Board of Directors
|Charisse Bacchus||Paul-Claude Bérubé|
|Dale T. Briggs||Kelly Brown|
|Brian Burden||Charlie Cuzzetto|
|Stephanie J. Geosits||Dr. Karen MacNeill|
|Paul Martin||Bob Richardson|
|Don Story||Brittany Timko Baxter|
Board of Directors
DR. NICK BONTIS (President)
Dr. Nick Bontis was elected President of Canada Soccer in November 2020. He has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2012 and held several leadership positions including Vice President and Chair of the Strategic Management Committee. He has also served on the Performance Appraisal and Audit & Finance Committees, as well as the Concacaf Council.
In June 2018, Bontis successfully supported Canada Soccer’s bid in Moscow, Russia to host the FIFA World Cup 2026™ in collaboration with the USA and Mexico. As Chair of the Strategic Management Committee, Bontis was responsible for leading the formulation of three successive strategic plans for the periods (2014 – 2018), (2019 – 2021) and (2022 – 2026). The current strategic plan highlights Canada Soccer’s three main strategic pillars: DEVELOP + GOVERN + GROW.
Bontis served as co-chair of the Sport Organizing Committee for Men’s and Women’s Soccer at the 2015 Pan American Games which were hosted in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
As a player, Bontis was a Canada Soccer National Championships winner and multiple Ontario Cup winner. He played soccer competitively since childhood for a variety of premier clubs in Ontario (Scarborough Maple Leaf, Scarborough Azzurri, London City, London Portuguese, Dundas United, Hamilton Greek Olympic). He also played old-timers for Hamilton Proto Stars and Hamilton Schalke FC. He also played in a world youth tournament in Bremen, Germany in 1986.
As a varsity soccer player at Western University, Bontis was a multiple OUA West First Team All-Star, leading goal scorer and team MVP. His success led him to receive the Bronze W and the Purple Blanket Award as an outstanding dual athlete at Western University. He was a Canadian all-star and national silver medallist in the running long jump as a member of the Western varsity track & field team. In October 2018, Bontis was inducted into the Western Mustangs Sports Hall of Fame for his significant achievements in soccer and track & field.
Bontis was the head coach for the Hamilton Sparta 2003 boys soccer team. He has several years of coaching experience and has achieved several national coaching licenses (USSF National B, USSF National C, Ontario Provincial B, Ontario Pre B, Ontario Level 3, Ontario Respect in Sport, NCCP Making Ethical Decisions; NCCP Concussion: Making Head Way).
In December 2010 Bontis carried the Olympic Torch in downtown Hamilton while it was en route to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. In June 2015 Bontis carried the Pan American Games Torch in downtown Ancaster while it was en route to the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto.
Professor Bontis has served as the Chair of Strategic Management with tenure at the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University. He received his Ph.D. from the Ivey Business School at Western University. He was the first McMaster professor to win Outstanding Teacher of the Year and Faculty Researcher of the Year simultaneously. He is a 3M National Teaching Fellow, an exclusive honour only bestowed upon the top university professors in Canada. He has been recognized globally as a leading professional keynote speaker and management consultant who specializes in the fields of knowledge worker productivity, collaboration, and intellectual capital. He has over 40,000 academic citations amassed, more than 100 published peer-reviewed journal articles and over 12 teaching awards. Bontis resides in Ancaster, Ontario with his wife Stacy and their three children Charlie, Dino and Tia Maria.
CHARMAINE CROOKS (Vice President)
Charmaine Crooks was elected as Vice President of Canada Soccer in November 2020. Crooks, a Member of the Order of Canada (CM), is a five-time Olympian (Athletics), a former Member of the International Olympic Committee, an award-winning business leader, an entrepreneur, a corporate director (non-profit and public Boards), a technology advisor and a community sports leader.
Crooks is recognized as a values-based sports and athlete-focused advocate with over 25 years of expertise in local, national and global sports from grassroots, high performance, administration and governance levels. She is committed to supporting soccer excellence on and off the pitch as a member of the Canada Soccer Board of Directors since 2013-14. Crooks has served on several Canada Soccer committees, notably the Emergency, Strategic Planning and Risk Management Committees. She has served as Head of Delegation with Canada Soccer’s National Teams starting in 2014, notably the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014, the 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship, and the 2020 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Based in West Vancouver, she is the founder and President of NGU Consultants Inc. (since 1997), a global consultancy delivering strategic advisory, marketing and corporate development services to a variety of sectors including technology, health/wellness, sports and hospitality.
Charlie Cuzzetto has served on the Canada Soccer Board of Directors since 2009-10 in numerous capacities. Cuzzetto is a BC Soccer Life Member, having coached, played, and managed Vancouver Columbus FC. He served as Director (2004-2012) and President (2009-2012) of BC Soccer.
Cuzzetto has served as Head of Delegation with Canada Soccer’s National Teams, including men’s FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, the 2004 Concacaf Futsal Qualifiers, the 2012 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament, two Concacaf Beach Soccer Qualifiers, two FIFA youth tournaments, and one Concacaf youth tournament. He has served on FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee as well as Concacaf and Copa America’s Appeals Committees. He also officially participated in the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 and FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019. He has served on the FIFA Football Tribunal and has served as the Deputy Chair of the Concacaf Appeals Committee.
Cuzzetto has advocated for Futsal development since 1985, leading him to manage and coached in four Futsal World Championships in Spain, Australia, Italy, and Argentina. In 2017, he became the second inductee in Futsal Canada’s Hall of Fame.
Don Story has served on Canada Soccer’s Board of Directors since 2010-11. He has primarily operated as Chair of the Canada Soccer’s Governance Committee as well as Chair of Concacaf’s Governance Committee. Story managed DCS Consulting, a consulting business which provides support to non-profit and sport organizations that request assistance in dealing with their organizational/governance challenges.
Story has conducted assessments of the effectiveness and efficiencies of governing structures and processes, provided Board training, reviews and written by-laws and governance policy documents, and provided consultation on Board leadership and change management.
Story is a retired university professor, having served as a member of the University of Saskatchewan’s tenured faculty for 39 years. He has a PhD in Governance and Politics from the University of Toronto.
Brian Burden has served on Canada Soccer’s Board of Directors since 2012-13 and has been Chair of the Audit & Finance Committee and Chair of Risk Management. He is a dual citizen of both Canada and the United Kingdom and has been a senior corporate director with over 15 years of board experience in public, private and not-for-profit companies. He was Chief Financial Officer of a public company for eight years. Burden has worked in Canada, USA and Europe and has played a leading role in strategy, corporate development and capital allocation processes.
Burden has experience in raising bonds and equity in both US and Canadian markets and has been involved in several key mergers, acquisitions and divestitures. He attended the Director Education Program and has achieved the Institute of Corporate Director Accreditation (ICD.D).
He has background experience in several industries including consumer goods and energy.
Bob Richardson has served on Canada Soccer’s Board of Directors since 2013-14 and has been a member of the Audit & Finance and Risk Management committees. Richardson has also served as the Head of Delegation for Canada at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016 and the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019. He has extensive board experience having served on over ten university, college, public, private, government agency, and not-for-profit boards.
Richardson was the Executive Vice-President, Edelman Canada, Senior Vice-President Ipsos Reid, and Vice-President, the Angus Reid Group. He was also the co-founder of the Devon Group, where he built one of Ontario’s most respected government relations agencies. He has also served as Chief of Staff to the Leader of the Opposition, and various Ministers within the Ontario Government.
He has a passion for sport and served as Chief Operating Officer of Toronto’s 2008 Olympic bid as a leader of Toronto’s successful bid for the 2015 Pan American and Parapan Am Games. In addition to his role on the Canadian Soccer Association, he has been on the War Child Canada board and has served as Chair of the 111 Innovation Hub advisory board.
In recognition of his community service, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. Richardson speaks English and French and is a graduate of Carleton University.
Paul-Claude Bérubé has served on Canada Soccer’s Board of Directors since 2015-16. Originally from Trois-Pistoles, Québec, Bérubé earned a Bachelor of Law degree from Laval University in 1983 and became a member of the Québec Bar in 1984. Throughout his career, he has been very actively involved in the sport sector and social causes.
His various commitments have granted him the positions of Mayor of his municipality, Commissioner of the Regional School Board as well as Vice-President of the Regional Health Authority.
Recognised worldwide for his expertise in human rights, he has given seminars and conferences on five continents. His passion for human rights is matched only by his passion for soccer, which he played since he was a young boy. In 2002, he returned to his roots as President of the Club de soccer juvénile du Richelieu, then as Vice-President of competition for the Richelieu-Yamaska region before joining Soccer Québec in 2010.
A specialist in governance, he has written and rewritten the general regulations of many organisations and has given provided training sessions in this area. It is therefore not surprising to find him on Canada Soccer’s Governance Committee. He has also chaired the Risk Oversight Committee.
He has served as a member of the Arbitration Tribunal of the Québec Bar, the Appeals Committee of Soccer Québec, and the International Senior Lawyers Project in New York. He was also named an honorary member of the Port-au-Prince (Haiti) Bar in 2015.
He has been retained by the United Nations Human Rights Commission on more than one occasion. In 2019, he received two Honorary Doctorates in India for his sustained commitment to the rights of people with disabilities in that country. In August 2019, the Government of Canada appointed him to head a brand new federal agency, “Accessibility Standards Canada”, for a four-year mandate.
Along with all these national and international commitments, he has been actively involved in his community by teaching Introduction to Law at Marcellin-Champagnat High School in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Québec.
Kelly Brown has served as the Executive Vice President, People, Legal & Corporate Affairs for Arterra Wines, the leading wine producer in Canada. In her role, she was responsible for People and Culture, Legal, Risk Management, Government Relations and Communications. Brown also served as the Chair of Wine Growers Canada. Brown was the Chief People, Legal & Corporate Affairs Officer for Molson Coors Canada.
Brown received her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from McGill University and her law degree from Dalhousie University. Early in her career, Lexpert named her one of Canada’s “Top 40 Lawyers Under 40”. She was a finalist for Canadian General Counsel of the Year. She also went “undercover” for Molson on the popular television series “Undercover Boss Canada”.
A lifetime soccer player and coach, she is proud to have served on Canada Soccer’s Board of Directors since 2020-21. Originally from Montréal, she now lives in Toronto with her husband and her daughter.
STEPHANIE J. GEOSITS
An experienced executive leader, Stephanie J. Geosits has worked with prominent sports organizations across North America. She founded All About Sports consulting in 2019 to support her clients in increasing opportunities and building communities through sport at all levels.
In Canada, Geosits established the Marketing & Communications department at Ontario Soccer and led grassroots clubs in strategic planning and growth initiatives.
While earning a Master’s in Public Policy (MPP) from the Harvard Kennedy School, she wrote her Policy Analysis Exercise on diversifying hockey for the National Hockey League. She also has experience as the Executive Director of The Carnegie Initiative for Inclusion and Acceptance in Hockey.
As a journalist, Geosits wrote for the Associated Press Sports Department and created the New York Yankees’ website, while serving as their Editor in Chief. She graduated magna cum laude from Columbia University with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Spanish Language and Literature, and Anthropology.
Paul Martin is a sport administrative, marketing and IT business consultant with over 25 years experience. He has sat on many Boards. He is an award-winning coach who has earned his Canada Soccer Coaching A Diploma and his Ontario Soccer Technical Director Diploma. He is a graduate from the University of Windsor where he captained the men’s soccer team and he is a three-time Canada Soccer Eastern Master’s winner with Scarborough GS United.
Martin has been an Adjunct Professor at Centennial College, having taught Global Citizenship Social Action, Indigenous Studies, Canadian Business and currently is leading a team to author a first time Black Studies course at Centennial College.
Additionally, Mr. Martin is a certified Business Coach.
DALE T. BRIGGS
Dale T. Briggs was raised in rural New Brunswick and attained both an LLB and BA from the University of New Brunswick in 1984. He has resided and practiced law in Moncton since his admission to the New Brunswick Bar in 1985, including his time at regional firm of Cox & Palmer as a partner.
He became involved in his local soccer community first as a recreational player and progressed through coach, Director and President of Moncton Codiac Soccer. He has served on Canada Soccer’s Board of Directors as the representative for Atlantic Canada since 2019-20.
Briggs has been involved in his community having served on numerous committees and boards. He has been active in his profession as senior counsel to firm clients and as a frequent presenter at continuing legal education and industry specific seminars on a wide variety of topics from real property, corporate, construction, community planning, estates and trusts, transportation and taxation.
Charisse Bacchus from Saskatoon Saskatchewan has been involved in Sport and Community work for most of her life. She has represented her country both nationally and professionally in regional and international competition in Track and Field for over 18 years.
As an athlete, she earned many awards in Regional and International competitions as a jumper, pent-athlete and sprinter for the University of Kansas and Trinidad and Tobago. This has played a big role in her personal and career development.
Bacchus graduated from the FIFA Master of Sport Management, Law and Humanities, an international program conducted at: De Montfort University in Leicester, United Kingdom; SDA Bocconi, School of Management in Milan, Italy; and the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland. Recognised as the leading program in Sport Law/Management in the world, Bacchus’ experience motivated her to pursue sport for development as a means of improving the social circumstances of at-risk-youth as a program coordinator at CIES/FIFA.
She has been elected to the Board as an Independent Director and hopes to create and instill a culture of diversity and inclusion while leading in pursuit of excellence in soccer. Experiencing sport from both sides of the spectrum (as an athlete and as a sport administrator), it’s only natural that she has made the transition to sport and financial management, where she runs her own Sport Management and Financial Management Firm.
With experience as a sport financial advisor, she believes in educating and empowering athletes to reach their managerial and financial goals.
DR. KAREN MACNEILL
Dr. Karen MacNeill is a high-performance psychologist, professional speaker, performance consultant, and trusted advisor.
She has the unique experience of having both competed and consulted on the world stage. She represented Canada as an athlete for over a decade (field hockey) and has worked with athletes at five Olympic Games. She was the lead Mental Performance and Mental Health Consultant supporting Team Canada at the 2018 Olympic Games in Korea, the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan, and the 2022 Olympic Games in China.
MacNeill’s elite sport experience in combination with her understanding of corporate environments, has afforded her the opportunity to impact multiple fortune 500 companies. Her work has enabled leaders and organizations to unleash their highest potential while navigating high-pressure, ever-changing environments.
She has provided leadership and contributed to her professional community having served on various Boards including as athlete representative on the Managing Council for the Canadian Sport Psychology Association, as a trustee for the Canadian Athletic Foundation, and a member of Tourism Calgary’s Calgary Sport and Major Event advisory committee.
MacNeill’s career achievements, leadership, and volunteer efforts have been publicly recognized by Avenue Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40 Award, the 2020 Women of Inspiration Game Changer Award, and Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100 Award. Her passion and drive to help others be their best also translates into her life as a soccer mom, wife, and outdoor enthusiast.
BRITTANY TIMKO BAXTER
Brittany Timko Baxter is an Olympic Games Bronze Medalist (London 2012) and has been honoured by the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame, the Soccer Hall of Fame of British Columbia, the Coquitlam Sports Hall of Fame. As part of the London 2012 team, she was inducted in the team category to both the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame and BC Sports Hall of Fame.
As a coach, Timko Baxter has earned the Canada Soccer Coaching Children’s Diploma, the Canada Soccer Coaching B Diploma, the National Coaching Certification Program Learning Facilitator, and the BC Soccer Technical Director Diploma.
As a player, Timko Baxter won the Golden Boot Award at the FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship Thailand 2004. She was also the Big 12 Player of the Year at the University of Nebraska (2004, 2005, 2006); an NSCAA All-American (2004, 2005); and the BC Soccer Player of the Year (2003). She made 132 international “A” appearances with Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team and featured at three FIFA World Cups (2003, 2007, 2011) and two Olympic Games (2008 and 2012). She played professionally in five countries (Australia, Sweden, Germany, USA, Canada) and won two USL W-League Championships with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2004, 2006). She also played for the University of Nebraska Huskers (2003-2006).
Timko Baxter, who speaks English and French, earned her Bachelor’s of Psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2008. She lives in Coquitlam, BC with husband Sean and children Johnny and Zoe and she has served as Technical Director of the Port Moody Soccer Association.