Where are they now? The B.C. boys who led Canada to its only World Cup appearance


Few gave the Canadians a lot of an opportunity on the 1986 World Cup, particularly with matches in opposition to established squads Hungary, the Soviet Union and reigning European champions France.

“My concern was that we might be embarrassed with the standard of the group and gamers we had been going in opposition to,” mentioned Canada supervisor Tony Waiters.

Canada held its personal, dropping to France 1-Zero on a late objective, and by 2-Zero counts of their remaining two matches. 

As we speak, that feat of merely reaching the World Cup grows more and more spectacular with every failed qualifying marketing campaign — now up to eight in a row.

The group that did it was an eclectic one which featured gamers with hometowns in 5 completely different provinces in addition to 10 gamers who had been born exterior of the nation.

However Canada’s World Cup squad was constructed on a spine of B.C.-born or -raised gamers — together with its captain and two longest-serving gamers — who comprised 13 of the squad’s 22 roster spots. 

This is a glance again on the group of ’86 and the place its members are in the present day.

The Canadian group that lined up for the World Cup recreation in opposition to Hungary on June 6, 1986. Left to proper standing; Ian Bridge, Randy Samuel, Igor Vrablic, Randy Ragan, Bob Lenarduzzi, Gerry Grey. Entrance row left to proper; Bruce Wilson, Carl Valentine, David Norman, Tino Lettieri, Paul James. Hungary defeated Canada 2-0. (The Related Press)

The Supervisor

Tony Waiters – Supervisor (Southport, U.Okay.)

Tony Waiters — seen in a 1986 promotional photograph at left, and his present LinkedIn picture at proper — stays the only supervisor to lead Canada to the World Cup. (Canada Soccer / Flickr | LinkedIn)

Ceaselessly the coach, Waiters continues to work with younger gamers even on the age of 81.

“You want to assume you’ll be able to depart a little bit of a legacy,” mentioned the previous Vancouver Whitecaps and nationwide group supervisor from his house on the Sunshine Coast.

“When folks say you are the only coach to take Canada to the boys’s World Cup, it isn’t a whole lot of satisfaction actually.”

As a substitute, he is pushed to develop Canada’s subsequent technology of expertise by bringing soccer to the internal metropolis.

“There’s some actual expertise there.”   

The B.C. spine

Bruce Wilson – Defender (Vancouver)

French captain Michel Platini, left, then regarded among the many recreation’s prime gamers, shakes palms with Canadian captain Bruce Wilson forward of their Group C World Cup match on June 1, 1986 in León, Mexico. (Canada Soccer / Flickr)

The Canadian captain retired after the World Cup and a yr later signed on to coach the College of Victoria’s males’s soccer group.

Three nationwide titles and two coach of the yr awards later, he is set to enter his 31st season with the Vikes this fall.

“If I can go one other 30 years I will be actually completely happy.”

‘I’ve by no means had a foul day at work. I take pleasure in going to coaching,’ says former Canada captain Bruce Wilson of his longtime teaching job on the College of Victoria. (College of Victoria)

Mike Sweeney – Midfielder (Duncan, B.C., raised in Squamish, B.C.)

‘You’re a younger group, you’re actually in heaven to be there,’ mentioned Mike Sweeney of his Mexico ’86 expertise. He is now the membership director for a youth soccer academy in Cleveland. (Canada Soccer / Flickr | Cleveland Whitecaps)

After taking part in, Sweeney moved to Ohio and centered on teaching. He is the longtime membership director of the Cleveland Whitecaps, a youth academy cheekily named for his former Vancouver group. 

“There’s only a few folks right here who catch the tag.” 

Bob Lenarduzzi – Defender (Vancouver) 

Lenarduzzi managed the boys’s nationwide group between 1993 and ’98, labored in media and has been part of the Vancouver Whitecaps for almost 4 a long time and at present serves as group president.

Dale Mitchell – Ahead (Vancouver)

Mitchell managed each the Whitecaps and the Canadian nationwide males’s group and is now a technical director with a Coquitlam youth soccer membership.

Ian Bridge – Defender (Victoria)

Bridge managed a number of groups post-retirement, and has been an assistant coach for the College of Nebraska ladies’s squad since 2015.

Randy Samuel – Defender (Trinidad and Tobago, raised in Richmond, B.C.)

Samuel is listed on-line as a coach for a number of Decrease Mainland youth groups lately.

Defender Randy Samuel, proper, chases down a French opponent throughout Canada’s opening recreation of World Cup ’86 in Leon, Mexico. (AFP / Getty Pictures)

David Norman – Midfielder (Scotland, raised in Coquitlam, B.C.)

Norman works as an insurance coverage advisor and was a color commentator for Whitecaps radio broadcasts till final season. His son, David Norman Jr.,  signed with the Whitecaps in December 2017.

Jamie Lowery – Midfielder (Port Alberni, B.C.)

After taking part in, Lowery returned to Vancouver Island, the place his LinkedIn web page signifies he just lately labored as a transit operator with B.C. Transit.

Geroge Pakos – Ahead (Victoria)

After the World Cup, Pakos returned to work for the Metropolis of Victoria, the place he’s retired.

The veterans

Carl Valentine – Ahead (Manchester, U.Okay.)

Ahead Carl Valentine, seen in motion in opposition to France, began all three video games for Canada at Mexico ’86. (Canada Soccer / Flickr)

Valentine settled in Vancouver post-retirement and has labored with the Whitecaps as membership ambassador since 2010.

“I get to meet lots of people that supported me as a 20 yr previous. And, I get to thank them now since you do not actually admire it if you’re 20.”

‘I get to be concerned with the membership that’s been part of my life since I’ve been an grownup of 20,’ mentioned Carl Valentine of his function with the Vancouver Whitecaps. (Bob Frid / Vancouver Whitecaps)

Tino Lettieri – Goalkeeper (Bari, Italy)

The vibrant former Whitecaps netminder, identified for putting his stuffed parrot Ozzie inside his objective, lives within the Minneapolis space the place he owns a pizza restaurant that bears his identify. His son Vinni made his NHL debut late final season with the New York Rangers.

Randy Ragan – Midfielder (Excessive Prairie, Alta.)

The former SFU participant retired final yr after serving eight seasons as coach of the College of Guelph Gryphons ladies’s soccer group.

Branko Segota – Ahead (Rijeka, Yugoslavia)

Segota now lives in Florida, in accordance to his Fb profile.

Gerry Grey – Midfielder (Glasgow, U.Okay.)

Grey moved to the Seattle space post-retirement, grew to become a United States citizen in 2004 and runs his personal retirement and insurance coverage enterprise.

The younger stars

Paul James – Midfielder (Cardiff, U.Okay.)

Paul James (left) and Randy Samuel have fun Canada’s 2-1 win over Honduras in St. John’s on this 1985 file photograph. The win helped propel the Canadians to the 1986 World Cup. James has launched an e-book about his struggles with substance abuse. (Michael Creagan/Canadian Press)

James coached York College to a nationwide title in 2008, however was later faraway from the job after admitting to crack cocaine use. Final January, he went on a starvation strike to draw consideration to the stigma of drug dependancy.

“I want to carry what’s invisible to folks, seen,” he informed CBC final yr.

“We’d like folks to come ahead, however how can they if there’s a lot worry.”

Igor Vrablic – Ahead (Bratislava, Czechoslovakia)

Vrablic, only 20 in 1986, had his younger profession derailed quickly after the World Cup when he was accused of taking cash to throw video games at a event in Singapore. He was final reported residing in southern Ontario.

Paul Dolan – Goalkeeper (Ottawa, raised in Port Moody, B.C.)

Dolan is a color commentator for Whitecaps radio broadcasts and likewise works in gross sales for Umbro Canada.

The reserves

Sven Habermann – Goalkeeper (West Berlin, West Germany, raised in Vancouver)

Sven Habermann owned a number of soccer shops and offered vehicles earlier than creating his personal safety merchandise enterprise. (Canada Soccer / Flickr | Equipped)

Habermann was amongst a gaggle of reserve gamers who watched the event from Vancouver, realizing their only likelihood at taking part in in Mexico was an damage to a teammate. 

“We had a number of pints as a result of we knew we might have 48 hours to get sober once more.”

Publish-retirement, a detailed encounter with a bear close to his Maple Ridge, B.C., house inspired him to flip his entrepreneurial streak towards self-defence.

He developed the Twister, a quick-release pepper spray, and efficiently pitched the product on the hit present Dragon’s Den.

“It was the primary time I used to be ever actually nervous,” he mentioned of showing earlier than the Dragons. “You worry getting torn aside by these guys.”

A detox supply enterprise search for a pure companion; an artist hopes her Disney dream does not flip right into a nightmare; and married entrepreneurs hope to benefit from a golden alternative. Plus; a pepper spray entrepreneur hopes he does not fend off an funding. 7:10

Greg Ion – Midfielder (Vancouver)

The former Vancouver 86er coaches at an Arizona youth soccer academy.

Terry Moore – Defender (Moncton, N.B.)

Moore spent a lot of his life in Northern Eire and coached that nation’s group within the 2016 Homeless World Cup.

Pasquale de Luca – Defender / Midfielder (Edmonton)

His present whereabouts are unclear however de Luca coached the Edmonton Drillers of the Canadian Main Indoor Soccer League till it folded in 2012.

Colin Miller – Defender (Hamilton, U.Okay., raised in Vancouver)

Miller would go on to captain Staff Canada and twice function its interim supervisor. The Decrease Mainland resident is now the top of improvement for the Abbotsford Soccer Affiliation.




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