Bettez, SheKicks Campaign nominated for FISU Awards

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March 29, 2013, Ottawa (CIS) – Canadian Interuniversity Sport announced two nominations on Thursday for the third annual FISU Gender Equality – Sport Awards.

As the Canadian representative of the International University Sports Federation, CIS has put forward Ann-Sophie Bettez, a McGill University graduate and former CIS female athlete of the year, up for best individual female university athlete, as well as the University of Victoria’s SheKicks Campaign, nominated in the special projects category.

The awards – accompanied by a grant of 6,000 euros – will be presented at the FISU General Assembly during the 2013 Summer Universiade set for July 6 to 17 in Kazan, Russia.

Bettez, a native of Sept-Iles, Que., played five seasons with McGill from 2007-08 to 2011-12. The record-setting forward helped the Martlets claim a CIS medal in each of her five campaigns with the team, including national titles in 2008, 2009 and 2011. Over her illustrious university career, she was named CIS rookie of the year, was a five-time all-Canadian, was voted CIS player of the year in her final season, and went on to capture the prestigious BLG Award as the top female athlete in CIS – all sports combined – in 2011-12.

Bettez earned two academic degrees from McGill, graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce in 2011 followed by a Certificate in Public Relations in 2012. She remains involved with the Martlets as a special skills coach and currently plays for the Montreal Stars of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. A former member of the national under-22 team, she guided Canada to FISU gold at the 2011 Winter Universiade in Erzurum, Turkey.

“Ann-Sophie’s growth and development as a player, student and person has been incredible,” says McGill head coach Peter Smith, who served seven years with the national women’s program and was an assistant coach on the squad that won Olympic gold in 2010. “She is a coach’s dream — she was one of the hardest workers on a team full of hard workers and I hold her work ethic up as the standard for the young players on our team to strive for.”

The SheKicks Campaign, launched to increase the participation of women in soccer, was an initiative designed to act as a legacy project of the University of Victoria Vikes, hosts of the 2012 CIS women’s soccer championship. The campaign consists of three components: SheCoaches, SheReferees and SheLeads.

While using the UVic women’s program as a model of female success in university sport, SheKicks targets women and girls in the soccer community with the overall goal being to promote the involvement of women at all stages and all levels of the game, and increase the participation of women in coaching and refereeing.

At present, 27 members of the Vikes are becoming certified coaches in the Canadian Soccer Association’s Learning to Train program. Additionally, SheKicks is in contact with soccer associations around Greater Victoria in hopes of initiating a coaching mentorship program for the 2013-14 season.

“I’m really pleased that the program has been a success so far,” said Tracy David, head coach of the UVic women’s soccer team. “With an event like the FIFA Women’s World Cup coming to Canada in 2015 we feel that we’re just scratching the tip of the iceberg and we’re excited to think about where the program can go.”

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