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Ontario Soccer Association – The Co-Founder of Respect Group joins the growing roster of big name experts at the March 3-5 event

Vaughan, Ontario – The Ontario Soccer Association is proud to announce that Sheldon Kennedy will be the third and final keynote speaker at the Ontario Soccer Summit 2017.

A former National Hockey League player, Kennedy has been instrumental in bringing governments, public and private sector partners together to influence policy change and improve the way child abuse is handled.

A victim of abuse himself during his career, he is the co-founder of Respect Group, which provides empowering online abuse, bullying and harassment prevention education to sport organizations, schools and the workplace.

“It’s hard to find a coach, official or parent volunteer that got involved in soccer for any other reason than to enhance the lives of our young people and give back,” Kennedy said. “Each of these individuals wants to be the best they can be and events like the Ontario Soccer Summit gives these leaders an opportunity to learn, participate and improve their skills on and off the pitch.”

Kennedy won a Memorial Cup, World Junior Gold Medal and skated for three teams in his eight-year NHL career.

He has shared his story through appearances on television programs such as Oprah, ABC’s Nightline, W-5, The Fifth Estate and was named Canada’s newsmaker of the year in 1997. The Order of Canada was bestowed upon him in 2014 for “his courageous leadership in raising awareness of childhood sexual abuse and his continued efforts to prevent abuse in schools, sports and communities.”

“When I was participating in sport growing up, I kept hearing that ‘sport was 75 per cent mental.’ I have come to believe this is true. Therefore, coaches need to understand their role and their influence beyond just on-field soccer skills,” Kennedy said. “That’s where the Ontario Soccer Summit comes in. Events like this give coaches a chance to explore, among their peers and thought leaders, the many issues and topics that create well-rounded, player-centric soccer leaders.” 

Kennedy is joined by two other keynote speakers at the Ontario Soccer Summit 2017. Jason deVos, the Canada Soccer Director of Development and Lorraine Lafrenière, the Chief Executive Officer of the Coaching Association of Canada, will round out the weekend.

Additional speakers and subject matter experts will begin being announced in January 2017.

The host venue for the Ontario Soccer Summit 2017 is the Oshawa Civic Recreation Complex and Trent University and event runs March 3-5, 2017.

The Oshawa Civic Centre boasts an international FIFA size 100 metre x 70 metre artificial turf playing field that can be configured into two or four fields for on-field learning.

Trent University, which is steps from the Oshawa Civic Centre, will offer an intimate setting, which is optimal for the immersive Soccer Summit learning experience.

Tickets are now on sale for the Ontario Soccer Summit and can be purchased here

Early bird pricing will be only available until January 6, 2017, so attendees are encouraged to act quickly to secure the best pricing.

There are reduced rates for those booking groups of 5-20 attendees and even greater discounts for those booking 20 or more.

Also, the 2017 event will feature reduced pricing for youth (under 18 years of age) attendees. In addition, Female Mentorship Program participants, Learning Facilitators and District Administrators all receive special pricing.

Check back regularly on the Ontario Soccer Summit news page for updates on speakers, ticketing and events. 


Media Contact

Ben Rycroft | Ontario Soccer Association Communications Manager | 905-254-9390 ext. 255 | Email: brycroft@soccer.on.ca 


About the Ontario Soccer Association:

Founded in 1901, The Ontario Soccer Association (OSA) is the largest provincial sports organization in Canada. Its members include more than 650 Clubs servicing over 24,000 teams with 380,000 registered players, 70,000 coaches and managers, and 10,000 match officials. The OSA develops and delivers exceptional and sustainable programs and services throughout Ontario with the mission of providing leadership and support for the advancement of soccer in collaboration and cooperation with our membership, partners and other stakeholders. The OSA also operates League1 Ontario, a provincial pro-amateur men’s and women’s league, as well as the Ontario Player Development League (OPDL).