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Golf Canada chief sporting officer Kevin Blow has been named Golf Canada general secretary and CEO

Golf Canada chief sporting officer Kevin Blow has been named Golf Canada general secretary and CEO

Canada Soccer has turned to the world of golf to find its new general secretary and CEO. Kevin Blue comes from Golf Canada, where he has served as Chief Sport Officer since December 2020.

Canada Soccer has turned to the world of golf to find its new general secretary and CEO.

Kevin Blue comes from Golf Canada, where he has served as Chief Sport Officer since December 2020.

Blue was previously the director of athletics at the University of California, Davis, a job he started in May 2016 when he was just 33 years old. Before that, he was senior associate director of athletics at Stanford University, his alma mater.

At UC Davis, Blue oversaw a $42 million athletic department with 25 varsity teams.

Canada Soccer's 2022 revenue was $47.6 million, up $14.2 million from the previous year due to a jump in FIFA and CONCACAF giving as the 2026 World Cup approaches.

Blue is scheduled to assume his new position on March 14.

“In Kevin, we have a transformational, results-oriented leader on our team to help guide us toward a more positive future for soccer in Canada and seize the incredible opportunities ahead,” Charmaine Crooks, president of the Canadian Football Association, said in a statement.

In a video released by Canada Soccer, Blue admitted he was a “newcomer” to the Canadian soccer community and promised to “work hard to earn your trust.”

He also said Canadian Football “will look in the mirror and make the necessary reforms so that we are able to manage and operate our association with the exemplary professionalism necessary for us to take advantage of the opportunities ahead and solve some of the challenges we face.” It is happening.”

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“We have a lot of work to do,” he added.

Unlike Walker, Blue has also held the title of CEO – the first time Canada Soccer has held the position. Kevan Pipe, who worked for Canada Soccer from 1985 to 2006, doubles as general secretary and chief operating officer.

Matthew Chamberland is the current COO.

Born in Montreal, Blue grew up in Toronto. A father of four who lives in Mississauga, Ontario, he holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Stanford University, where he was captain of the golf team and an academic All-American, and a doctorate in sports psychology from Michigan State University.

His appointment fills a void on Canadian soccer's governing body

Alison Walker, whose resume includes stints with Bell Media, the Canadian Olympic Committee and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, was named general secretary in late December. But she resigned on January 22, the previously announced start date, due to an “unforeseen personal matter.”

Canada Soccer says more than 200 candidates were identified during the four-month search conducted by consulting firm Korn Ferry that led to Walker's appointment.

Walker was scheduled to succeed Earl Cochrane, who resigned from his position last April.

The general secretary vacancy has impacted Soccer Canada's search for a permanent coach for the men's national team. Canada Soccer announced last year that the appointment of the coach would come after the appointment of the Secretary-General.

Mauro Bello has served as interim coach since John Herdman resigned in August to take over at Toronto FC, which plays in the Major League Soccer. Bellew will take over in March when the Canadians take on Trinidad and Tobago in Frisco, Texas, in a high-stakes playoff with a spot in this summer's Copa America.

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For years, the general secretary job, described as the operational leader of Canadian soccer, has been owned by Peter Montopoli.

He took over as Secretary-General in April 2008 after two years as National Event Director for the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada. But Montopoli stepped down in late 2021 to become director of operations for the 2026 World Cup in Canada, overseeing the end of the tournament in Canada for FIFA.

Earl Cochrane, who has held a variety of roles at Canada Soccer over two terms dating back to 2001, has been named acting general secretary and takes up the role on a permanent basis in July 2022 following an “extensive global recruitment process.”

Cochrane resigned last April, after former president Nick Pontis left Canada Soccer due to a long, bitter labor dispute with the men's and women's national teams.

Pontes resigned from his elected position in February 2023, acknowledging that change was necessary to achieve labor peace.

Cochrane said he had his own reasons for leaving, saying the decision “was personal in a lot of ways, about my concern for myself.”

Former national team captain Jason DeVos, who was previously Canada Soccer's director of development, has taken over as general secretary on an interim basis.

Walker's appointment followed Devos' departure from Canada Soccer to become an assistant coach under Herdman at Toronto FC.

The new general secretary inherited a long labor battle that saw the men's and women's teams go into action and Soccer Canada come under fire from the House of Commons Heritage Committee. The debate revolves around Canada Soccer's controversial long-term agreement with Canadian Soccer Business, which owns its marketing and broadcast rights.

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It's believed cash-strapped Canada Soccer will receive $4 million a year under the deal as a “rights fee guarantee beneficiary.” It is trying to renegotiate the agreement, which includes an additional $500,000 to be paid annually ahead of the 2026 Men's World Cup, which Canada is co-hosting.

Citing the CSB deal, the association representing the Canadian women's team recently filed a $40 million lawsuit against 15 current and former members of Canada Soccer's board of directors, alleging “negligence and breach of fiduciary duty.”

The 10th-place women, who formed the Canadian Soccer Players' Association in 2016, have not had an employment contract since their last one expired at the end of 2021. They have reached an agreement in principle with Canada Soccer on compensation for 2022 and compensation. A temporary deal for 2023 covers the World Cup but they are essentially waiting for the men to settle given the two deals are linked to equal wages.

The 50-ranked men, who organized in the summer of 2022 as the Canada Men's National Soccer Team Players Association, are working on their first formal employment agreement.

Follow @NeilMDavidson on X, formerly known as Twitter

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 29, 2024.

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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