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#1 2016-09-05 07:19:23

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where she failed to medal in any of the

VANCOUVER -- Rachel Lewis is getting ready to come out of the shadows. For the past eight years, Lewis has played vital behind-the-scenes roles with the Vancouver Whitecaps while rising to the position of chief operating officer. With CEO Paul Barber leaving in the spring and not being replaced, Lewis will become a face of the Major League Soccer franchise alongside president Bob Lenarduzzi. "Its a great opportunity and I feel ready for it," Lewis said. "I feel like Im well positioned to lead the club and move it forward." Barber, 44, resigned earlier this month and will work his final day Feb. 29 after two years at the helm. The former Tottenham Hotspur executive is expected to return to his native England and land somewhere back in the English Premier League, but is not revealing his plans. "This year was a year of a lot of transition for us, moving into Major League Soccer, moving into Empire Field, and moving into B.C. Place," said Lewis. "Now its about building stability, growing every avenue of our business, just continuing to grow the sport and hopefully build our on-field and off-field success." The Whitecaps were third in the league in average attendance last season despite a last-place finish in the overall standings. Lewis, who will head business operations and retain her COO title, will become the clubs highest-ranking executive in charge of off-field operations while Lenarduzzi continues to manage the on-field side. "Rachels one of those unsung heroes in the club," said Barber. "Shes been in the club for over eight years now. Shes one of those people who has been very much in the background for a lot of that time, just making sure that the wheels of the club are well oiled and running smoothly." In addition to her work with the mens club, Lewis will continue building the Whitecaps womens team and charitable foundation. Another top priority is the development of a permanent training facility similar to those found in Europe. The club hopes to make an announcement on that early next year. Lenarduzzi said Lewis, 37, complements his soccer-specific focus while serving as "the driving force" on the business side. In 2003, she was among the first hires made by majority owner Greg Kerfoot after he acquired the then floundering franchise and injected millions into it. She was recruited after serving as director of the Air Canada Championship, a former PGA Tour event held in Vancouver, and managing BMO Financial Groups sponsorship of an LPGA event on a short-term contract. After starting with the club as director of events, she spearheaded the attempt to develop a waterfront stadium -- which was scrapped after running into political and corporate roadblocks -- and was later promoted to COO. Previously, the club appointed established high-profile executives -- namely Barber, Lenarduzzi and former president John Rocha, who was lured way from the NHLs Vancouver Canucks -- to its top posts. Rocha left in August 2006 and Lenarduzzi and Lewis received their current titles in April 2007. They ran the Whitecaps when they played at a lower level and set the stage for the move to MLS that Barber completed when he arrived in March 2010. Starting next March, Lenarduzzi and Lewis will be at the helm, with Lewis having the final say in areas where she and Barber collaborated. A Richmond, B.C., native, Lewis holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Victoria and an MBA from the University of British Columbia. She never had a childhood career dream, although sports was a constant discussion topic among her family of four. She played soccer briefly as a youth but was involved mainly in individual activities like skiing and swimming. After volunteering at events in high school, she became more passionate about a career in sports during her university days. Soccer appealed to her because of its high level of female participation, family values and community spirit. "Soccer is the ultimate sport from that perspective, because its got gender equality," she said. "Its very accessible. All you need is a couple of socks to put down as nets and a ball. So the opportunity to be part of a sport that has those kinds of values is really important to me. "Ive got a young family and its important for them to see that I work in a positive environment." Lewis, a mother of boys aged one and three, is one of few women holding top executive positions with North American teams in any sport. Karren Brady, a longtime English Premier League executive who is married to retired international soccer star Paul Peschisolido of Toronto, set the precedent in soccer two decades ago. Brady -- now vice-chairman for West Ham -- was subjected to sexist commentary, resulting in iconic British broadcaster Richard Keys resignation from the Sky Sports TV network last January. Lewis does not believe gender will be an issue as her duties expand. She considers the enhanced role a great opportunity to show young women and girls that they can follow their dream of a soccer career -- on or off the pitch. "Its very rare that I ever feel like being a woman is a disadvantage," she said. "Sometimes, to the contrary, I feel like its an advantage, because you can bring a different perspective to a room of 20 men." During Barbers time working in England, he had frequent contact with Brady. He expects Lewis to face fewer difficulties than Brady did while starting her career with Birmingham City at age 23 in 1993. "When Karren first got that job in England, it very much was a mans world," said Barber. "A decade or more later, things have changed. Times have changed. The sport has changed." Womens soccer has made great strides in recent years, particularly in North America. Barber sees many similarities between Brady and Lewis, calling them both bright, articulate and tough. He praises Lewis for her ability to handle many tasks at the same time. "And shes combined all of that with getting married and being a mom," said Barber. "I certainly dont mean that in a patronizing way. Its hard enough being the chief operating officer of a club of this size without having responsibilities as a mom and a wife, too." However, Lewis must become more comfortable with her new public persona, especially dealing with the media on a regular basis. "She hates that," said Barber. "Its one area where Rachel has had probably less exposure than most. Its something that as a senior executive in the sports industry comes with the territory." Lewis acknowledges her discomfort in dealing with the media. For the purpose of personal development, she is willing to be pushed out of her comfort zone. "I know its part of the role," she said. "And Im ready to take it on." Womens Jermaine Gresham Jersey . Damian Lillard added 21 points and 11 assists and hit a pair of clinching free throws with 2.1 seconds left for Portland, which beat Oklahoma City for the second time in December. Portland (25-7) snapped a two-game losing streak but still trails Oklahoma City (25-6) by a half-game in the Northwest Division standings. Cheap Larry Fitzgerald Jersey . Louis Blues continued on Wednesday night in Denver. After the game that saw the Blues snap the Avalanches three-game winning streak with a 4-1 win at the Pepsi Center to win their fifth-consecutive game, head coaches Patrick Roy and Ken Hitchcock had choice words for one another. http://www.authenticcardinalsfootball.c … e-Jersey/. Kane, who was leading Chicago in scoring when he was hurt in a game against St. Louis on March 19, resumed skating on his own five days ago. On Wednesday, he skated with his teammates for the first time in the hours before a game against Montreal. Cheap Tyrann Mathieu Jersey . Spoelstra spoke after the teams shootaround at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. He says he expects everyone to be ready for the showdown between the two-time defending NBA champs and the team with the NBAs best record this season (18-3). John Brown Cardinals Jersey . In the subsequent 36 minutes, reality hit hard. The Raptors saw both sides of the post-Gay coin in 48 minutes of basketball. "Theres no excuses in this league but Im going to chalk this one [up] to travel.The Netherlands is now the single greatest speed skating team at an Olympic Games after sweeping the womens 1,500-metre race at the Adler Arena Skating Center in Sochi. Jorien ter Mors set an Olympic-record time of one minute 53.51 seconds to win her first Olympic gold medal. Ter Mors just missed a short track medal Saturday, finishing fourth in the 1,500m. "It is bizarre that I can do this," said Ter Mors, who had to wait nearly an hour to know the gold was assured after skating in the ninth of 18 pairings. Veteran Ireen Wust failed to defend her Olympic title but still managed to win silver in 1:54.09. Wust now has six Olympic medals, including three gold and a victory in the womens 3000m in Sochi. "I admit Im a bit ticked," Wust said. "I had [a gold medal] in me. Maybe I was too keen, too concerned about lap times. You have got to be loose out there on the ice, and then the lap times will come. But I dont begrudge Jorien the gold." Lotte van Beek made it a 1-2-3 Dutch finish with a time of 1:54.54. The Dutch team actually had the top-four skaters as Marrit Leenstra finished with a time of 1:56.40. The Netherlands has dominated the proceedings, taking five gold and 16 medals so far in only eight races, eclipsing the record set by East Germany in the 1988 Games in Calgary. It also as swept events in the mens 500 and 5,000m in Sochi. No Canadian women were able to crack the top 10. Reginas Kali Christ plaaced 16th in 1:53.dddddddddddd51. Christine Nesbitt, of London, Ont., finished 17th with a time of 1:58.67, Winnipegs Brittany Schussler was 26th in 2:00.65, while Brianne Tutt of Calgary, ended up 35th in 2:03.69. It was another disappointing event for Nesbitt, who finished ninth in the 1,000m — her signature event — on Thursday. Nesbitt won gold in that distance at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. She was the 1,500m world champion in 2012, and dominated the World Cup circuit two years ago. But injuries, a battle with coeliac disease and admittedly feeling the pressure of defending Olympic gold have all contributed to Nesbitts dismal season, where she failed to medal in any of the World Cup events. "I think one of the hardest things about winning is that because youve done it once people expect you do it again and again and again," said Kristina Groves, CBC Sports speed skating analyst and four-time Olympic medallist. "I think they forget how hard it is to do that. Nesbitt has had some struggles with injuries, with coeliac disease and that takes a toll over time. But I think she should be proud of this race. I know she was probably expected more but shes been through so much this season. "I thought she looked solid, just a little slow tempo toward the end. I think she should be proud of herself for coming here and giving herself the best chance she possibly could to win a medal for Canada." 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2016-09-05 07:19:23

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