2020 Grassroots Coach Award winner: Rod Cowie and Rita Wares

Rod Cowie and Rita Wares

Special Olympics BC – Vancouver’s Rod Cowie and Rita Wares are inspiring supporters, leaders, champions of the Special Olympics movement, and SOBC’s 2020 Grassroots Coach Award recipients!

Rod and Rita have been co-Head Coaches for SOBC – Vancouver’s soccer program for more than 30 years, helping the program grow considerably to more than 70 registered athletes in their weekly practices. Building a culture of family and togetherness, they have united individuals from around the community to keep score, coach, cheer, and volunteer. Their nominators said, “They have an unparalleled commitment that few can match.”

Rita and Rod have served as Head Coaches for soccer teams at six SOBC Summer Games and the 2020 Yukon Invitational Soccer Tournament, and the creators and developers of their own Vancouver Invitational soccer tournament. Both Rod and Rita possess the knowledge and experience to really bring out the best in the athletes that they coach. Consistently adapting their approach to each and every athlete, they have shown their resourcefulness and creativity time and again.

By creating the Vancouver Invitational soccer tournament, established back in 2000, they have been able to extend the joy and excitement of tournaments to a significant number of developmental athletes in their Region. Their nominators said, “Their tournament provides a reward to all athletes who practice every week, it gives them focus, the chance to experience competition, and a day to show off what they’ve learned to their friends and family.”

Through outstanding leadership, Rod and Rita have built a supportive community of coaches, parents, caregivers, donors, supporters, and officials that contribute to the great success of the program.

Rod and Rita have ensured that the athletes they coach not only become better soccer players, but better versions of themselves, and contributors to the community. They have helped athletes overcome fears, discover their abilities, build their confidence, and access opportunities every single day.

Congratulations to both Rod Cowie and Rita Wares, and thank you for your inspiring leadership!

Special Olympics BC salutes this year’s deserving Grassroots Coach Award nominees:

  • Kim Andrews, SOBC – Abbotsford
  • Kim Turney, SOBC – Fort St. John
  • Koltyn Lamonday, SOBC – Revelstoke
  • Kyle Eriksen, SOBC – Victoria 
  • Les Sigal, SOBC – Vernon    
  • Lisa Rezansoff, SOBC – Nelson    
  • Penny Coyle, SOBC – Kimberley/Cranbrook
  • Rhonda Chandler, SOBC – Trail    
  • Ryan Wise, SOBC – North Shore    
  • Shayla McLean, SOBC – Kelowna

Past Grassroots Coach Award recipients:

  • Stuart Holmes, SOBC – Delta (2019)    
  • Edna Clifford, SOBC – Abbotsford (2018)    
  • Bill Scobbie, SOBC – Port Alberni (2017)    
  • Janny Jung, SOBC – Vernon (2016)    
  • Jeannie Cramer, SOBC – Smithers (2015)    
  • Glen Ellison, SOBC – Richmond (2014)    
  • Ruth Towers, SOBC – Delta (2013)    
  • Rick Prosk, SOBC – Quesnel (2012)    
  • Zak Klein, SOBC – North Shore (2011)    
  • Evelyn Brandolini, SOBC – North Shore (2010)    
  • Michelle Cooper, SOBC – Victoria (2009)    
  • Chris Doyle, SOBC – Surrey (2008)