• Soccer
  • 2006
  • Builder

Derek Wisdom

He arrived in Saint John from his native Porth, Wales, in 1963, and almost immediately began his forty year mission to convert this Picture Province into one big soccer pitch.

As a player, coach, referee, club executive and promoter he enriched every level and intensity of his sport from the youngest to international elite teams. Just two examples will show how successful he was: registrations grew from some 300 in the 1960’s to 17,000 today, and his promotion of a Canada-Italy match in 1984 attracted more than 7,000 spectators to Saint John’s Canada Games Stadium!

Referee assessment locally, provincially and nationally, was a passion of his for two decades. So too was the establishment and operation of a New Brunswick-based centre of soccer excellence. Awards aplenty have come his way- but none more cherished than his lifetime membership in the Canadian Soccer Association. Small wonder that he has been affectionately labelled “Mr. Soccer”.

Enrolled in the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame, June 3rd, 2006

Quick Facts

  • Known throughout New Brunswick as “Mr. Soccer”
  • Helped establish Soccer New Brunswick in1966; served as executive director from 1992-98 and is currently president
  • His organizational skills and passion for the sport are credited for its phenomenal growth throughout the province (from 350 registered players in 1966 to over 17,000 in 2005)
  • Responsible for bringing several international matches to New Brunswick including Canada vs. Italy in 1984; the Under 19 World Cup women’s match in 2000; and the men’s Olympic qualifying game between Canada and the US Virgin Islands in 2003
  • Played an integral role in attracting national events to the province including Canadian Soccer Association’s AGM and several age class championships
  • Has been a national referee assessor since 1977 and is responsible for training and evaluating officials in New Brunswick
  • A member of the Canada Soccer Association referee’s committee for over 17 years
  • Received the CSA’s Aubrey Stanford Award for service and contribution to development of soccer in Canada in 1988
  • Received the Lifetime Volunteer Achievement Award from Sport New Brunswick in 2001
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