As a soccer coach, referee and administrator, Rick Singh has made an enormous contribution in his Richmond Hill community.
Yet he was very surprised when informed that he’s a recipient of a Meritorious Service Award to be presented at the Ontario Soccer Association Centre Circle Awards on Saturday night at the Hilton Hotel & Suites Niagara Falls/Fallsview.
“I was on Cloud Nine when I got the good news,” said Singh. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think that such recognition would come my way for the work I have done in the sport. I am very humbled to be selected for this prestigious award and I thank my family for the support they have provided me over the years.”
When Singh moved to Richmond Hill nearly three decades ago, he started coaching his sons, Suresh and Dalit. They became referees before quitting after marriage.
Singh still helps out with coaching duties in his community, but it’s as a referee that he has stood out. He has been the Richmond Hill Soccer Club head referee for the past 25 years and the York Region Soccer Referees’ Association registrar since the beginning of the year.
“I love the sport of soccer and I still relish my involvement,” said Singh, who is a participant in the York Region Soccer Association Mentor Program.
He spent six years in the Guyana Defence Force, rising to the rank of L/Cpl. before heading to the United States in 1970 to pursue aviation studies.
“I qualified from flying school as a pilot but could not get a job in the U.S. at the time,” he said.
Singh took up an invitation from a close friend to come to the Greater Toronto Area in 1972.
“I got a job with the Salvation Army and then my family soon followed,” said Singh who retired in 2003 as a Bell Canada technician.
Recipients of the Centre Circle Awards are honoured during the Ontario Soccer Association’s annual conference.