Canada Soccer Celebrates International Women’s Day 2023

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is a global day to recognize, honour and celebrate the important and inspiring achievements of women. From our Women’s National Team qualifying and preparing for this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, to winning an historic gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, to women making up 46% of Canada Soccer’s Board of Directors, to continuing to make tremendous advancement in women’s programs for coaches and referees, it is an important moment for all the incredible ground-breaking women who are a part of Canadian Soccer.

“We celebrate International Women’s Day 2023 and there’s never been a more important time to push for gender equity,” said Charmaine Crooks, Canada Soccer Acting President. “I would like to encourage other women to step into leadership roles — the more of us there are, the more we can impact the future of our sport. Canada Soccer, alongside our partners, is actively building a better pathway for women. We are committed to building a culture that fully embraces fair and equitable solutions from the grassroots level through to our National Teams. We look forward to this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup and the opportunity to witness even more inspiring moments that will forever impact the future champions of our sport.”

To learn more about International Women’s Day 2023, visit

FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™
Canada will face Nigeria (21 July), Republic of Ireland (26 July) and Australia (31 July) in Group B play at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™. This will mark Canada’s eighth consecutive participation at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the world’s largest single-sport, women’s sporting event which expands to 32 nations in 2023.

Investment in the Growth of the Women’s Game
Canada Soccer is continuing to make tremendous advancement in women’s programs for coaches and referees.

Canada Soccer has launched a referee development program, exclusively for female referees, with an objective to prepare referees for women’s professional soccer, expected to launch in Canada in 2025. It is led by National instructors, coaches and assessors, bringing the referees into a concentrated learning environment led by women. 30 referees from across Canada were accepted into the program in 2023.

Modeled after the highly successful Canada Soccer NextGen Program that has produced a number of National and FIFA officials since its inception in 2018, the female-specific program is expected to produce similar results.

In 2023, Canada Soccer Referees, Marie-Soleil Beaudoin, Chantal Boudreau, Myriam Marcotte, and Carol-Anne Chenard were four of five Canadian Referees selected as match officials for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia/New Zealand 2023™.

Additionally, Canada Soccer is excited to launch She CAN Coach nationwide later this year. She CAN Coach is a female coach recruitment, development, and training program with the goal of increasing the number of women and girls participating in soccer.  

Female coaches play a critical role in creating a welcoming and safe environment for girls in sport. She CAN Coach will support and advance gender equity in sport by reducing barriers of entry for women to coach. Participating coaches will be part of a national support network, receive funding for coach certification and learn from leaders in Canadian soccer.

Phase one of She CAN Coach will launch later this year. For additional information please contact Sara McConaghy Manager, Development Programming via [email protected].

To further mark International Women’s Day, Canada Soccer wishes to celebrate and highlight five trailblazing women in leadership roles within the organisation.

Charmaine Crooks, President
Order of Canada member, five-time Olympian and Los Angeles 1984 silver medalist, President Charmaine Crooks was elevated from Vice-President to Canada Soccer’s acting President on 1 March 2023, making her the first woman and the first person of colour to lead Canada Soccer.

Kelly Brown, Vice-President
Kelly Brown, Executive Vice-President of People, Legal and Corporate Affairs at Arterra Wines Canada became Canada Soccer’s acting Vice-President on 1 March 2023. An experienced business leader, Brown is also a trained lawyer, and was previously the Chief People, Legal and Corporate Affairs Officer at Molson Coors Canada. Brown was elected a Canada Soccer Independent Director in 2020.

Bev Priestman, Women’s National Team Head Coach
Bev Priestman, Head Coach of Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team since 1 November 2020 and led Canada Soccer to its first-ever Olympic Games Gold medal in Tokyo 2020. Named IFFHS Women’s World Best National Coach in 2021 and two-time nominee for The Best FIFA Women’s Coach, Priestman has coached Canada’s U-17 and U-20 women’s squads and was Assistant Coach for Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team under Head Coach John Herdman. This past year, Priestman helped Canada qualify for their eighth consecutive FIFA Women’s World Cup since 1995 and then won their 10th consecutive Concacaf medal since 2002.

Jessie Daly, Director of Competitions and Events
As the Director of Competitions and Events, Daly is responsible for the Events Management Unit staging of international matches, the Canadian Championships, the National Soccer and Futsal Championships; sanctioning of international matches; approving competition specific regulations, overseeing administrative policies and procedures, and logistics services in order to ensure effective and efficient event operations across all events. Embracing the ability to grow female forwards teams, Daly’s department working with the National Teams professional game and National Championships is 80% female.

Sara McConaghy, Manager of Development Programming
As the Manager of Development Programming, McConaghy is responsible for working with member associations to create programs for equity-deserving groups including but not limited to women and girls, racialized persons, persons living with a disability, indigenous communities, and new Canadians. McConaghy also works on strengthening retention among current participants, broadening diversity through representation at all levels, and fostering greater understanding and awareness of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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