Canada Soccer announces new Legacy Fund leadership

John Montalbano will chair the newly-formed philanthropic arm; Sara McConaghy becomes new staff lead

Canada Soccer announced today its new chair of the recently-created Canada Soccer Legacy Fund. John Montalbano, the former CEO of RBC Global Asset Management, will lead the new internal philanthropic fund aimed to raise funds primarily focusing on grassroots, youth development initiatives and programming for marginalized and underrepresented groups.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to welcome John and thank him for helping to lead this new internal initiative. John is a recognized Canadian business and philanthropic leader and his tremendous volunteer commitment to our Canada Soccer Legacy Fund will surely be a historic game-changer for so many in our sport both on and off the field.” – Charmaine Crooks, President, Canada Soccer

Montalbano currently serves as Director and Audit Chair for the following organizations: Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, AbCellera Inc. (NASDAQ), and Eupraxia Pharmaceuticals (TSX). He also serves as Director for Aritzia Inc., is Lead Director of Nicola Wealth and Chairs White Crane Capital, a Vancouver-based hedge fund. John is a director and advisor to many early-stage companies in BC, including Canalyst Financial Modeling which was recently acquired by a New York based “fintech”.

“Coming from an underprivileged background, having access to community soccer, provided me life changing experiences and positive lessons. My coaches were role models, whom I continue to thank many years later, for their mentorship and encouragement. This new role allows me an opportunity to further ‘pay it forward’ in honour of those who supported me at such a critical time in my life.” – John Montalbano, Chair of the Canada Soccer Legacy Fund

The Canada Soccer Legacy Fund will play an important role in bringing the game of soccer to more Canadians by supporting the player pathway, grassroots and development programming such as:

  • Removing barriers to entry through programming for underrepresented and marginalized groups;
  • Supporting our girls and boys National Youth Team programs; and,
  • Enhancing opportunities for coaches, referees, and emerging leaders, who all play an important role in the delivery of our sport.

John Montalbano

In 2015, Montalbano retired as CEO of RBC Global Asset Management, at which point the company managed $370 billion in assets, placing it among the 50 largest asset managers worldwide. John’s past volunteer roles also include Chair of the UBC Board of Governors, Chair of St. Paul’s Foundation, Chair of The Vancouver Police Foundation, co-Founder of Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation and Chair of the Vancouver Public Library Capital Campaign. He serves as a Director for the Gairdner Foundation, Rideau Hall Foundation, and Windmill Microlending.

Montalbano holds a Chartered Financial Analyst designation, a Bachelor of Commerce degree with Honors from the University of British Columbia, and an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

Sara McConaghy
Canada Soccer has also named Sara McConaghy as its new Director of Community and Fund Development, who will be the staff lead for Canada Soccer’s Legacy Fund.

“With a wealth of experience in community engagement, fundraising, and leading impactful initiatives, Sara brings dynamic energy and innovative ideas to our organization. We look forward to having Sara lead our important Legacy Fund initiatives.” – Jason deVos, interim General Secretary, Canada Soccer

McConaghy’s career is characterized by a deep-rooted passion for bringing people together and creating positive change, including more than a decade of work at organizations like the March of Dimes Canada and the Canadian Cancer Society. McConaghy was the Executive Director at Guelph Soccer, prior to joining Canada Soccer. Her exceptional ability to forge meaningful connections and dedication to cultivating a more inclusive and vibrant soccer community aligns perfectly with Canada Soccer’s values.

“I am truly honoured to step into this new role with Canada Soccer, a sport that has the unifying force and power to transform lives and bring communities together. I am excited to collaborate with passionate individuals, organizations, and donors who share our vision of creating a lasting impact through the beautiful game.” ​ –Sara McConaghy, Director of Community and Fund Development

Anyone interested in the Legacy Fund program, can contact Sara McConaghy, Director, Community and Fund Development: