Vancouver Whitecaps FC are mourning the loss of Harry Christie, an integral contributor to the original 1974 Vancouver Whitecaps squad. During the inception of the club, Christie assisted head coach Jim Easton in organizing the first Whitecaps team to participate in the old North American Soccer League (NASL).
"Harry introduced Jim to the British Columbian players who primarily made up the roster for that team," said Bob Lenarduzzi, member of the 1974 Vancouver Whitecaps and now president of Whitecaps FC. "We maintained contact over the years and it was sad to hear of his passing. Our condolences go out to his family."
Christie enjoyed a long and illustrious soccer career after arriving in Vancouver from Scotland. He was involved in the group behind the formation of the Vancouver Royals Soccer Club back in the late 1960's.
During that time, he worked with soccer greats like Bobby Robson, who went on to coach England's national team for 11 years, as well as several prestigious European professional clubs, and Jackie Charlton, who was a member of the England squad that won the 1966 FIFA World Cup before coaching several English clubs and the Republic of Ireland national team.
Christie continued to act as technical director for the British Columbia Soccer Association at a time of heightened growth in the game when appreciation for coaching increased significantly. As is the case today, British Columbia was a leader in the sport of soccer across Canada during that period.
As the technical director and head coach for BC Soccer, he coached British Columbia to a gold medal at the Canada Summer Games in 1973.
He worked with coach Eddie Firmani at the time, who later became head coach of the famous New York Cosmos, inviting Christie to become chief scout for the NASL club. Christie remained with the Cosmos for seven years during which he worked with superstars like Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, and others.
Having been deeply involved in the Canadian and British Columbia Soccer Associations’ Development Programs for over 50 years, Christie created a legacy of excellence that benefits players and coaches in Canada to this day.
As one of the original pioneers of 'The Beautiful Game', he left an indelible mark on our sport and will be greatly missed.