Canada Soccer Referee Carol Anne Chénard has retired from International duty after a storied career spanning more than fifteen years on both the Canada Soccer National List and the FIFA International List of Referees. Chénard was just the fourth Canadian referee to serve 15 or more years on the FIFA List of Referees and Assistant Referees.
“Carol Anne Chénard has long been at the pinnacle of international refereeing, breaking barriers over an impressive career that placed her as an inspiration for aspiring referees from coast-to-coast-to-coast,” said Steven Red, Canada Soccer President. “We are proud of and celebrate Carol Anne’s professional achievements and know that she will continue to be a leader for young referees in Canada and abroad.”
Chénard was most recently appointed to the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™, however, she was forced to withdraw after a breast cancer diagnosis. In light of the challenges facing international football due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the timing made sense for this decision.
“It’s time,” Chénard said. “While it might not be how I saw my on-field career ending, now’s the time given the limitations football is facing in light of the global pandemic.”
Since her first professional appointment in 2005, Chénard has been among an elite class of international referees earning appointments to all major international competitions in addition to France 2019. Chénard was appointed to the 2008 editions of the Concacaf Women’s Olympic Football Qualifying Tournament, the Concacaf Women’s Under-20 Championship, the Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Championship, and the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Chile 2008, where she was assigned to the Semi-Final.
From there, Chénard’s star rose gaining an appointment to the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Germany 2010, including the Final between Germany and Nigeria. She was appointed to the FIFA Women’s World Cup the following year where she was appointed to the Semi-Final match. In 2012, she was appointed to both the Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament, and the London 2012 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament.
An Algarve Cup Final appointment in 2013, was followed by a FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014 Final appointment on home soil in Montréal and FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ appointment. After being appointed to the Final of the 2016 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, a new challenge was met by Chénard as she was part of a cohort of elite female referees to earn appointment to the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017.
In 2018, Chénard was appointed to both the Concacaf Women’s Under-20 Championship and the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018™, which were her last major international tournament appointments before her appointment to France 2019.
However, Chénard continued to break barriers anchoring an all-female crew appointed to a Forge FC v Cavalry FC match during the Canadian Premier League’s inaugural 2019 season. “I consider myself a referee, not a female referee,” she said at the time.
While she plans for the next steps of her career, Chénard knows that the opportunities that face the next generation of Canadian referees are greater than ever. “Refereeing is a lot of hard work, a lot of the time is spent out of the spotlight, but the rewards and opportunities are worth it, but you have to stay humble,” she said. “You do the work, surround yourself with the right people and be ready to seize your opportunity.”