Where are they now: Roger Kenyon

After near-death, English defender won '79 NASL title with 'Caps

WHERE HE WAS: Roger Kenyon was born January 4, 1949 in Blackpool, England, where he played his youth soccer. 

At the age of 15, Kenyon joined Everton FC where he played 267 games as a central defender, scoring six goals. Kenyon joined the club during one of their best spells under manager Harry Catterick, winning the league in the 1969-1970 season. 

“It was memorable times under Harry and I got to play with some great players like World Cup winners Alan Ball and Ray Wilson,” remembers Kenyon. “I also had the chance to learn from Toffee legends Brian Labone and Howard Kendall, who went on to manage Everton.” 

After his time with Everton, Kenyon moved on to play for Whitecaps FC in 1979. He almost didn't make it to Vancouver though. For that tale, you'll have to read this Forgotten Story.

WHERE HE WENT: Kenyon's decision to come to Vancouver came from talking to ‘Caps manager Tony Waiters and defender John Craven, who he would form a great partnership with in central defense.

“I remember how beautiful the city was, how brilliant the crowds were, and what a great team that we had,” noted Kenyon. “One thing that really stood out for me was how outstanding the Canadian lads were.”

Kenyon was on the field for Whitecaps FC in some of the biggest matches of that era, including the epic semifinal win over New York Cosmos.

“That was more memorable to me than the final against Tampa Bay,” said Kenyon. “It was a strong New York team we had to beat with World Cup winners Franz Beckenbaur (Germany), and Carlos Alberto (Brazil). I also remember playing against Giorgio Chinaglia (Italy) who was tearing up the league that year, but John and I kept him quiet. I think he was a little intimidated by us as he kept talking to us and trying to make friends.”

WHERE HE IS NOW: After another season with the ‘Caps, Roger went back to England where he retired from football and went into the pub trade for 17 years.

“I also tried my hand at a night club, which was very successful, but it nearly killed me,” said Kenyon. “It really was a young man’s game with all the drinking and fighting that I had to endure.”

After some years of public speaking and organizing events with sports personalities, Roger has settled down and is working for Chester Council Highways and attending the odd Everton game. And of course, still cheering on the ‘Caps.