“So why the book? Good question.
Maybe because I will talk soccer with anyone, anywhere. Always have, always will, partially to promote the sport, partially because when two soccer fans get together the topic kicks in almost instantly. In the process, old memories bob to the surface: the fun times, the sad times, the laughter, the madcap, unbelievable North American Soccer League (NASL) days when the original Vancouver Whitecaps took the city by storm and by the heart.”
Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Harbour Publishing are pleased to announce that Bob Lenarduzzi: A Canadian Soccer Story will soon be arriving at a bookstore near you. The book will be available in all major bookstores in the Lower Mainland, including: Black Bond Books, Book Warehouse, Coles, Chapters, Hager Books, Indigo, People’s Co-op Bookstore, Smithbooks, UBC Bookstore and BC Ferries gift shops, as well as at additional bookstores outside the Lower Mainland.
Few Canadians love soccer as much or have done more for the sport than Bob Lenarduzzi. He’s been a player, coach, general manager and is now president of the most ambitious project in BC soccer history. In Bob Lenarduzzi: A Canadian Soccer Story, co-authors Bob Lenarduzzi and veteran sports journalist Jim Taylor reflect on his lifelong passion.
“Jim has been a journalist since the beginning of my playing days and I’ve always greatly enjoyed his writing,” said Lenarduzzi. “It was such a pleasure to sit down and chronicle my journey with him. My hope is that people will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed sharing it.”
The book includes full details of Lenarduzzi’s soccer career -- from his beginnings playing pick-up games with his brothers at Callister Park in East Vancouver, to playing professional soccer with Reading FC in England, to his early career with the Vancouver Whitecaps and the team’s heady 1979 victory when they won the North American Soccer League championship. He talks about what it was like to play on the first Canadian team to make it to a FIFA World Cup final and describes his experiences as a coach and player for the Vancouver 86ers.
“Writing this book took longer than we figured because we kept needing giggle breaks as each remembered tale of the original Whitecaps triggered a dozen more,” said Taylor. “As the new ’Caps write bold new chapters, it’s been a joy to recall and record the legends who sank the roots that made it possible.”
Not to be missed are Lenarduzzi’s reflections on the future of the sport in Canada and the stories about the players, coaches and managers that have made a life in soccer so remarkable. We meet founding owner Herb Capozzi, who enjoyed the limelight and liked to dream up outrageous, attention-grabbing stunts; coach Eckhard Krautzun, who would randomly visit players’ residences and check the fridge to see if they were eating properly; and players like John “Cravo” Craven-- who was so tough he once played part of a game with a broken leg--and Alan Hinton, who was less than fit but took free kicks so accurately that the Vancouver Sun reported “When Alan Hinton put a corner kick on your head, he’d give you your choice of eyebrows.”
Lenarduzzi, now president of Vancouver Whitecaps FC, the seventeenth club in Major League Soccer, is set on rekindling the fires that warmed the old Whitecaps, their fans, and the city. His story is one of complete focus and dedication and a testament that perseverance and drive can help you realize your dream.
Bob Lenarduzzi has been a Vancouver sports icon for over two decades, involved in the sport of soccer as a player, coach, and general manager and representative of Canada at World Cup and Olympic levels. Lenarduzzi has been inducted into the Soccer Hall of Fame, United Soccer League’s Hall of Fame, the North American Soccer Hall of Fame and the BC Sports Hall of Fame. He is also a recipient of the Order of British Columbia.
Veteran sports writer Jim Taylor met the young Lenarduzzi when he was just nineteen years old and witnessed much of his soccer career. Taylor even accompanied Canada’s National soccer team during their World Cup bids. Over a career that stretches more than five decades, Taylor has produced some 7,500 sports columns, three times as many radio shows and fifteen books. His passionate sports writing has earned him membership in the CFL and BC Sports Hall of Fame, and a lifetime achievement award from Sports Media Canada. He is also the recipient of the 2010 Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement award for journalism. His recent books include And to Think I got in Free: Highlights from Fifty Years on the Sports Beat, Hello, Sweetheart? Gimmie Rewrite! and One More Time!: The Dal Richards Story (with Dal Richards). As well, Jim has co-authored many sports memoirs including Man in Motion (with Rick Hansen), Wayne Gretzky: The Authorized Pictorial Biography, Greg Moore: A Legacy of Spirit (with Dan Proudfoot and Gordon Kirby), and Goin’ Deep: The Life and Times of a CFL Quarterback (with Matt Dunigan).