7:30 a.m., Aug. 29)
soccer referee returns from Olympic assignment
By Fred Sherwin
Canada's women's soccer team lost in the Olympic semi-finals
to Germany, it meant that a shot at a gold or silver medal
was out of reach. Instead they had to settle for bronze
with a gutsy win over the host team from Brazil.
Canada may not have made the final, but our country was
represented in the gold medal game nonetheless with the
presence of an all-Canadian officiating crew led by Orléans
resident and former Gloucester Hornet Carol-Anne Chenard.
Anne Chenard is a former Gloucester Hornet
and Gloucester Concordes Speed Skating Club
member who is now an international soccer
referee. Getty Images
Olympic Trail began in 1992, when, as a 15-year-old dual
sport athlete -- she was a national level short track
speedskater with the Gloucester Concordes, as well as
a competitive soccer player -- she decided to make the
switch from playing soccer to refereeing it.
the next two years she took officiating courses and progressively
got better until one day she caught the eye of someone
(she's not sure who) while refereeing a men's league game.
wrote to the association and said that someone should
come out and watch me, which led to my getting recommended
to the Ontario Soccer Association," says Chenard,
whose first big break came when she moved to Montreal
in 2001 to attend McGill University.
Quebec provincial association was a great supporter of
my refereeing while I was at McGill. There the ones who
nominated me to the national program which got me ready
for the international program."
went from refereeing men's league games and senior women's
soccer to North American Soccer League games featuring
the Montreal Impact and the Vancouver White Caps before
they gained entry to the MSL.
eventually became a nationally certified referee in 2005,
and a year later was nominated to the international pool
of referees that are chosen to officiate internationally
friendly matches and tournaments.
first international match was a "friendly" between
Canada and Italy in 2006.
was excited and nervous all at the same time. Your first
game at any level can be a bit nerve-racking," says
Chenard, whose career took a meteoric course after that
refereed at both the 2008 and 2010 under-20 women's World
Cups in Chile and Germany, including the final of the
latter. And she was chosen to officiate one of the semifinals
at the Women's World Cup of Soccer in 2011.
year later, she was chosen to referee at the 2012 Summer
Olympics in Great Britain. She did two Group Stage games
in Cardiff and London but had to sit out the playoffs
because two CONCACAF teams, Canada and the USA, played
each other in the semi-final and one of them would end
up going through to the final.
rules strictly prohibit a referee from officiating a game
involving teams from their own federation.
Anne Chenard (middle) with her assistant referees
Marie-Josée Charboneau and Suzanne
Morriset in front of the Olympic rings on
Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro. Photo
courtesy of Carol Anne Chenard
ahead to Rio and Chenard was once again chosen to officiate
the women's soccer tournament along with her assistants
Marie-Josée Charbonneau and Suzanne Morisset.
the London Olympics where she had to watch the opening
ceremonies on a television, Chenard was able to witness
the opening ceremonies in Rio in person.
was really phenomenal to be there with all the emotion
and to see all the athletes walking in and be so close
to the energy in a huge stadium like the Maracana,"
says Chenard. "The energy level and the atmosphere
was off the charts."
energy level was even higher in the Maracana when Chenard
officiated Brazil's opening game against China.
second assignment was Brazil's quarterfinal game in the
Mineirão stadium in Belo Horizonte in front of
52,000 crazy, screaming fans. She then had to wait for
the outcome of the Canada's semifinal game against Germany
to see if she would be officiating the gold medal match
or the bronze medal game. (The USA had already been knocked
out of medal contention by Sweden.) As
fate would have it Canada lost and Chenard got the call
to referee the final between Sweden and Germany in the
if she would have preferred refereeing the bronze medal
game if it meant Canada would have competed for the gold
medal, Chenard gave the objective answer.
can never worry about things you can't control. If Canada
had of won I would have been fine with doing the bronze
medal game, but they lost and I got to do the final,"
for the final itself, Chenard was happy with how it played
out and with her own performance and that of her Canadian
was really excited to get the game and to have it played
in the Maracanaa in front of 57,000 people. It was a really
clean game between two excellent teams and I was very
satisfied with our (officiating) team's performance,"
says Chenard, who returned to her job at Health Canada
for the future, the 39-year-old Chenard plans to stick
around for the 2019 World Cup in France. Whether or not
she will be on the pitch at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo,
only time will tell.
the meantime, she has some advice for young soccer players
thinking of becoming referees, those who are already referees,
and minor soccer's governing bodies.
not an easy job. In many ways refereeing a local soccer
game in front of opposing coaches and parents is a lot
more stressful than refereeing a game in front of 57,000
people booing you during the game. Local games can get
a lot more personal. My best advice is to have a support
group of people you can go to, whether it's fellow referees,
or a mentor, who understand what you are going through,"
says Chenard, who has a message for local soccer organizations
need to do a better job to make sure referees feel supported
in that manner. All the associations should be brainstorming
so that incoming referees can officiate free from abuse
and stay in the game longer and enjoy the sport."
story was made possible thanks to their generous support
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