Frances RaderechtPioneer Soccer 2013
Frances Raderecht was living in Ladner in the early 1970s, raising a family and unaware that she was about to embark on a journey that would help change the lives of girls in Ladner, Delta and British Columbia. The beginnings of girls soccer in Ladner was a simple decision based on a simple event. In the fall of 1972, a young girl was standing on the sidelines watching boys play soccer. She turned to the woman standing beside her and said “I wish girls could play soccer”. Luckily for this girl, and all the girls in BC, she posed the statement to the right person.
That person was Frances Raderecht. Frances thought to herself, “Why can’t girls play?” Unable to think of a legitimate reason, she resolved to ensure that girls would receive the same opportunity to play soccer as boys. That was the easy part.
In 1972 there were few, if any, girls playing soccer in BC, and Frances knew she had to surround herself with good people. If she was going to form a team, the first person she had to find was a well established and respected coach. As luck would have it, Stan Smith was willing to take the challenge. Next, an invitation to play girls soccer was posted at Ladner Elementary School. To everyone’s surprise, thirty girls signed up! Frances needed another coach and was able to convince Art Lowery to take on a second team. The Ladner Royals and the Ladner Beatty Babes were born, and girls soccer in Delta was established.
Changing attitudes was more difficult than creating teams. Convincing the community, parents and boys’ soccer associations was not an easy task. However Frances, along with others, persevered to change attitudes, receive equal field allocations and grow girls’ soccer across the Lower Mainland. By 1973, Francis had created and became the first President of the Ladner Girls Soccer Club.
Frances would agree “…BC was primed for girls soccer to begin; I was just the one that picked up the ball…” However it was her willingness to ask the question “Why not…” and then put in the hard work to get it done that singles her out. Her dedication has helped establish girls soccer in BC.
Frances has taken soccer from “something girls just didn’t do” to a passion for over 400,000 female soccer players in Canada. We welcome Frances into the Delta Sports Hall of Fame.