Summerside native to officiate at Under-20 Women’s World Cup

Jason Malloy
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SUMMERSIDE - Carol Anne Chénard was refereeing a Friday night oldtimers men’s soccer game when someone noticed the teenager had something special.

Carol Anne Chénard will officiate at the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in August in Canada.

They wrote the Ontario Soccer Association and told them to come watch her officiate a game. The assessors agreed and before long Chénard was being booked for higher-level competition.

“I guess the rest is history,” she said.

Chénard is now one of Canada’s most accomplished referees with Olympic, FIFA and CONCACAF experience.

Next month, she will referee her third FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup when the championship is played at one of four Canadian venues.

“I think I enjoyed it and I knew that I had some talent in doing it, but refereeing, especially as a young person, isn’t very easy,” Chénard said.

“Refereeing in front of 50,000 people is less scary than refereeing in front of 100 parents of seven-year-old kids, who are really invested in their children’s athletic careers.”

Chénard was born in Summerside in 1977 when her father Guy, a pilot with the Canadian Air Force, was posted to CFB Summerside.

The family moved the following year to Ottawa and later moved to Moose Jaw, Sask., Toronto and back to Ottawa, where she graduated high school.

While she may not have lived on the Island long, she considers Summerside her hometown and said she’s been back a number of times, mostly revolving around sports.

She competed at two Canada Games and officiated at three more. She was a speedskater at the 1991 Games and refereed soccer in 2009. Both Games were held in Prince Edward Island.

“I didn’t spend that much time of my life in Prince Edward Island, but I’ve always been welcomed back as an Islander every time I’ve come back,” she said.

She was introduced to refereeing in Ottawa when she was 13 or 14 years old.

Her soccer coach made each player take a referee’s course to better understand the rules of the game.

Chénard passed the course and started to earn money by officiating, but she said it was tough early on.

“I was really lucky in that my parents were a huge support system for me,” she said.

Guy, an international speedskating referee, and Sandra Chénard were always there as Carol Anne pursued her competitive speedskating and continued when she took to the pitch as an official.

“I could always see my father show up in the parking lot just before kickoff and he would stay there thinking I couldn’t see him,” Carol Anne recalled.

Looking back now, she knows how important of

a role it played in her staying with, and excelling in, officiating.

“Anytime we get an international appointment from FIFA it’s a huge honour,” she said. “We have a lot of pride in that selection, just like the players do.”

The tournament starts Tuesday, but the referees arrive early for a training camp. They won’t get their assignments until a couple days before the game and are only guaranteed one match.

“All I know is I won’t referee Canada,” Carol Anne said. “We hope that we do a good job and we don’t give anybody a reason not to give us another one.”

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Need To Know

Name – Carol Anne Chénard

Who – International soccer referee

Born in – Summerside

Lives in – Ottawa

Age – 37

Occupation – Works in Health Canada’s office of controlled substances in Ottawa

Speaks – English, French and Spanish

Did you know? - She was a member of the national speed skating team

Soccer officiating career

highlights -

– 2006 First year as FIFA Referee

– 2008 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup (semi-final between France and Korea DPR)

– 2009 Ray Morgan Award winner

– 2010 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup (final between Germany and Nigeria)

– 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup (semi-final between Japan and Sweden)

– 2012 London Women’s Olympic Football Tournament

– 2013 Algarve Cup (final between USA and Germany)

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FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup

What – A 16-team women’s soccer tournament

When – Aug. 5 to 24

Where – Montreal, Edmonton, Moncton and Toronto

Next year – Canada will host the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015 in Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa and Moncton

Online – FIFA.com/u20womensworldcup

Organizations: FIFA, Ontario Soccer Association, Canadian Air Force Health Canada

Geographic location: Summerside, Ottawa, Canada Prince Edward Island Toronto Moose Jaw Sask. Germany Montreal Edmonton Moncton France Nigeria Japan Sweden USA Vancouver Winnipeg

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