Interview with referee Chantal Boudreau
“Walking out on to her first 2019 Women’s World Cup between Norway and Nigeria was one of the most amazing experiences…”
As the Tokyo Olympics have just finished, the Carillon wanted to talk about the events a bit more, so we interviewed a referee from the games named Chantal Boudreau. Boudreau is 32 years old, was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, and attended the University of Regina. Her passion for refereeing started when she attended university, and she now lives in Stoney Creek, Ontario, having just finished being a referee in the 2020 Olympic games as a FIFA Assistant Referee.
How long have you been a referee?
Boudreau took her first course in 2010 and kept up with her training and her passion, which got her the position of FIFA Assistant in 2015.
Have you travelled anywhere to referee that people would find interesting?
Boudreau has been extremely fortunate to travel across the world while doing something she loves. The question should almost be where she hasn’t travelled. Here are some places she’s refereed:
-2021: Tournaments in Japan for the 2020 Olympics game
-2018-2019: U20 Women’s world Cup, France
-2016: U20 Women’s world Cup in Papua New Guinea
As well Qatar, Honduras, Costa Rice, Trinidad, Tobago and Mexico to name few extra.
Were you once an athlete or player in this sport before you started to referee? If so, how long did you play for and how far did you see yourself go?
Boudreau started to play soccer many years ago. Her love for soccer started at nine years of age and she retired from it in 2014 – one year before becoming a FIFA assistant. “I enjoyed playing in the competitive leagues within Saskatchewan for many years, but soccer at the end of the day was just a fun sport for me to play with my friends”.
What encouraged you or changed that you went from being a player to a referee?
Boudreau went to the University of Regina and, when studying, her older brother Daniel convinced her to start officiating soccer, which helped pay for university. When she started officiating soccer at a local level, she started to really enjoy it. The part Chantal loved about the game is “I loved the challenge that the game brought and wanted to become the best official I could be”.
What encouraged you to keep going?
After many years of officiating, Chantal realized how much this sport really had to offer. Chantal started to have opportunities to move higher in the referee career. Chantal started off in tournaments across Canada and discovered the life of a professional referee. “I was addicted, there were so many opportunities”! It seems to be what encouraged her the most and is inspiring is that Chantal “wanted to not only be one of top officials in my province, but in my country”!
What was the most memorable game you’ve refed?
Chantal has reffed a lot of games over her time. Although, “Walking out on to her first 2019 Women’s World Cup between Norway and Nigeria was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. After years of sacrifice, to walk out onto that pitch and realizing that I finally achieved my dream, was nothing short of incredible”.
How has Covid changed the referee lifestyle?
First, Covid brought all the games to a complete stop in the year of 2020. Chantal was in the middle of training and being a candidate for the Olympics and everything just took a pause. This became tough for Chantal mentally to keep on track with her training because we did not know when Soccer was going to start up again. Although, this is where her friends and her had to push forward! They all pushed together mentally and physically to get back on track and to be ready for the game to start up again. That way when it did, they’d be ready – and Chantal was!