Capital Football boss Heather Reid is stepping down after 12 years in the job.Capital Football chief executive Heather Reid is stepping down from the position after 12 years. Photo: Graham Tidy

Outgoing Capital Football chief executive Heather Reid says the abuse she copped from some quarters took its toll after 12 years in the position.

But the legacy Reid will leave in Canberra football through helping to raise participation levels, bring financial stability to the game’s governing body and increase high-performance pathways will far outweigh the small minority of detractors.

Reid announced on Thursday she will step down from the role she has held since 2004 after Capital Football’s Annual General Meeting at the end of March.

She will take on a consultancy role with Capital Football for 12 months to help with the transition of the new CEO.

Reid’s passion for women’s football, including being the brainchild behind Canberra United’s inclusion in the W-League, often made her the target of those who believed she did not do enough to promote the men’s game.

What they forget is Reid helped bring the Socceroos to Canberra, pushed the city’s case as a host city for last year’s Asian Cup and was essential in the formation of the Canberra United academy.

“The biggest challenge has been people seeing me delivering a message and attacking the person rather than the position that I hold,” Reid said.

“I’ve had to adopt, not necessarily a thick skin, but an approach to dealing with those challenges that hopefully takes a little bit of the pressure off me as a person.

“I’m sure some people on social media will be rejoicing while others will probably be saying it’s a bit of a sad day for Capital Football.”

Reid became the CEO of Capital Football at a time when it had to bring four separate organisations under the one banner.

Soccer has the highest participation rate in Canberra with more than 20,000 players across 47 clubs.

“I’ve turned the organisation around from one that had an overdraft of about $180,000 to one that has a turnover of more than $4 million,” she said.

“We were one of the first competitions to put our hand up for the NPL in the men’s, the FFA Cup and Canberra United in the W-League.

“‘The next step is we really have to seal the pathway for men by having a National Youth League team, then I’ll be very happy of the work that’s been done.”

Reid said she had been discussing her departure with the Capital Football board for some months and believed this was the right time to step aside.

But she has unfinished business to attend to in her consultancy role.

“The board hasn’t actually given me any specific tasks, but I would like to continue the work with the high-performance program and Canberra United and for the work I’ve been doing with the FFA [Football Federation Australia] about a National Youth League team,” she said.

“We’re also working behind the scenes with two A-League clubs about the chances of bringing games to Canberra for the A-League season in the absence of our own A-league team.

“There is a lot of work to be done with the FFA and I hope to continue some of that work.”

FFA chief executive David Gallop paid tribute to Reid’s contribution to the game.

“Heather Reid has made an enormous contribution to grassroots and elite football in Canberra over the last 12 years,” Gallop said.

“She has played a significant role in helping to drive the growth of women’s football.

“She is a passionate administrator who has worked hard for Capital Football over a long period of time.”