When Shafeed Rahman moved from Fiji to Prince George in 1975, he was looking for a new opportunity in a new country. Soccer was big back home, and he saw potential for the growth of the game in Prince George. Through his efforts, he helped turn soccer into one of the most popular sports in the city. With his assistance, organized soccer in Prince George experienced a boom. Today, the city has indoor and outdoor leagues for youth players, men and women.
More than 30 years after Rahman settled here, he is being recognized with membership in the Prince George Sports Hall of Fame as a coach and builder.
“I guess it is probably one of the greatest honours that the community of Prince George has bestowed on me and I am very thankful,” he said. “What else can I say? It’s quite an honour so I’m very, very pleased with it.”
Rahman, born in Fiji in 1946, had an impact on several different bodies of soccer within Prince George and also worked with the B.C. Soccer Association and Canadian Soccer Association.
In his involvement with the Prince George Youth Soccer Association, Rahman was a referee and worked on the board of directors. He organized and coordinated the first and second Interior Provincial B Cup tournaments in 1988 and 1991. Rahman also initiated the plan for new fields and a clubhouse for the PGYSA. Still with the youth game, he coached girls soccer at Blackburn junior secondary, where he was a teacher. Rahman initiated the Blackburn Cup secondary school tournament, a 16-team competition that ran successfully from 1981 to 1986.
At the senior level in Prince George, Rahman worked as an assistant coordinator for the men’s and women’s soccer competition at the 1990 B.C. Summer Games. He was also on the committee for the Vancouver 86ers trip to Prince George in 1992 and coordinated the 2001 Provincial Cup hosted by the North Cariboo Senior Soccer League. Rahman was also heavily involved in indoor soccer. He was president of the B.C. Indoor Soccer League from 2001 to 2003.
Provincially. Rahman was on the BCSA board of directors and served on committees for interior development, mini soccer, player development, provincial regional meetings and BCSA awards. He was the B.C. delegate to the Washington State Soccer Association for its annual general meeting in 1993 and also served in that capacity for the 2000 CSA annual general meeting in Montreal. Rahman was a director in charge of the B.C. Under-17 team that went to the national championships in Hamilton in 1993 and filled the same role with the B.C. Under-19 girls squad that participated in the 1994 national championships in Sherbrooke.
At the national level, Rahman was the B.C. representative for the CSA’s competition committee. He also founded and coordinated the first national masters tournament.
“I guess when I moved from the district level to the provincial level and eventually to the Canadian Soccer Association, I was able to bring some of the major tournaments to Prince George – the (girls Under-15 and Under-17 national championships in 2001) and the (1994) Rocky Mountain Cup,” he said. “I also emphasized (for) Prince George that it has one of the best facilities, and it was about time the soccer community in Canada started recognizing some of these very well-organized interior soccer associations. That probably would be my greatest contribution, and the other thing was building the (local youth) association.”
Awards Rahman has received include: the Blackburn Award of Merit; the Prince George Sports Citizen of the Month; the B.C. Youth Soccer Association Award of Merit; the PGYSA President’s Cup; Life Member of the B.C. Soccer Association; B.C. Indoor Soccer League Award of Merit; City of Prince George Award of Merit; and Life Member of the PGYSA.
Rahman retired from a 32-year teaching career in 2004. In addition to his time at Blackburn, he spent his last five years teaching at Prince George secondary school.