Samuel Charron always returns to Team Canada

Canadian Paralympic Committee

November 17, 2023

In a sparkling career, representing country is still his biggest thrill


SANTIAGO – Canada’s least known soccer superstar is a true patriot.

But Samuel Charron of Ottawa will get some well deserved spotlight this upcoming week at the Santiago 2023 Parapan American Games in a six-country tournament.

At only 25, Charron is already in his 13th season (yes, he joined the team at … age 12) with Canada’s Cerebral Palsy (CP) Football (also known as 7-a-side) team. He is widely considered the greatest player in the sport. That was shown once again at the 2022 World Cup where he was named the tournament MVP as Canada equaled its best-ever result with a ninth place.

Even with his disability, Charron is also a superior player in the able-bodied game. He currently plays semi-professional soccer in Australia and was a member of the St Francis Xavier University’s soccer team for three seasons. He graduated from the school in 2020 with a degree in international business.

‘’I had a good first season down under and plan to return to play a full season again next year,’’ he said. ‘’I’ve been back home for the past two months doing some coaching and keeping myself in top condition for this tournament.’’

In his final year with St. FX in 2019-20 he played in 11 of 12 games and helped the school reach the USports national final tournament for the first time in several years.

‘’Travelling so much with the national team is what motivated me to go into international business,’’ he said. ‘’I hope to pursue that field one day but now I want to play soccer as long as I can.’’

With such demand for his skills at all levels of the sport, Charron is always present when it is time to don the Canadian maple leaf.

‘’Playing for my country is what brings me back every time,’’ he said. ‘’It is the dream of most Canadian athletes in every sport to have that opportunity and it is an honour to be selected. Maybe one day our sport will be in the Paralympic Games.

‘’That’s my dream.’’

Charron has represented Canada at five International Federation of Cerebral Palsy Football World Cups and was named most valuable player of the tournament in 2019 as well.

In Salou, Spain at the 2022 World Cup, Charron led Canada with five goals and three assists in five matches. He notably scored the 1:0 winner against Netherlands in the group phase and sparked a late two-goal comeback against Australia in the playoffs.

Charron has played in 51 international games with 50 starts as of November 2023. He’s scored 43 goals and been credited with 14 assists. He was a member of the 2015 Parapan Am team that was fourth. Canada did not play at the 2019 Games in Lima.

He scored his first international goal for Canada June 8, 2012 in Barcelona, at the 7-a-side Futbol Tournament.

Throughout his entire national team career, Charron has had one head coach with Team Canada – former professional player and national team member Drew Ferguson, now in his 18th year at the helm of the national team. Charron admits it’s tough to find the words to state the importance of Ferguson in his life.

‘’He played a big part in making me the man I am today,’’ said Charron. ‘’I started at a very young age and I had to mature fast. He took a chance on me when I was very young and that gave me a lot of confidence. He’s the kind of guy you want to play for until your body gives out.’’

Charron is currently the team captain and with good reason.

‘’Besides being a top-class player he’s also a top class person,’’ said Ferguson. ‘’He’s a great leader and looks after the young players and the more senior players as well. So his importance is both on and off the field.’’

This team at the Parapan Ams is a mix of new players and veterans. Sixteen-year-old rookie Isaiah Smeaton-Katzenberg says he is getting valuable advice from Charron about being a teenager in a national team setting.

‘’Sam has been the one I most look up to,’’ he said. ‘’You see him everywhere. When you think of Para soccer he is the one that comes up. He is the greatest player so it’s kind of hard not to look up to him.’’

After such a strong performance at the worlds – also the fourth best among the Americas countries – Charron would love nothing more than to carry this group to a first Parapan Am medal since 2007.

‘’We are ready,’’ said Charron. ‘’Even though we don’t train together as much as we would like, the common factor on this team is the love of playing for Canada. And being at a major Games like this with all the other sports we are going to get a lot of adrenaline from that.’’

And with the greatest player in the world leading the charge, there is always a chance.

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