Vancouver Whitecaps FC are mourning the passing of former general manager John Best. He was 74.
After joining the club as general manager in 1977, Best played an integral role in building the club’s famous 1979 NASL Soccer Bowl championship team. Among his best moves as general manager was hiring Tony Waiters as head coach, with Waiters also going on to coach Canada’s men’s national team to their first and only FIFA World Cup appearance in 1986.
“His arrival coincided with the rise of our club,” said current president and former player Bob Lenarduzzi. “Looking back on it, I realize how much time he put into growing the club and speaking to different groups. He was very articulate. He used to tell me that you have to win fans over one at a time, and that’s exactly what he did. Not only that, but also made some very significant moves to help our squad on the field. He played a massive part in elevating professional soccer in the Pacific Northwest.”
During his playing days in North America, the native of Liverpool, England, was a five-time NASL All-Star and a member of the 1971 NASL Soccer Bowl champion Dallas Tornado. After retiring, Best became the first ever coach of Seattle Sounders in 1974 and later returned as GM of the Sounders in 1982.
Whitecaps FC wish to offer our condolences to the Best family at this difficult time.