Where are they now: Phil Parkes
WHERE HE WAS: Phil Parkes was born on July 14, 1947 in West Bromwich, England.
As a young goalkeeper, Parkes went on to be first choice shot stopper at English side Wolverhampton Wanders in the late 60s and early 70s, making 303 appearances for the club. “Lofty”, as he was called for his big kicks up field, saved a penalty on his debut (November 1966) in a 3-2 win over Preston North End.
“You always remember your first game for the club,” reflected Parkes. “I helped Wolves gain promotion from the second to the first division where I had 14 incredible years playing for the Wanderers.”
In 1967, Parkes accompanied Wolves as they went to the United States to perform as Los Angeles Wolves in the United Soccer Association league and again two years later in a "guest" role, as Wolves represented Kansas City Spurs in the North American Soccer League's (NASL) 1969 mini-season.
WHERE HE WENT: With opportunities limited at Wolves, the goalkeeper returned to North America to play in the NASL with Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the summers of 1976 and 1977 before joining the club on a permanent basis in 1978.
“I jumped at the chance of joining the ‘Caps even though I had offers to go to clubs like Derby and Millwall,” noted Parkes.
Parkes was named the top goalkeeper in the NASL in 1978 and 1979 and remembers the unbelievable atmosphere at Empire Stadium playing in front of sell-out crowds on the way to the 1979 Soccer Bowl victory.
“We had a great set of lads and a real team spirit, which we needed on our way to wins against New York Cosmos, who nobody thought we could beat in the semifinals of our cup run,” proudly stated Parkes.
The big man credits a lot of his success to then manager Tony Waiters, who had him the fittest he had ever been in his career. Parkes pointed out his fond memories of the reception the team received coming home with the NASL Soccer Bowl championship trophy.
Following his time in Vancouver, Parkes went on to play for fellow NASL sides Chicago Sting and San Jose Earthquakes. Afterwards, Parkes went to new American Soccer League club Oklahoma City Slickers before returning to the NASL to finish his playing days at Toronto Blizzard.
WHERE HE IS NOW: Mr. Parkes in now retired back in Wolverhampton, England, and spends most of his time with his two grandsons who are 10 and 11 years of age.
“They both play football and I take them to boxing twice a week, which keeps me busy.”
Phil says he is in good health, and you can find him in Florida every year with golf clubs in hand.