"Soccer guy" Montagliani elected as president of CSA

Victor Montagliani was the man left standing in Ottawa over the weekend as he was elected the new president of the Canadian Soccer Association.

The race started with three candidates, but previous president Dr. Dominic Maestracci withdrew from consideration on Saturday, leaving just Montagliani and Rob Newman.

Burnaby, B.C., native Montagliani was the preferred choice of most current and former players as they saw him as a “soccer guy” through and through, while CSA vice president Newman was the pick of Canada’s professional franchises as a candidate who was seen as someone with more expertise on the business side. But those two groups mattered little as the provincial organizations, notably Ontario and Quebec, had the largest say in the vote.

With Maestracci, a Quebec native, out of the picture, those votes were back in play, while Ontario opted to vote in advance. Canada’s most populous province took the unique step so that the wheeling and dealing for their votes – which have plagued previous presidential votes – wouldn’t matter.

“Governance is not simply about management,” said Montagliani in a statement prior to his election. “It requires leadership, passion and a burning desire to deliver excellent outcomes for the Canadian Soccer Association. Leadership is about service and I am ready to serve the Canadian soccer community.”

Montagliani has promised the CSA will be a more transparent organization than it has been in the past. He is now charged with getting player development back on track in Canada, something for which Maestracci was often criticized.

It’s a busy time for the CSA in its centennial year. The men’s national team is set to resume qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup early next month. The women’s side is also working on its final preparations for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter was also in Ottawa this past weekend as he helped announce the host venues for the 2015 Women’s World Cup, which Canada is hosting.