International News

U SPORTS proudly announced Wednesday that Julie Dionne, Director of Athletics at Laval has been appointed Team Canada’s Chef de Mission for the Torino 2025 FISU Winter World University Games, while Karla Karch, Director of Athletics for Mount Royal has been appointed as Chef de Mission for the Rhine-Ruhr 2025 FISU Summer World University Games.

Dionne and Karch will represent Canada for a second time at the World University Games, both having previously served as part of the mission staff for the Naples 2019 FISU Summer Universiade.

“Julie and Karla are the perfect choices to lead our Canadian delegation on the world stage,” said Lisette Johnson-Stapley, Chief Sport Officer at U SPORTS. “After serving as members of Team Canada’s mission staff in the summer of 2019, and gaining impressive operational experience over several years with the Rouge et Or and Cougars, they have earned the opportunity to take the next step with our international program. We are excited for both to be able to represent us with pride over the coming years and to lead our outstanding student-athletes so they can perform their best on the global platform.”

Julie Dionne, Torino 2025 FISU Winter World University Games

Julie Dionne has served as Laval’s athletic director since 2017. Propelled by her passion for university sports, she oversees one of the largest university sports complexes in the country–the PEPS–and the renowned Rouge et Or program, known for its excellence and robust history. Before taking on her role at Laval, she served as executive director of the Réseau du Sport Étudiant du Québec in the Québec-Chaudière-Appalaches region, an adventure that led her to her dream job.

Julie Dionne first broke into her career in sports as a basketball coach. After five seasons as a player with the Rouge et Or women’s basketball team in the early 2000s, she spent 12 years at the helm of multiple scholastic and collegiate level women’s basketball teams. Notably, she led her team to a national title in her three final years as head coach of the Cégep de Sainte-Foy Dynamiques–a role she held from 2005 to 2010.

“To be able to partake in the FISU World University Games in Torino as Team Canada’s chef de mission is an incredible opportunity. As someone who’s very passionate, I’m excited to experience the rhythm of the competition and our student athletes, while showcasing my skills as a leader and team mobilizer. It’s a challenge that I look forward to taking on and that will enhance the experience I had as a mission team member at the 2019 Summer Universiade in Naples.”


Karla Karch, Rhine-Ruhr 2025 FISU Summer World University Games

Karla Karch's journey epitomizes excellence in sports leadership. From her roots as a Canadian student-athlete to her illustrious tenure as a national team member, professional player, coach, and sports administrator spanning over two decades, Karla's dedication to athletic achievement is exceptional.

As a distinguished member of the Canadian National Basketball Team for 15 years, Karla proudly represented her country in over 200 competitions, including two Olympic Games and multiple World Championships. Transitioning seamlessly into coaching, she guided diverse age groups and provincial teams to victory, culminating in a gold medal triumph at the 2009 Canada Summer Games.

Karla's administrative acumen shines through her role as the Director of Athletics and Recreation at Mount Royal, where she oversees compliance, program management, and strategic planning. Her extensive involvement with U SPORTS and the Canada West conference demonstrates her commitment to advancing sports at regional and national levels, while her international experience, including participation in the 2019 FISU Summer World University Games, underscores her global perspective and dedication to high-performance sports.

“I am extremely honoured to be selected to lead the Canadian delegation at the FISU Summer World University Games. I have had the privilege of representing our country as a student-athlete for three Universiades [now Summer World University Games] and to have been part of the Mission staff at the 30th Summer Universiade in 2019. To be selected as the Chef de Mission is a dream of mine and I am thankful for this opportunity. To represent our nation is something that so few get to do. I’m thrilled to be able to wear our maple leaf and to contribute to such a memorable experience for our Canadian student-athletes and coaches and excited to work with incredible mission staff from across Canada to provide all those who are part of Team Canada with a great experience in Rhine-Ruhr, Germany."

With a passion for nurturing talent and a proven track record of success, both Dionne and Karch are poised to lead as the Chef de Mission for the 2025 FISU World University Games, inspiring the next generation of athletes to reach new heights of excellence.