Soccer is the big winner at Sports-Québec’s 35th Annual Gala

Laval’s Sheraton Hotel was the scene for the 35th annual Sports-Québec gala, which took place on Wednesday, 19 December, and was broadcast live on RDS (Réseau des Sports). The gala celebrated the exceptional achievements of Québec athletes between 1 September 2006 and 31 August 2007. Québec’s soccer community collected top honours in four of the categories.



Québec’s soccer federation, the Fédération de soccer du Québec, had the perfect end to an exceptional year when it was awarded the “Maurice”, which is presented annually to the province’s best sporting association. The Organizing Committee of the FIFA U-20 World Cup was presented with the “International Event of the Year” prize, while Francis Millien received the prestigious “Dollard-Morin National Volunteer Award” and the Lac St-Louis Lakers Boys Under 18 team came away with top prize in the “Club Team” category.

Laval’s Sheraton Hotel was the scene for the 35th annual Sports-Québec gala, which took place on Wednesday, 19 December, and was broadcast live on RDS (Réseau des Sports). The gala celebrated the exceptional achievements of Québec athletes between 1 September 2006 and 31 August 2007. Québec’s soccer community collected top honours in four of the categories.



Québec’s soccer federation, the Fédération de soccer du Québec, had the perfect end to an exceptional year when it was awarded the “Maurice”, which is presented annually to the province’s best sporting association. The Organizing Committee of the FIFA U-20 World Cup was presented with the “International Event of the Year” prize, while Francis Millien received the prestigious “Dollard-Morin National Volunteer Award” and the Lac St-Louis Lakers Boys Under 18 team came away with top prize in the “Club Team” category.



The Sports-Québec Gala aims to promote excellence in sports by recognizing exceptional performances by athletes, administrators and in sporting events in various categories. The Sports-Québec Gala has the following objectives: to officially honour Québec’s top sporting representatives, promote the visibility of Québec’s top athletes, and create links between sporting excellence, the business community and the general public in Québec.



Sports Federation of the Year: The Fédération de soccer du Québec



Sports-Québec took advantage of the occasion to recognize the administrative and sporting professionalism of the Fédération de soccer du Québec, which represents more than 175,000 members. The Fédération de soccer du Québec has shown itself to be a leader in a sport that has been growing consistently every year in the 18 regions of the province. The federation celebrated the 95th anniversary of its existence in November 2006 and has been responsible for numerous innovations over the course of the past year. It set up the first provincial Sports Studies program and reformed the province’s competitions, brought back the elite soccer league to Québec, shared closely in the success of the FIFA U-20 World Cup (organizing matches at Montréal’s Olympic Stadium), and has been a facilitator of the successes of Québec players on the national scene.



During the period covered by this awards ceremony, the first provincial Sports Studies program is an example of an impressive technical innovation brought in by the Fédération de soccer du Québec. The program brings together nearly 75 athletes. It was established to enable Québec’s best athletes to come together in one single place and measure themselves against the best on a daily basis. The overarching goal of the Sports Studies program is to provide student athletes with the best possible chance to combine their sporting and educational goals at the same time. Everything is done to allow these athletes to develop in the best possible environment in the best possible conditions (including scheduling, infrastructure, staff and medical care). The standards of this new program come very close to what is in place in the academies of major professional clubs.



In 2007, Québec’s young soccer players started to make a name for themselves on the national scene. During the BMO National All-Star Championships, the Québec teams won four medals out of a possible four, coming out at the top of the national standings with two gold medals (U-14 Boys and U-16 Girls) and two bronze medals (U-14 Girls and U-16 Boys). On an individual level, Québec’s players also excelled. Amélia Pietrangelo (U-14 Girls), Annick Maltais (U-16 Girls), Jeankenson Succes (U-14 Boys) and Mircea Ilcu (U-16 Boys) all snapped up the “Top Scorer” award, while Sarah Boucher (U-16 Girls), Dominic Provost (U-14 Boys) and Julien Latendresse-Lévesque (U-16 Boys) all won the “Best Goalkeeper” award. During these national championships, 33 players (18 girls and 15 boys) were scouted to tale part in the national teams’ development program.



In addition, during the BMO national club championships, Québec’s clubs also distinguished themselves in 2007, bringing back to the province a record seven medals out a possible eight. This was the largest number of medals brought back by teams from any province during the competitions. The Dynamo de Québec women’s team and the Laurentides AAA U-14 Girls team both won gold medals, the Conquérants de Laval U-14 Boys team and the Lakers du Lac St-Louis both won silver, and the Dynamo de Québec U-16 and U-18 Girls teams, and the CS Bourassa U-16 Boys team all won bronze. In October 2006, the Dynamo de Québec U-18 Girls team and the Lakers du Lac St-Louis U-18 Boys team both won gold at the same competition, which was held at the Centre sportif Bois-de-Boulogne in Laval. The FC Laurentides U-14 Girls team and the FC Select Rive-Sud U-14 Boys team both won silver, while the FC Select Rive-Sud U-16 Boys team and the Select de Trois-Rivières Men’s team both picked up bronze medals.



The Fédération de soccer du Québec also signed a memorandum of understanding with FC Metz, a team in the French first division. Several young players have already benefited from this initiative and have traveled to Europe. In September 2006, Abdoulaye Sylla, Mohamed Sylla, Kevin Chan-Yu-Tin, Julien Latendresse-Lévesque and Sean Rosa were the first players from Québec to have a three-week trial with the club. Abdoulaye Sylla, a 14 year-old player with the Lakers du Lac St-Louis, made such an impression on our French cousins that they invited him to join their Academy on a permanent basis.



In June 2007, Sean Rosa was invited back for a second trial and received the offer of a professional contract. In September 2007, Julien Latendresse-Lévesque, Jeankenson Succes and Shadrak Mmunga were also invited to join the Academy. They are due to leave for Metz in the coming weeks.



Furthermore, 51 athletes from Québec have been invited to various national team camps, which is the highest number ever recorded in the history of Québec soccer.



On the competitions front, a new competition structure has been set up to give clubs a competitive edge over all-star teams. This was done to encourage the movement of players, the hiring of club technical directors, the training of coaches and the restructuring of competitions towards a more competitive (AA and AAA) than recreational focus for age groups higher than U-12. As a result of this, 2,739 coaches received training in 2007, updating their certification to be able to meet the new requirements. And this is just a start.



In addition, in October 2006 and July 2007, Québec hosted the U-18 national club championships and the U-14 & U-16 All-Star Championships. The FSQ excelled itself in the competition in terms of the quality of the pitches it had provided and the quality of the services it was able to offer to the various delegations from other provinces.



International Event / CKAC Sports: FIFA U-20 World Cup, Canada 2007



Chaired by Francis Millien, the Montréal Local Organizing Committee for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, Canada 2007, achieved unprecedented success. For the first time in nearly a quarter of a century, indeed since the time of the Montréal Manic in 1983, Montréal’s Olympic Stadium shook to the rhythm of sold-out soccer matches.



The tournament drew a record total number of 1,195,000 fans throughout Canada, in the process establishing a new world record for the competition, which is the second most important in the FIFA hierarchy. None of the six host cities in Canada did as well as Montréal in terms of tickets sold. Montréal drew a total of 357,956 fans to its nine matches, which were held over six separate days. That’s an average of 39,772 fans per match.



June 30: Brazil – Poland / South Korea – USA drew 54,377 spectators July 3: USA – Poland / Brazil – South Korea drew 33,431 spectators July 6: Czech Republic – Panama / Poland – South Korea drew 34,031 spectators July 8: Portugal – Gambia drew 27,732 spectators July 12: Mexico – Congo 39,375 drew spectators July 15: Chile – Nigeria 46,271 drew spectators



To make the tournament a success, a budget of $4.5 million and the involvement of 330 volunteers were required. From the very start of its activities, the local organizing committee gave itself the task of putting on the best soccer tournament ever held in Montréal, giving the whole world a taste of the personality, culture, pride and know-how of the city and the province.



The tournament had to be put on within a responsible fiscal framework that would maximize the financial benefits for Montréal and leave a legacy for future generations in terms of sports installations and the expertise of organizing high-level international events. The primary objective, which guided the work of the organizing committee and volunteers, was to present a positive image of amateur soccer, of the Fédération de soccer du Québec and of its membership.



Media coverage—at the regional, national and international levels—was a determining factor in the success of the U-20 World Cup. Rarely can a tournament have captured such a large part of the media’s attention, as newspapers, radio and television stations from the different ethnic communities all focused on the event. The tournament was broadcast to 200 countries and territories around the world.



The Montréal site of the FIFA U-20 World Cup made a financial profit of $1,456,000 from the event, bringing in $4,582,000 and spending $3,126,000. There were also many other benefits for Montréal organizations. The equipment and material acquired during the event, such as balls and goals, have been given to soccer organizations, while the moveable artificial surface purchased by the Federation has been stored at the Olympic Stadium and will be used for other international matches, as well as by the Alouettes.



It is also extremely important to remember the passion for soccer that was manifested by people in the greater Montréal region. This will most certainly be carried over into 2008.





Dollard-Morin National Volunteer Award: Francis Millien



At the head of Montréal’s local organizing committee for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, Francis Millien gave the Olympic Stadium its pride back. Over six days, more than 350,000 people watched nine matches in the city, and this huge turnout contributed to making the Canada 2007 tournament the most-watched youth tournament in FIFA history. The guiding light of the tournament, for more than a year Millien put in more than 80 hours of volunteer work per week. The organization of the event was impeccable and received glowing praise from FIFA’s head of delegation.



Named to the head of the local organizing committee by the FSQ’s Board of Directors in June 2006, Francis Millien put in numerous hours of overtime from the very start to make up for the delays caused by the previous organizers. After having thought about hosting the event at the 10,000-seater Centre Claude-Robillard and at McGill University’s Percival Molson Stadium (20,000 seats), he put forward the idea of holding the event at the Olympic Stadium. A few people thought he had lost the plot…! However, his stubborn streak prevailed and, convinced that he was right and that he would manage to bring in 25,000 spectators per match, he made everyone else believe it was the right thing to do and won the day.



Tenacious, stubborn, proud, well organized and convincing, he put his body and soul into the tournament, even waking up in the middle of the night to think of things. He surrounded himself with a team of 29 experienced volunteers (the organizing committee), people he could count on. His many contacts at the City of Montréal also helped him obtain vital services like the SPVM (police) and the use of City Hall for formal ceremonies.



At 60 years of age, the man they call Mr. Montréal Soccer has more than 30 years’ experience of volunteering in soccer to go with the 30 years he has put in at the City of Montréal—in part as a technical officer in charge of soccer.



Club Team / Government of Québec: The Lac St-Louis Lakers U-18 Boys



Led by David Simon, the team won everything in 2006, finishing in top spot in their division in Québec’s elite soccer league and winning gold in the Saputo AAA Québec Cup. Having won these two titles, they qualified for the national club championships, where they once more came out on top, winning the gold medal with a record of 5-0-0, scoring 17 goals in the process and conceding none!

Guidelines for the Return to Soccer

Canada Soccer outlines return to soccer guidelines. The return to soccer guidelines provide member organizations with a five-step process, including a checklist of weighted questions known as the Return to Soccer Assessment Tool.