iS4 -Canada Soccer stars set out on new ventureNovember 2, 2016
I Strive Four - three powerful words that will inspire young girls and women across Canada to follow their dreams.
It is with this goal in mind that four of Canada’s greatest soccer players – Christine Sinclair, Karina LeBlanc, Rhian Wilkinson, & Diana Matheson – launched their company, iS4, today, November 2 at Fortius Sport & Health. iS4 consists of two components: development camps for youth on soccer fields across the country and motivational speaking by the four athletes in boardrooms and corporate settings Canada-wide.
iS4 is the latest chapter on the already stellar resumes of its four founders. Just as they were all once rookies on the soccer pitch with a career of milestones to achieve, today they stand on the cusp of starting a new career that will no doubt see them inspire more Canadians across the country.
“It’s a funny story. It was after 2012 [London Olympics], and we were in Toronto,” said Wilkinson in an exclusive interview with Fortius the evening before the launch. “There was an event for Olympians and we were sitting down just chatting and enjoying one another’s company and just being away from the soccer field together. We were like “hey, why don’t we run camps?” Essentially that was it.”
What started off as an idea between Sinclair, LeBlanc, and Wilkinson quickly caught the attention of Midfielder, Diana Matheson.
“I just walked up and was like “hey, what are you guys talking about! I want in on this,”” added Matheson. The other three laughed and claimed that being of almost equal height to the kids makes Matheson the most relatable of the foursome.
Plus, as LeBlanc pointed out with a wink, “she scored a big goal [to win the Bronze Medal] in London.”
The unveiling of iS4 comes at an important time for the four. Coming off a bronze medal in 2012 and again at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics gave them the experience and momentum to take their skills off the field and start a movement that would make a difference in the community.
“I’ve heard that we have 63 years of combined Canada Soccer experience,” marveled Matheson. “That’s almost retirement age! We knew we wanted to get this off the ground in a way that we could segue into something we could also do when we’re finished.”
The unique connection this group has shared through their journey on and off the field has shaped the foundation of iS4 and their abilities as a unit to inspire and empower young girls and leaders across Canada.
“We’ve literally grown up together and we know each other so well,” said Sinclair. “We feed off each other and we know how to push each other’s buttons [laughs]. We’ve all been through different things in our careers and we’ve all experienced the same moment but taken different things out of it. People will get to see how weird we are [laughs].”
The youth camps are supported financially by the Canadian Tire Jumpstart program. It means that children from all backgrounds can have access to these invaluable sporting experiences without fear of financial strain on their families. That ethic is something the Fortius Foundation knows and supports. And as the site of Canada Soccer’s Women’s National team training camps, Fortius was a perfect location to host this milestone day for four of the team’s stars.
“This [Fortius] was our home for many years leading into big moments,” said LeBlanc. “This is where we feel we’ve had so many special moments, and what better place to launch our company than a place that’s home to us. We are about connection. We are family, and Fortius is part of our family, so we thought this was the perfect place to launch it…and they have good coffee too!”
Fortius was proud to host this important event and we look forward to supporting iS4 as it grows.
For more information on iS4, visit their website: http://is4.ca/
For more information on Fortius, the training grounds of the Women’s National team, visit https://www.fortiussport.com/Pages/default.aspx and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram – @FortiusCentre