IMG_5922(May 10, 2017) – This past weekend saw women from across the province – and country – gathering in pursuit of honing and developing their leadership abilities.

The conference in Red Deer marked the 3rd year Alberta Soccer’s Development of Women in Soccer Committee has run the event. To kick the weekend off, Red Deer North MLA, Kim Schreiner, announced that Alberta Soccer was among one of the first recipients of the Alberta Status of Women Grant – providing the conference with $15,000 in financial support.

This generous grant, combined with the CAAWS WISE Fund grant, and support from FC Edmonton and Hotels Red Deer, helped make the Women in Soccer Conference both possible and accessible to those who wished to attend.

Val Close, who pioneered the Development of Women in Soccer Committee and sat as the first chair of the committee in 2012, attended this year’s event, saying, “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Development of Women in Soccer conference; the sessions I attended being top quality. I applaud the organizing committee for their dedication to the mandate and vision set forth in the DWS committee inception in 2012. Seeing so many young women in attendance, one with baby in tow, fulfills a mandate set forth at the inception of the committee, “to remove barriers (such as childcare) to allow women to attend any and all events and activities.”

Attendees of the conference participated in one of three primary areas of focus: officiating, coaching, or leadership. Many of the women walked away from the weekend having earned their referee or coach certification – enabling them to hit the ground running when they return to their soccer communities this week.

For the others, the conference offered opportunities to participate in developmental courses, while also taking part in workshops and panel sessions with an impressive line-up of facilitators, including:

  • Lorraine Lafreniere, CEO, Coaching Association of Canada
  • Cari Din, CAAWS leadership expert and Olympic medalist
  • Bev Priestman, Women’s EXCEL Director for Canada Soccer 14-U17 and Head Coach of U17 Team
  • Carmelina Moscato, Olympic medalist with Canadian Women’s National Team and Assistant Coach of Women’s Excel U15-17 Teams
  • Sheena Dickson, FIFA referee
  • Chantal Boudreau, FIFA assistant referee
  • Samantha Chang-Foidl, Canadian National B Trained Coach, Alberta Soccer Provincial Coach
  • Melissa Sargent, Alberta Soccer Referee Instructor and Assessor
  • Jim Loughlin, Master Learning Facilitator and Educator, Alberta Soccer Manager of Coach Education
  • Mary Dyck, University of Lethbridge Instructor, Alberta Soccer Learning Facilitator

This group of women both inspired and equipped conference attendees – bestowing a wealth of knowledge, experience, and tools on the women in attendance.

“Having more women in leadership roles – whether they be administrative, in the boardroom, or on the field – sends a positive message to everyone that success is available to all,” said Alberta Soccer Executive Director, Richard Adams. “Ultimately, retention and growth in the number of women in all areas will deepen the talent pool and strengthen our sport.”

To see some pictures from the weekend, check out the conference photo album

For any questions or comments on the Women in Soccer conference, please contact Carmen, ASA Programs Coordinator, or Tiana, ASA Communications Coordinator