Portrait of a President

Being president of the Manitoba Soccer Association is arguably the biggest role you can have within the sport, here in our province. Despite knowing that, new president Christine O’Connor wasn’t even going to run.

“I had done every other position on the board before and I wanted to take time out to spend time with my youngest son,” she said.

It wasn’t until various members of the community asked her, that O’Connor finally decided to throw her hat into the ring.

She was clearly the perfect candidate for the job as her resume in the sport is basically unrivaled, within Manitoba.

O’Connor was a founding member of the Winnipeg Women’s Soccer League and was the manager of the inaugural Manitoba All-Star women’s team. She also acted as an administrator for the national women’s team, director of women’s soccer for the MSA, ran the provincial programs and was even the event manager for women’s soccer at the highly successful Pan Am Games.

The past few years, O’Connor has been busy running Sweat Shack, a soccer store that she has owned for thirty years. She said she was moved to return to the MSA fold because of one particular issue.

“The one thing that really ticked me off was the kids and that some players who wanted to play on provincial teams couldn’t play because their parents couldn’t afford it.”

“Sometimes the decisions came down to whether or not the parents could write a cheque,” she said, angrily.

O’Connor said she believed playing for Manitoba should be an honour open to everyone and that she was actively helping set up a fund to pay the fees for players who could not afford it.

With that as her central campaign issue, O’Connor was chosen as President at the MSA’s Annual General Meeting on Nov. 6. While she said she was bogged down in paper work right now, she will be flying out to Vancouver next week to participate in the bid process for the 2015 Women’s World Cup. She said her ultimate goal was to have Manitoba chosen as one of the host provinces.

It’s been a big couple of months for O’Connor, who was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame not long before taking this position. She struggled for words in trying to describe her honour.

“I found it very humbling, I’ve never had a feeling like that. It’s just indescribable really,” she managed.

Despite all the accolades, O’Connor is keeping her feet on the ground and is committed to helping move soccer forward.

When asked what would make her two-year term as president success, she did not mince words.

“If you go in and you don’t make any changes and you don’t make things better, then you don’t deserve to have been elected in the first place.”

For more on O’Connor and her accomplishments, check out her “Christine O’Connor for MSA President” profile on Facebook or head over to the MSA website.

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