Jim Nicholson – Builder

Originally from Bambridge, Northern Ireland, Jim Nicholson and his family of five children would move to Prince Albert in 1975 which forever changed the sport of soccer in the city. He became deeply involved in soccer from coaching to administration to promotion over the next decades.

Nicholson began coaching his children at the youth level, both boys and girls. In 1984 Nicholson led the Prince Albert boys zone team to a gold medal at the Saskatchewan Summer Games in North Battleford. He joined the Carlton Comprehensive High School Crusaders teams, again both male and female and was an assistant coach of the 1993 Provincial Girls Gold medal winning squad. In addition he would coach the PA Flyers men’s team in the recreational league for many seasons.

To say Jim Nicholson is known around the province in the soccer world would be an understatement! He was heavily involved with the Saskatchewan Soccer Association (SSA) for many years in many different roles. He became a certified Provincial referee from 1980-86, officiating in many Provincial, National and Western Canada Games matches. He then shared that knowledge as a Provincial Referee Instructor and Assessor from 1986-2006.

At the SSA board level, Jim Nicholson was a Director from 1980-95, then Vice President from 1995-99, culminating as President from 1999-2003. This dedication has earned Nicholson a Lifetime Membership in the SSA. He was named the David Newsham Award recipient in 2006, awarded to an individual who has made an outstanding volunteer contribution as a coach, official, manager, administrator, or board volunteer that has positively affected the development of soccer on a provincial scale or over the course of their career in Saskatchewan.

Nicholson also would be front and centre at many Provincial, National and International events in the world of soccer. He would be the SSA rep at numerous Provincial Championship and National All-Star tournaments. He was also involved on numerous Canada Soccer Committees from Referee Development to Competition Committees. Nicholson also was the Canada Soccer rep internationally in events in Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and the United States.

Throughout his career Nicholson had a reputation of promoting Saskatchewan players, coaches and officials at every available opportunity they could get to be in front of National Team representatives. One example of this was Nicholson’s involvement as a key organizer of a 2 game exhibition series between the Chinese and Canadian National Women’s teams in Saskatoon in September, 2001. Unfortunately, 9/11 occurred just before the event, prompting the Chinese side to return home. Nicholson realized the Canadian Women’s program almost had enough players in Saskatoon to create 2 sides, so he provided an opportunity for top Saskatchewan players to round out the sides and play 2 exhibition games. Again this was an opportunity to be seen by National Program personnel for the Saskatchewan players.

Jim Nicholson was an incredible builder of the sport of soccer in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and across Canada.