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1310 - 3/7/2023 1:06:52 PM  

Olympic Soccer Star Diana Matheson Headlines University of Guelph’s Gender Equity Initiative

Released For Publication- March 2, 2023

Two-time Olympic bronze medallist and former professional soccer player Diana Matheson will keynote U of G’s annual HeForShe gender equity event this month.  

Matheson, perhaps best known for scoring the game-winning goal in the bronze medal match in the 2012 London Olympic Games, is also the co-founder of Project 8, an initiative to help launch Canada’s first women’s professional soccer league. 

During her keynote, Matheson will discuss the gender equity challenges that women athletes face in professional sports. It’s a timely topic, as Canada’s women’s soccer team is currently protesting their pay in comparison to that of the men’s national team. 

“Gender equity is important within sports because sports is about so much more than just playing a game or running a race,” said Matheson. “We know that participation in sport is linked with strong academics, health and wellbeing, confidence and leadership, and success in business. Equity in sport is about making these same opportunities to succeed in life and sport more available to 50 per cent of our population.” 

Diana Matheson

Matheson will also discuss her own personal story of resilience and overcoming adversity. 

“Coming off the high of winning a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games, among the lows in my career were injuries that threatened to keep me out of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada,” said Matheson.  

Hosted by U of G’s Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics, the School of Engineering within the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences and Gryphon football, the annual HeForShe event also includes a community impact award, which recognizes a local business’s efforts to improve gender equality, and scholarships for students for their leadership.  

The HeForShe at U of G event will be held on March 22 at 7 p.m.
Registration and tickets are free but limited. 

Inclusive language workshop 

On March 9, a workshop in the Gryphon Football Pavilion will discuss the nuances of gender identity, inclusivity and allyship. 

The guided discussion is open to the entire U of G community and will be moderated by Caleb Hardwood, U of G’s sexual and gender diversity advisor

The workshop is hosted by Lang’s John F. Wood Centre for Business and Student Enterprise. 

Students to help launch professional soccer league 

U of G students will have a unique opportunity to pitch innovation ideas to help Matheson and her Project 8 plan launch Canada’s first women’s professional soccer league. Run through the Lang School and its sport management faculty, the pitch competition will be held on March 25 and open to all U of G undergraduate students.  

“This competition is a terrific opportunity for any student with an interest in sports or business to utilize their creative minds and skills to support the first professional women’s soccer league in our country,” said Dr. Ann Pegoraro, Lang Chair in Sport Management. 

Select students will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas directly to Matheson. 

The soccer league is set to launch in 2025 with eight teams, including teams in Vancouver and Calgary already signed on.  


The University of Guelph offers Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degrees, PhD (Doctorate) degrees, diplomas and certificates, post-graduate diplomas, distance education, and co-op programs.

The University of Guelph main campus covers 330 hectares (817 acres) in the city of Guelph (an hour’s drive West of Toronto), with a mix of classic and modern architecture. It has one of the largest and best residence systems in Canada, with a variety of living options for students and 16 different dining venues. There is excellent public transportation around Guelph; the city also has many bike lanes and bike trails and cycling is supported on campus as well.

In partnership with Humber College, the University of Guelph-Humber offers additional courses through the Humber College campus in Toronto. The Ontario Agriculture College has a satellite campus, Ridgetown in southwestern Ontario offering diploma, certificate and apprenticeship programs.


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