What I Learned from Soccer: Life Lesson​s

Players, coaches and referees tell us how years immersed in the beautiful game has changed their life - and we invite you to share your own soccer stories too.

Players, coaches and referees share their insights as lifelong followers of the game

Fans hold up banners before the Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact play in the Canadian Championship soccer game in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday May 29, 2013. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Soccer is a lifelong passion for many people in B.C. and many of them have gained a lot from the game.

The Early Edition spoke with soccer coaches, players and ​referees who shared what they learned from many years immersed in the beautiful game.

Carl Valentine

Vancouver Whitecaps club ambassador Carl Valentine says it's important to connect to the community. (CBC)

Carl Valentine is the club ambassador for the Whitecaps Football Club. He has played and coached for the Whitecaps and represented Canada in the 1986 World Cup.

Carl says he's learned as much from the fans as he has from the game.

Bob Lenarduzzi

Excelling as a player, coach, general manager, director of soccer operations, and now president, Bob Lenarduzzi has been involved with Whitecaps FC for nearly four decades. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Bob Lenarduzzi is the president of the Whitecaps Football Club. He started his soccer career in his teens and has been with the Whitecaps for a span of about 40 years.

He says he wouldn't know what he would do... if he hadn't accepted the challenge to stay in soccer. 

Andrea Neil

Canada's Andrea Neil fights through the defence of Guatemala's Cindy Campos during a Women's Gold Cup match in June 2000. (Timothy D. Easley/AP Photo/)

Andrea Neil represented Canada at four World Cups on the women's national team. She also coached the national team after retiring as a player in 2007.

She now coaches the women's soccer team at UBC and says soccer taught her pure joy and to live in the moment.

"When the ball moves, you must also move."

Dale Mitchell

Former Canadian men's soccer team coach Dale Mitchell keeps an eye on the practice in 2008 in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Dale Mitchell represented Canada as a member of the national team in the 1986 World Cup, and at the Olympics in 1984. He's also coached the Vancouver Whitecaps and the men's national team.

Mitchell is now the technical director for the B.C. Soccer Premier League.

"It's given me an opportunity to travel all over the world," said Mitchell. "You get a chance to see what happens in other countries, both soccer-wise and culturally."

Carrie Serwetnyk

Carrie Serwetnyk is a former member on the women's national team and the first woman inducted into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame. She is now a coach and the founder of Equal Play.

Carrie Serwetnyk is a former member on the women's national team and the first woman inducted into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame. She is now a coach and the founder of Equal Play.

Carrie remembers when she first started playing soccer, there weren't a lot of girls involved in organized sport. ​

"Having played soccer, you almost take for granted that you have instant friends, you have health, you have vitality."

Carl Robinson

Carl Robinson attends a news conference in Vancouver in 2013 where he was announced as the new head coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps MLS team. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

Carl Robinson was born in Wales, and is now the head coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps.​

Growing up in the U.K., soccer was a way of life, and he's hopeful that someday Wales will make it to the World Cup, so he can coach for his homeland.

"Coming over here in 2007 was a big decision for me and my family... I haven't looked back since."

Marcelo Zuge

Brazilian and B.C. resident Marcelo Zuge coaches soccer and futsal at North Vancouver Football Club. (CBC)

Marcelo Zuge is a Brazilian who grew up breathing soccer.

When he came to Canada, his career took an unexpected turn when he began coaching. Now he's back in Brazil to watch the World Cup firsthand.

Gregor Young

Technical director of the Vancouver United Football Club, Gregor Young, is passionate about passing on his love of soccer to the next generation. (CBC)

Gregor Young is the technical director of the Vancouver United Football Club. He is now passing on his passion for soccer to his children.

He's been planning his trip to Brazil for two years and managed to catch the opening match, as well as some key games during the tournament in several cities. 


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