The largest women’s sporting event is coming to Canada this summer, and the organizers are seeking volunteers from the university community.
The 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which takes place every four years, is running June 6to July 5 with six Canadian cities — Edmonton, Ottawa, Vancouver, Montreal, Winnipeg and Moncton — playing host to 24 teams from around the world. In Moncton, teams from France, England, Columbia and Mexico will be taking the field as they vie for a spot in the quarterfinals.
As a lifelong volunteer himself, Stephane Delisle believes that students can benefit foremost from the tangible life experience that comes with volunteering.
“Instead of sitting in class, you get a real opportunity to get your hands dirty with professionals at all levels,” said Delisle, who serves as the venue general manager for the event. “You now have experience that you can bring into discussions on campus, and it also helps build your resume.”
Delisle also stresses the importance of networking through volunteerism.
“The reality is that when you volunteer with individuals from different backgrounds and especially of different generations, you get a chance to meet new people and learn from them.
“Perhaps most importantly, however, it’s an opportunity to give back to your community. Volunteers in the sports industry represent the largest sector of volunteers of Canada, and without the help of these individuals, sports would grind to a halt.”
So what can you do as a volunteer at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup? According to Delisle, there is a position to suit everyone’s interests.
“The majority of our positions fall under the guest services category — whether it’s greeting patrons in line, ushering or helping with lost and found.”
Want to get even closer to the athletes themselves? Apply for the team services positions, where you are tasked with ensuring the team members are comfortable and ready to compete. For those interested in sports journalism, there will also be a team of volunteers working with the media.
“There’s 12 to 14 areas where we have assigned volunteers, and there’s everything from logistics management to transportation. There are so many ways to get involved, and each individual is needed to ensure the event runs smoothly.”
Alexie Noble is one of the volunteers from the last year’s FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup Canada who will be returning this summer. The first-year UNB student became involved as a volunteer last year through her position as a soccer referee in New Brunswick.
“I received an email one day from another referee which had information about volunteering for the FIFA World Cup. I’m always ready to accept a new challenge, so I registered as a volunteer and waited a few months for a response.”
In March of last year, Noble was interviewed and was soon assigned a position as a volunteer at the under-20 tournament in Moncton.
“I was so excited because soccer has been my favourite sport since I was young, and I thought it would be an amazing experience to watch other girls my age play at such a high level. As a referee, it allowed me to observe the other referees who had traveled to Moncton from around the world.”
During her time as a volunteer, Noble worked at the accreditation centre, where she handled the printing of security passes.
“I had the chance to see everyone that was a part of the World Cup, because players, media, even honorary guests needed these passes to gain access to specific areas of the venue,” explained Noble.
Delisle encourages all interested individuals to apply immediately. Registration information can be found on the FIFA Women’s World Cup website.
“We’re looking at having 250 volunteers, with many individuals who volunteered last August with the FIFA under-20 tournament returning again this summer. We want to recruit from New Brunswick first, and it’s especially important to have young people who are passionate about sport involved in the volunteering process.”