Victor Montagliani vows to make the Canadian Soccer Association a world-class organization with players as its cornerstone.
The Burnaby, B.C., native was elected the new president of the CSA on Saturday at its annual general meeting and said his vision is for a new culture within the sport's national governing body.
“The priority always has to be the player,” Montagliani said in a phone interview. “Without the player, everything else wouldn't exist.”
Montagliani beat out incumbent Dominic Maestracci, who withdrew his candidacy for re-election earlier in the day, and CSA vice-president Rob Newman.
Montagliani was a CSA vice-president for three terms, and has been a member of its executive committee since 2005. He's also been chair of the national teams committee.
Montagliani stressed the importance of player development, and referred to the CSA's document ‘Long-term Player Development,' originally written based on research conducted in 2005.
“We have a cornerstone document ... that not only deals with the grassroots but also all the way up to high performance,” he said. “I think it's time that we focus on that resource, and make sure it's activated in our membership so that we can set some milestones with respect to where we are with player development.”
Montagliani said while there's some work to do within the CSA, he's optimistic that Canadian soccer can see better results soon.
“I think where you have some focus and you have a plan, results come a lot sooner than you actually predict,” he said. “It's happened with other countries ... the Japan women's program, they were planning to do well in 2014. Well, low and behold with some focus and resourcing, they won the women's World Cup last year.”
Canada's three MLS teams and FC Edmonton supported Newman's campaign, issuing a joint statement saying Newman was committed to reforming how the sports' governing body in Canada is structured.
The pro teams each had a vote in Saturday's election.
Montagliani is the CSA's 33rd president.