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Olympian Charmaine Crooks named acting President of Canada Soccer

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Canada Soccer Vice-President Charmaine Crooks has taken on the role of acting President just days after Nick Bontis resigned from the position amid internal and external pressure.

Crooks is an Order of Canada member and five-time Olympian and Los Angeles silver medalist. She is the first woman and first person of colour to hold Canada Soccer‘s top spot after serving as VP for two years.

“The job ahead for our organizations, our sport, and for the players who wear our Canadian jersey, is as important to me as any race I’ve competed in,” said Crooks, in a Canada Soccer statement Wednesday. “I know and understand the calls to get this right, and I am certain that we will be able to deliver real progress for our National Teams all the way on down to our grassroots.

“I want to thank the members of the Board for their support and I am fully committed to listening, learning and building relationships and trust across the entire soccer ecosystem in Canada.”

Kelly Brown takes on the position of acting Vice-President.

Full Canada Soccer statement

Canada Soccer’s Board of Directors have filled its top two positions with two national sport and business leaders. Charmaine Crooks becomes the new acting President, while Kelly Brown takes on the position of acting Vice-President.

Order of Canada member, five-time Olympian and Los Angeles 1984 silver medalist, Charmaine Crooks has been elevated from Vice-President to Canada Soccer’s acting President. Crooks becomes the first woman and the first person of colour to lead Canada Soccer after serving as Vice-President for two years.

Crooks has previously served as a Board Director with the Canadian Olympic Committee and was a member of the IOC Athletes Commission. She has served as Head of Delegation with the Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team, and currently serves on the Organising Committee for FIFA Competitions. Crooks also holds several high profile roles in the public and private business sectors.

“The job ahead for our organisations, our sport, and for the players who wear our Canadian jersey, is as important to me as any race I’ve competed in,” said Charmaine Crooks, acting President of Canada Soccer. “I know and understand the calls to get this right, and I am certain that we will be able to deliver real progress for our National Teams all the way on down to our grassroots. I want to thank the members of the Board for their support and I am fully committed to listening, learning and building relationships and trust across the entire soccer ecosystem in Canada.”

Kelly Brown, Executive Vice-President of People, Legal and Corporate Affairs at Arterra Wines Canada becomes Canada Soccer’s new acting Vice-President. 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.

“To be able to represent our country, our national programs, and our entire membership at this level — and at this time — is an absolute privilege,” said Kelly Brown, acting Vice-President at Canada Soccer. “I care deeply about growing our sport in Canada and helping our athletes reach their fullest potential – on and off the pitch.  We have substantial and meaningful work ahead of us, and the decisions made in the coming months, will chart our path for the future.”

Crooks and Brown are two of six female board members — representing 46% of its entire Board.

“On behalf of our entire Canada Soccer staff and family, I want to congratulate Charmaine and Kelly on their new roles and responsibilities,” said Earl Cochrane, General Secretary at Canada Soccer. “I look forward to being a partner to them both, and the rest of the Board, as we continue pushing our organisations and our programs forward.”

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About Author

Photographer and Writer | Stuart Gradon is soccer journalist and web communications professional. He covers Cavalry FC of the Canadian Premier League and Canada's national teams. He has also worked on assignment at FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 and FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010.

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