Jump to content

Winnipeg Free Press: Hector Vergara (ref) Article


Recommended Posts

City soccer guru making mark at home, around the world

Chris Cariou

607 words

1 September 2004

Winnipeg Free Press



All material copyright Winnipeg Free Press, a division of FP Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership. All rights reserved.

Chris Cariou

WHETHER he's on the sidelines officiating an Olympic or World Cup soccer game or trying to calm the overheated passions of a local side screaming at the referee for issuing red cards to two of its players at the Manitoba Soccer Association Cup, Hector Vergara is a man of rules, order and a drive to get things done.

Only hours after Vergara stepped off a flight that arrived at 1 a.m. last Friday from Athens, where he had been an assistant referee for three men's games at the 2004 Olympics, Vergara was at the MSA office making sure arrangements for the senior men's and women's semifinals that night -- and Sunday's finals -- were being taken care of.

While heavy rains forced the semifinals to be relocated, the finals went off without a hitch back at the Red River College pitch Sunday afternoon, and Vergara, in suit and tie, was there to shepherd the event to its conclusion.

"One of the reasons I'm on board now is to try and make some changes," said Vergara, 37, recently appointed the MSA's chief administrative officer.

"Over the last many years, the MSA's only had two or three staff people and we're the No. 1 sport in Canada. Including winter and summer, we have greater numbers than hockey now. So if you have that type of need out there, then we have to put resources out there to meet that."

Vergara said the MSA is going to make a lot of noise -- to promote the game, to get proper playing facilities, to develop players in Manitoba at the grassroots level, to get Manitobans on national teams -- and to have the world's most popular sport catch on in Canada like it has in the United States.

The MSA hired Stuart Neely as a high-performance coach to work with and teach kids the game. And the Winnipeg Soccer Federation has been formed by a variety of city organizations to try to secure a facility that will be kept in good condition, unlike the Winnipeg Soccer Complex on Waverley.

Canada is hosting the Under-20 World Championship in 2007 and Vergara said Winnipeg would make a great host, because thousands showed up to cheer on Canada in soccer at the 1999 Pan Am Games. But the complex, a legacy of those Games, now sits idle and wasting away.

"We actually visited that facility before we hosted this event here to figure out whether there was any way we could actually go there with these games, and the fields are nowhere near the condition these fields are, the dressing rooms have mould and there's a health and safety issue," he said.

Meanwhile, Vergara was energized by his first Olympics in Athens and hopes to be called to officiate at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

"We did the semifinal game with Argentina and Italy, which was the toughest match of the whole tournament," he said. "We did really well, we were pleased with our performance and so were the instructors. Long days, hard days, a lot of heat, but it was a satisfying experience.

"The World Cup (in South Korea and Japan in 2002) was the ultimate," he added. "It's not Under-23, it's the full squad, so it's a little different when you go to see players like (David) Beckham and Renaldo and people like that, it's a much faster game than we experienced at the Olympics."


Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...