appointed as referee in the U18 Girls final at Youth Tier 1 provincials in Calgary
Appointed as 4th official in the U18 Boys final at youth Tier 1 provincials in Calgary
Appointed as assistant referee in the Men’s Challenge Cup final at Senior PROVINCIALS in Calgary
Appointed as assistant referee in the Men’s Challenge Cup final at Senior NATIONALS in Calgary
Received honorable mention at Senior Nationals from CSA national assessors as the outstanding Alberta official in the competition.

Golden Whistle Award – Lorne Soles
Lorne Soles started refereeing at 17 years old in BC. He moved to Edmonton in 1981 and achieved nomination to the CSA National List of referees ten years later. Lorne was retained on the national list for 12 years. He has worked many National competitions from coast to coast – youth and senior club championships, CIS, Canada Summer Games, which included being appointed to several finals along the way. He served as a referee instructor for Alberta Soccer for six years in the mid 1990’s and qualified as a provincial assessor in 2003 (still active). More recently, Lorne served on the Alberta Soccer Referee Development Committee for four years (2011-2014) as the North Assessment Chair. Lorne has maintained a leadership role in the local refereeing communities he has been a part of. He participated as a mentor in the Edmonton Referees Association mentorship program from 2003-2006 and was inducted as a Life Member in the Association in 2006. Lorne is currently providing leadership and mentoring in the St. Albert referee mentor program.

Physical Literacy Coach of the Year – Wayne Cleverly
Wayne Cleverly joined the Calgary Foothills Soccer Club in 2012 to help build the club’s grassroots program which at the time had 150 to 200 U6-U8 players. By the summer of 2015, the club’s grassroots program had grown to about 1500 players and partnered with new communities in the Calgary area. What makes Wayne deserving of this award however, is his drive to further his knowledge on the grassroots game to provide the best environment for grassroots players to learn. He has achieved Level 1, 2 and 3 of the FA’s Youth Module Award while also completing Alberta Soccer’s Learning Facilitator program. Wayne has been keen to ensure that Foothills implements LTPD supported programming like the preferred training model in their grassroots program and has been recognized by colleagues, coaches and parents alike for his achievements and innovation.

Bert Goldberger Technical Leader Award – Jorge Rodriguez

After a very successful youth and senior playing career that included playing as a professional in Chile and concluding locally with the Edmonton Brickmen, Jorge has worked tirelessly as technical leader for soccer in Alberta since the early 1990’s.   Jorge’s professional development as a coach includes not only CSA NCCP certifications but also unique training in Scotland, Brazil, Argentina, and the USA.  Jorge is currently the Technical lead for the Edmonton Minor Soccer Association (EMSA) and also Edmonton SW Sting Soccer Club, which he has helped grow to one of the largest youth soccer clubs in Edmonton.  Previously Jorge coached at the Alberta Summer games competitions, ASA provincial teams, AMSL Green & Gold Club, and was an Assistant Coach with the Edmonton Aviators, to name a few.  Despite all these high end athlete technical leading roles, his greatest legacy will be the thousands of average local soccer youth he has influenced over the last 25 years with his skill, enthusiasm, positivity, and love for the game.

Alberta Soccer Award of Merit – Alan Johnston, George Al-Haddad, Terry Boase and Peter Cade
Alan Johnston (Nominated by St. Albert Soccer Association)
Alan is currently the volunteer District Referee Assistant for the St. Albert Soccer Association.  He has been a referee in St. Albert’s programs for many years, and while his kids were growing up – he was also a favourite coaches in St. Albert’s community league.   Always reasonable, kind, helpful & inspired the kids to do well.   Alan has always come to St. Albert soccer with ideas to improve the programs.  He makes it his mission to investigate, not accuse, and always goes the extra mile when it comes to supporting the kids. In his brief time as a DRA, he has embraced his position.  He gets involved with Alberta Soccer referee meetings, EDSA referee meetings, talks to others who are in charge or mentor to see what tips he can pick up.    He’s assembled a pool of really friendly and kind senior referees to mentor the younger ones, he gets them meeting every month or two to discuss where they are at, whose on the list for needing help, whose ready for the next level, etc.  When Alberta Soccer offered a $1000 referee development grant – he created an even bigger program that helped a lot of kids.

George Al-Haddad (Nominated by Calgary Women’s Soccer Association)
George Al Haddad’s contributions to soccer have been numerous this past year both on the field and off. George is the head coach of the Calgary Villains Boys U14 Tier 1 in CMSA and helped coach the boys to great success this year including becoming 2014/15 Futsal City Champions with an undefeated season, 2015 Outdoor Boys U14 City Champions, 2015 Bronze medalists at the Servus Youth Provincial Championships Boys U14 Tier 1, and 2015 Boys U14 Bronze Fair Play. George is also the Technical Director and head coach for Calgary Rangers FC in CWSA. He brought great success to the club in 2015 including Women’s Open Division 5 Indoor Champions, and Gold Medalists at the 2015 Alberta Soccer Outdoor Provincial Championships Tier 2. In the summer of 2015 George helped organize and put together a team as head coach for the CWSA All Star game vs Calgary Foothills W League. He also found time on short notice to coach Calgary Foothills Women’s Major League as head coach for the 2015 Outdoor season. George has also put extensive effort into his off field work towards soccer increasing his technical knowledge and certifications by travelling to the U.S.A to take his NSCAA Advance National Diploma, and also earning his Provincial B coaching license in 2015. George also gave back to soccer on an advisory/administration level and in late 2015 successfully ran for Vice President of the CWSA following his one year term from 2014 being a Director at large with CWSA.

Terry Boase and Peter Cade (nominated by Red Deer City Soccer Association)
Terry Boase and Peter Cade moved to Canada from England in the early 1970’s and in their spare time they dedicated themselves to soccer and helping others in soccer. They travelled all over Western Canada with Red Deer travelling teams and both played well into their 40’s. As Terry and Peter got older they became more involved in coaching and helped with younger teams and competitive teams. They turned to refereeing and became Red Deer’s best referees, using their knowledge and skills to help mentor young referees. Peter founded the Central Alberta Referees Association and Terry took over when Peter fell ill. Terry and Peter were also both on the men’s league and RDCSA boards. Peter was stricken with cancer three years ago and Terry was by his side and held an awards night for Peter. One week later Terry found out that he had cancer. Peter passed away in September 2015 and Terry organized and spoke at his memorial. Just a few months later Terry became seriously ill and passed away in late November. The loss of these gentlemen is a huge one for soccer in Central Alberta. Many players and referees and the entire soccer community feels the loss of these best friends.

Shield of Merit – Barrie White
Barrie White is the founding father, and the current Chief Operating Officer of the Edmonton Interdistrict Youth Soccer Association (EIYSA). For over 25 years, Barrie has shown amazing dedication and commitment to youth soccer in the province of Alberta. Since EIYSA opened its doors, tens of thousands of boys and girls, aged 8 – 18 have been encouraged to hone their talent, and to develop stronger soccer expertise and important life skills. Barrie began coaching for the Sherwood Park District Soccer Association (SPDSA) in the late 1970’s. In 1982, Barrie formed an independent soccer club under the jurisdiction of SPDSA, called The Rangers. In 1987, after the Edmonton Minor Soccer Association withdrew temporarily from Alberta Soccer, Barrie requested, and received, permission to establish a competitive league for the elite soccer teams. This league was separate from the current association, which would then allow the players to advance to Provincials and Nationals. This competitive league was called the Edmonton Inter District Youth Soccer Association. It was comprised of elite Tier I and Tier II clubs from Edmonton, St. Albert and Sherwood Park. Among his contributions to EIYSA include adopting the game of Futsal, promoting and creating the Super Y-League program in Alberta, and developing the 7v7 game. Barrie has always felt that players need choices so he has personally taken on the responsibility of providing diversified programs to enhance the game of soccer in Alberta. His goal is to provide a platform for players to hone their talents and develop their skills so that they can achieve their goals and aspirations.

President’s Award – Pearl Doupe
When Pearl first started with the Calgary United Soccer Association as Executive Director in the Spring of 2001 it didn’t take long for her to establish a sense of trust with the Board Members. When fire destroyed the CUSA office at Broadview Park, Pearl showed amazing initiative by moving the CUSA office into her living room. This enabled league operations to continue smoothly while a new office was established. This past year, Pearl helped lead the local organizing committee that organized the Challenge and Jubilee Trophy National competitions in Calgary. The event received so many accolades from the teams, the coaching staff, other provicnial representatives and Canada Soccer recognized the local organizing committee an outstanding job hosting this event. Keen to listen to the needs of teams, Pearl ensures team or player concerns are heard and immediately addressed. She demonstrates clear reasoning and rationale behind decisions that are made, what avenues can be taken to see changes made in the future through the proper channels while maintaining transparent operations of the league. Pearl has volunteered for numerous boards and committees within the sport community in Calgary always looking to pursue innovation and best practice in sport. Pearl is the first woman to win the Alberta Soccer President’s Award.

AMSL Men’s Coach of the Year – Munib Koric (Calgary Villains Elite FC)

AMSL Women’s Coach of the Year – Raf Premji (Calgary Callies)

AMSL Men’s MVP – Marcel Galaszkiewicz (Calgary Villains Elite FC)

AMSL Women’s MVP – Heather Lund (Edmonton Victoria)

Photos from the event are posted to our Flickr account