At the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Members in Québec City, Canada Soccer’s membership unanimously supported a suite of programs and initiatives that contribute to safe, fun and welcoming environments for everyone involved in the game.
The Canada Soccer Safe Sport Roster combines the benefits of mandatory certification for all coaches, a sophisticated Club Licensing Program, National Soccer Registry, Whistleblower Policy and Hotline, Code of Conduct and Ethics, and concussion protocols to create the best possible conditions for players, coaches, referees and administrators.
“The Canada Soccer Safe Sport Roster represents the continuation of a long-term commitment to making our sport as safe and enjoyable as we possibly can for all our participants,” said Canada Soccer President Steven Reed. “We’re seeing an unprecedented movement in this country that’s affecting the entire sport system. For soccer, this is a good start, and we’re committed to working closely with our membership and all stakeholders to deliver on all the components of the Safe Sport Roster.”
At the heart of the Canada Soccer Safe Sport Roster are mandatory certification requirements for every coach in the country. These include training appropriate for the age and stage of the players, specified courses offered through the Coaching Association of Canada’s National Coaching Certification Program, online Respect in Sport training, and adopting the requirements of the Responsible Coaching Movement.
“This is a strong signal from the country’s soccer leaders that the safety, enjoyment and development of our athletes is paramount,” said Peter Montopoli, Canada Soccer General Secretary. “It recognizes that there is more that needs to be done to ensure safe sport experiences for all participants, no matter the age, level of play or community. Making sport safer is more than just the right thing to do, it’s the only thing to do.”
“Minimum standards for coach training are absolutely essential to creating a safe environment for players,” said Jason deVos, Canada Soccer’s Director of Development. “We have a responsibility to ensure that investments are made by all member associations to help our coaches achieve those standards.”
Other initiatives include an expanded Club Licensing Program that provides a set of minimum standards for soccer experiences everywhere in the country, an education program to address abuse of referees, and a National Soccer Registry to track data related to player registration, development and safety.
Player safety is being further enhanced through nationwide implementation of concussion protocols.
“From my perspective as a pediatric neurologist, soccer in Canada has never been safer,” said Dr. Kevin Gordon, Member of Canada Soccer’s Sport Medicine Committee and a leading child neurologist. “Canada Soccer has put in place the gold standard for concussion protocols to prevent head injuries and to manage them as effectively as we can when they do occur.”
In addition to working with all member associations, Canada Soccer is committed to collaborating with other leading National and Multi-Sport Organizations towards making the entire sport system safer for all participants.
Additional information about the Safe Sport Roster is provided in the Backgrounder.