The Red Deer City Soccer Association has found their man to guide the organization forward.
After an extensive search, the RDCSA settled on a former Olympian who was born in Calgary as the new executive director.
They decided on Greg Kern, 54, who played professional soccer with the Montreal Manics of the North American Soccer League and also suited up for 12 caps with Team Canada between 1987-1992.
Kern, who officially took over the role on April 3, said he’s happy to be on board with the RDCSA and hopes to bring his depth of soccer knowledge to the organization.
“It’s critical,” Kern said of his experience.
“I think someone who is executive director has to have an awareness and knowledge about the game of soccer. The game of soccer is complex and I don’t understand everything about the game, it’s changed quite a bit. You have to have a passion and love for the game and how important it is as a sport in Red Deer.”
According to RDCSA president Kim Vandermeer, Kern will be responsible for “leading the overall RDCSA strategic plan, fiscal management, serving as spokesperson for the association (as well as) manage staff and the day to day operations, programs, expansion of the association along with the execution of the RDCSA mission”.
Vandermeer added that Kern was a good fit for the position as an advocate for players to have fun and reach their full potential, while also building strong collaborative relationships.
The former pro defender, who also has a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Alberta noted the game has changed a lot since his youth days, but the basic principles about enjoyment and character building still exist today.
“I think it’s actually getting to see the kids on the field and have a lot of fun and work hard and never give up. Kids being really resilient,” Kern said.
“Of course, working with the board. (President) Kim Vandermeer–really happy with our relationship so far and just excited to work with the board and some of the committees and making Red Deer City Soccer Association flourish.”
Although there’s still no timeline about when players can get on the field this season, Kern hopes to see soccer being played when the calendar flips to May.
“You want every soccer player to flourish in Red Deer, whether they’re U4 or U17 or playing in the Men’s league,” he said.
“It really is first and foremost, about having fun and getting on the field and having a smile– kicking the ball, passing the ball and moving it around and understanding space.”