By Simon Fudge/whitecapsfc.com
Vancouver Whitecaps FC are mourning the passing of former striker and soccer sportscaster Brian Budd on Wednesday. He was 56.
Born in Toronto, Budd was raised in Delta, BC, and was a member of the original Whitecaps side that started playing in the old North American Soccer League (NASL) back in 1974. In four seasons with the Whitecaps, Budd scored seven goals and recorded seven assists in 52 appearances for the club before moving to the Colorado Caribous for their only NASL season in 1978. Spells with Toronto Metros-Croatia/Toronto Blizzard and Houston Hurricane followed before he ended his NASL career in 1980.
Budd scored two goals in seven international appearances for Canada, with one of those goals coming in a World Cup qualifying win over the United States in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on December 22, 1976, as the Canadians defeated the Americans 3-0. He also played professional indoor soccer before hanging up his boots in the early 1980's.
The striker is probably most famous for winning three-straight Canadian and World Superstars championships between 1978 and 1980, as he excelled in athletic competition against top professional and Olympic athletes.
He remained in soccer as a broadcaster, first serving as a colour commentator for the NASL's Toronto Blizzard, and as a radio reporter covering the 1982 World Cup in Spain. In more recent years, soccer fans have got to know Budd through his work as a soccer analyst with the Canadian all-sports cable network called The Score.
His sudden passing came as a shock to former teammate and current Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi. "He'd probably be the first to tell you that he wasn't the most skillful of players, but he had a big heart and a great work rate, as well as having great athleticism," Lenarduzzi told whitecapsfc.com. "He also had the ability to get better in a sport that he apparently only started playing when he was 16 or 17 years old. For him to achieve what he did in the game is a credit to his ability to work at the things that he needed to work on in order to play soccer professionally."
Lenarduzzi also remembers Budd's colourful character. "He was also a guy that, if you were in a room full of 100 people, he'd be the guy you would hear above everybody else," he said. "He was the life of the party and lived life to the fullest. He played hard and worked hard, so when someone like that who approached life in that manner passes suddenly, it is even a greater shock. Today is a sad day for the soccer community in Canada, and more so for the family he has left behind, so our condolences go out to them."
Budd is survived by his wife Brenda, his son and daughter.
Brian Budd passes away – The Globe and Mail
Canadian soccer voice Budd dead at 56 – The Canadian Press
Canadian soccer icon dead at 56 - Toronto Sun