Sept. 11, 2014 – Long-time Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association coach Marc Rizzardo is being honoured by the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame.
Rizzardo, who is entering his 25th season with the Langara Falcons, will receive the Brian Budd Award, which recognizes an individual who has excelled in both soccer and in other endeavours. The recipient must also exemplify good character and show outstanding dedication, achievements and leadership in developing soccer in Canada.
Rizzardo will receive the award at the Hall of Fame Induction Banquet on Nov. 9 at Chateau Le Jardin Conference & Event Venue in Woodbridge, Ontario.
“If you look at the names in the Hall, it is the who’s who of soccer in Canada,” said Rizzardo. “I am honoured to be included in such a prestigious group.”
In 2013, the highly regarded physiotherapist was inducted into the Hall as a member of the 1984 Olympic Team. This honour, however, is perhaps even more significant because Rizzardo was a teammate of Budd’s at the University of British Columbia, where they captured the 1974 CIS men’s soccer championship together.
“He was a great teammate, a great athlete and a very good person,” said Rizzardo of Budd, who passed away in 2008. “I am honoured and humbled that the Soccer Hall of Fame named me as the recipient of this award,” he said.
Throughout the years, Rizzardo has coached soccer at youth levels, as well as college and university teams. At Langara, he has compiled a record of 143-57-38 heading into this season, leading the team to four national championships and seven provincial titles. He is a three-time recipient of the CCAA’s Coach of the Year and has been named PACWEST Coach of the Year five times.
Rizzardo has also acted as lead and chief therapist with several Canadian medical teams including the 2008, 2010 and 2012 Olympic Games. In addition he’s been a member of the Canadian Soccer Association Medical Committee.
In addition, Rizzardo is the current Integrated Sport Team lead for Badminton Canada and acts as a National Examiner for Sport Physio Canada.
But, coaching at the college and university level is the ideal setting for Rizzardo.
“I love taking a group of young players and trying to mould them into a team that plays sound, attacking soccer,” he said. “And at the same time teach them some skills they can use in life, long after their playing days are done.”
When all the national and provincial championships are in the past, it’s the friendships that he will remember most. Rizzardo has been fortunate to form relationships with not only his players, but many of the opposing coaches and players as well.
While his Falcons continue to hunt for another national championship, Rizzardo is grateful for the opportunities the CCAA continues to provide.
“The CCAA does a good job of giving student-athletes a venue to showcase their athletic talents and marry it with getting an education,” said Rizzardo.
“I truly believe that education is important to the development of these players, so being able to combine that with sport is such an opportunity that many of them don’t realize it until they are done.”