John De Souza is one of the most well known people in field hockey across Ontario. He has not only been a national team player and coach, he's also served as a board member of Field Hockey Ontario and Field Hockey Canada, he's facilitated the creation of new leagues, has inspired generations of players and coaches and continues to give back to our sport time and time again. Notably, Johnny has been involved with coaching UofT since 1990.
Johnny was an assistant to legendary coach Liz Hoffman as well as coaching veteran and current U of T director of intercollegiate and high performance sport, Beth Ali. In 1998 Johnny took on the role of head coach when Beth went on sabbatical and then he took on the role again in 2007. He's coached 192 games at UofT and has a whopping 155 wins.
Known for arriving at training in his OPP gear, bringing his four boys to games and training, Johnny epitomizes 'Bleeding Blue'. Johnny's voice can be heard over screaming fans and the umpires whistle - his coaching style is passionate, pragmatic and dedicated. He coached the Blues to 13 OUA championship titles, CIS bronze and silver medals and most recently CIS gold medal performances in 2007 and 2010. Johnny has also coached numerous players to go on to represent Canada on the indoor and outdoor national teams. But beyond performance, Johnny coaches his players to be good humans - to dedicate themselves, to use passion to drive success, to respect him, each other and the game and to give back to the hockey community as he does.
'The Varsity Blues athletes who played for Johnny De Sousa over the past 27 years would consider him an absolute legend! His ability to develop relationships with his athletes is truly remarkable. Whether it was a nationally carded athlete or someone working hard at practice to play 15 minutes, he focused on a person's strengths, helping them to be their very best for the team. Johnny saw the big picture and shared a reciprocal respect with every athlete who played for him. His passion and commitment to Varsity Blues Field Hockey is as bright as his smile and pure heart. His presence, sacrifice, leadership, vision, skills, stories, analysis and sleepless nights coaching, are directly related to the Blues success and will be forever engrained in the team's rich history. He made incredible sacrifices to drive the Blues success year after year. He never missed a game or practice; rain or shine, despite a busy career and growing family, his commitment never faltered even if that meant bringing a baby to practice or on a road trip. On behalf of Varsity Blues alumni everywhere we are forever grateful to have been coached by Johnny and for all that he has taught us about the game and life. I wish him and his beautiful family, health and happiness in his retirement.' - Amanda Treacy, Varsity Blues Athlete, 2003 - 2008
Johnny played provincially for 13 years and was a national team player for seven years, as well as a member of G.O.A. field hockey club. As a player, De Souza represented Canada at the 1995 Pan American Games and was an assistant coach on 2007 gold-medal winning Pan American Games men’s field hockey team that represented Canada at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. He was the head coach of the men’s national indoor field hockey team that finish seventh at the 2007 World Cup in Vienna, Austria, and head coach of the women's national indoor field hockey team that finished ninth at the 2015 World Cup in Leipzig, Germany.
Johnny will be sorely missed at UofT, but we will no doubt continue to hear and feel his passion for the sport in his ongoing dedication to the sport across Ontario and Canada. Congratulations Johnny on an incredibly successful career at UofT.
Anyone interested in applying to fill Johnny's huge shoes, please see this posting from UofT