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Concacaf Names Karina LeBlanc Head of Concacaf Women’s Football

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PR release:

Concacaf Names Karina LeBlanc Head of Concacaf Women’s Football

The Confederation has hired the former Canadian international to lead its efforts to strengthen and grow the women’s game throughout the Concacaf region
 
Miami (Wednesday, July 25, 2018) – The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf) today officially announced the addition of Karina LeBlanc as Head of Concacaf Women’s Football, effective August 3rd, 2018. The former Canadian international will lead the Confederation’s efforts to strengthen and grow the women’s game throughout the Concacaf region.

“We are very pleased to welcome Mrs. Karina LeBlanc as Head of Concacaf Women’s Football. She brings a vast knowledge and passion for the sport, having played for 18 years and serving as an advocate to providing access for more women to the game,” said Concacaf President Victor Montagliani. “Mrs. LeBlanc is the right leader to support our mission of advancing and promoting women’s football in a sustainable and scalable way.  She will contribute to increase participation and awareness at all levels.”

In her new role, Mrs. LeBlanc will focus on developing women’s football throughout the entire Concacaf region increasing opportunities for women in the sport across multiple areas including through grassroots and competitions platforms, refereeing, development, and administration. She will be based in Miami, Florida and report to the Chief of Football Officer Manolo Zubiria.

Born to Jamaican and Dominican parents and raised in the Caribbean island of Dominica until age eight, Mrs. LeBlanc is a retired football player and a FIFA Legend. Throughout her career, she represented Canada in five FIFA World Cups, two Olympics and three Pan-American Games. She was a member of the bronze medal winning team at the London Olympics in 2012. In 2013, she became the first female professional footballer to be appointed as UNICEF Ambassador.

“I am honored and excited to join Concacaf at a pivotal time for women’s football,” said Mrs. LeBlanc. “I have seen the growth and potential of our game across the Concacaf region and around the globe and look forward to create additional opportunities for women in football. Our Confederation is well-positioned to continue supporting and inspiring its Member Associations to build, develop and elevate the women’s game.”

From goalkeeper to host, broadcaster and motivational speaker, she has travelled across the world to raise awareness about the game as well as the importance of women’s empowerment, especially through the sport. 

Concacaf is creating a network of unified competitions, development and leadership that unites this diverse region into one strong body, with the goals of actively promoting universal access to the sport and raising the quality of football across the Confederation.

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Out of the generation from early this century, she has done really well post retirement. Just this year, she has done broadcasting for CBC Olympics, ambassador for RBC Training Ground and part of the 2026 bid. 

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Karina LeBlanc interview about her new position. Excerpts:

In a release when your position was announced, you said that this is a pivotal time in women’s soccer. Why?

I think it’s a pivotal time for women. Women’s soccer, the numbers are starting to increase. You see across the board. Mexico, for example, they now have a league and you saw over 55,000 people show up to a women’s club championship. If you look at the highlights, it’s unbelievable, the passion. I think there’s more opportunity now because people are starting to see the game grow and this is the perfect time...

What do you see as Canada’s role in advancing the women’s game in this region?

... When you have these big events, the world starts to watch and it’s about building off of that momentum, continuing to grow the game, continuing to grow grassroots, continuing to put women and keep women in the game. I think that’s why we need to have opportunities for the girls to play at all levels. Have a pro league for the women. I think that’s very important.

https://www.thestar.com/sports/soccer/2018/07/26/karina-leblanc-opens-up-about-life-after-national-team.html

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Congrats to her. Canadians taking Concacaf control.

CPL have mentioned a women's league is next after the men's is set up. Those quotes suggest a new north American league is likely in the offing first, as reported elsewhere. 

Surely look 6-10 years at least before CWPL can get off the ground. That is all being well.

It makes sense to have a women's team at each CPL club but certainly wouldn't have to be exclusive. Maybe it could work in reverse where a women's club in a non CPL city leads to a men's further down the line.

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Karina of course is a proud Canadian, but also has ties to other countries within CONCACAF.  She was born in the USA and also has very strong family ties to Dominca.  She knows the region well, the people, the challenges, and is a well decorated international.  And that is not even touching on her qualifications for the job through her Business Degree, and her plethora of experience. 

Honestly, this might be a bit of a reach here, but I think I can see Karina making political waves within the sporting world.  Hopefully this is a small step in an upward trajectory within CONCACAF/FIFA because we need more females, and people like her leading these organizations.

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That must be tough. Even if her symptoms don’t cause her much grief (I didn’t understand some of her post, but “heart failure” doesn’t sound fun) it must be very tough to be kept away from your newborn baby.

All the best Karina!

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