Winnipeg mourns youth soccer dean

PAUL TURENNE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 1:06 PM ET

Winnipeg's soccer community suffered a tremendous loss yesterday when a man who contributed more to youth soccer in the city than anyone suffered a fatal heart attack.

Harry Harwood, 61, had been executive director of the Winnipeg Youth Soccer Association for the past 26 years, taking the program from an outdoor-season-only, one-man operation to a much larger organization that now counts up to 17,000 young players among its ranks.

"Soccer was his life. It was his passion. It was his everything," said Rocky Moudgill, executive assistant director of the WYSA.

"He started off as the first full-time employee WYSA had 26 years ago as a one-man operation in a little office on Corydon Avenue. The program has just skyrocketed under his guidance."

"In the 26 years he's been there the participation has gone from a couple hundred teams playing in the summer to well over 1,000 teams with 15,000 to 17,000 players playing year-round."

Moudgill said Harwood had had a heart condition for several years, and his death yesterday appears to be related to that.

"(Yesterday) morning he woke up like any other morning, did his routine, then was suddenly hit by a heart attack. His wife indicated to me that he didn't suffer much."

"This is pretty hard for me," said Moudgill. "He was like a father to me. He was a father figure to almost everyone he came into contact with. He was an unbelievably nice man with a heart of gold.

"He's going to be missed by everybody."


Videos

Photos