Spit flies across the synthetic turf as Langara Falcons’ soccer coach Marc Rizzardo screams at his players to hustle during a drill. The men obey him because they know his legacy – he led the Falcons for 22 seasons straight with an impressive 137-56-35 record, but in 2009, he quit.
“I was getting really involved with the Olympics at the time. My wife had just gone through breast cancer and I wanted to spend more time with her,” Rizzardo said.
“But she’s healthy and everything’s good now.”
Rizzardo was chief therapist at the 2010 Games
Rizzardo was chief therapist for the Canadian Olympic Team at the 2010 Games, so health plays an important role in his life.
“It was exciting being around the city. It was never going to happen again in my lifetime,” Rizzardo said.
He reprised the role for the 2012 Games in London.
“The whole city became alive. I was extremely happy I was able to bring my family,” Rizzardo said.
Rizzardo spends off-time as physiotherapy consultant
Managing Rizzardo’s schedule could be an Olympic event itself. When he’s not coaching the Falcons or healing Olympians, he runs a physiotherapy clinic in Burnaby.
Rizzardo is also a director for SportsMedBC and a physiotherapy consultant for Riverdance Dance Company. Lately, he’s been regularly hosting a concussion management workshop and working on a book about soccer and sports injuries. It’s a small miracle he was able to find the time to return to the Falcons last April.
“Obviously I take time away from my clinic to do it, but it’s enjoyable,” Rizzardo said.
“The players are great. I like the age group and they’re very fast. We have a lot of pace. Right now we have some guys that are hurt but the other guys are stepping up. We’re hoping that continues.”
Rizzardo isn’t sure if he’ll participate in the 2014 Games in Sochi, but plans to be at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next summer. He hopes the Falcons, who are currently second place in the PacWest league, advance to the nationals this year.
Most people would be worn down with so much on the go, but Rizzardo embraces it. “I can’t complain,” he said.
“My life’s pretty good.”
Reported by Nick Eagland