Dara (Moore) Ramirez

2016daramooreramirezDara (Moore) Ramirez (’92) has been involved in sport nearly all her life, but soccer is her passion and she has made an indelible mark as an athlete, coach and builder at Acadia University, in her home province of Nova Scotia, and beyond.

The Hantsport, Nova Scotia native arrived at Acadia as a walk-on to play for Acadia in 1987 by legendary coach and Acadia Sports Hall of Fame member Laura Sanders. Ramirez was a key part of landmark teams that won five straight Atlantic University Sport championships, from 1987 to 1991, a 1988 CIAU silver medal and the Atlantic conference’s first CIAU national championship in 1990.

In 1989, Ramirez had a breakout season and was recognized as a CIAU All-Canadian. It was also the year that the Axettes hosted the National Championship at Acadia and lost in a heartbreaking semi-final game.

In the 1990 campaign, Ramirez was named as Acadia’s female athlete of the year and the Axettes earned national recognition, going 12-0, scoring 52 goals and allowing only one en route to the University’s first CIAU women’s soccer title.

Entering the AUAA playoffs ranked #1 in the country, the Axettes defeated Mt. Allison 1-0 in semi-final action and St. Mary’s 1-0 for the conference title. Subsequently, at Raymond Field against Sir Wilfrid Laurier in semi-final action for the coveted national title, the Axettes won on penalty kicks. Tied 1-1 at the end of regulation time, the AUAA champs won 5-4 on sudden-death penalty kicks, with Ramirez notching the winner.

For national championship play, Acadia traveled west to meet the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. The Axettes and Thunderbirds battled through regulation time and two 15-minute overtime sessions before Acadia won 4-2 on penalty kicks. Ramirez again registered the winner while Marjean Leighton, conference all-star, Kryan Pinfold and Cindy Montgomerie, the latter the Conference’s rookie-of-the-year, scored the others.

It was in her fifth and final season in 1991 that Ramirez and the Axettes won a fifth consecutive AUAA championship. She was named All-Conference and the second time as an All-Canadian.

Ramirez was an assistant soccer coach at Acadia in 1992 then joined Dalhousie in 1993, where she mentored under National Team coach Neil Turnbull and helped to capture three straight Atlantic University Sport championships, two CIAU silver medals and a CIAU national championship.  In 1997, she became head coach, earning three consecutive Atlantic University Sport championships, a CIAU bronze medal in 1998 and a CIAU national championship in 1999.

In 2000, she became Acadia’s head coach and stayed in that position for eight seasons, leaving in 2009 to take an ESL teaching position at the American University of Iraq in Kurdistan to reunite her family and be with her husband, Juan Ramirez from Colombia, whom she met during the Gunn Baldursson soccer tournament in 1998. While in Iraq, Ramirez was instrumental in starting a women’s varsity soccer program that still exists today! Additionally, Ramirez has helped develop young players throughout the Annapolis Valley over the past 20 years and continues to coach successful teams to this day.

Dara is one of only a handful of CIS coaches – past and present – that has captured the National Championship in three different roles: as a player, an assistant coach and head coach.

The couple has four children: two sons and two daughters. Ramirez works for the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board in educational support, has a National B License-Level 4 coaching certificate and is president of Valley District Soccer and Valley United Soccer Club.

The Acadia Sports Hall of Fame is pleased to induct, in the athlete category, CIAU championship-winning and Acadia athlete-of-the-year Dara (Moore) Ramirez