Over the course of the history of Vancouver Whitecaps FC, a number of players who have played for the club at one point or another have also represented their country at the FIFA World Cup. As we approach the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, we will feature players of years’ past who made it to soccer’s pinnacle event.
Who better to start with than one of the ‘Caps all-time legends. The native of Manchester, England began his career as a 17-year-old striker for Oldham Athletic in England before arriving in Vancouver in 1979. His stay in Vancouver led to a combined 17 seasons as a player or manager for the Whitecaps and 86ers, and to his current role as club ambassador for the MLS incarnation of the club.
Valentine ranks first all-time for the club in both matches played (409) and assists (69), while sitting fourth in goals (65).
In the NASL era, the speedy winger scored 44 times in 165 appearances for the Whitecaps between 1979 and 1984, helping the club famously win the 1979 Soccer Bowl.
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With the 86ers, Valentine won four straight Canadian Soccer League championships from 1988 to 1991, and served as 86ers head coach from 1994 to 1999.
From 1985 to 1993, Valentine appeared in 31 matches for the Canadian men’s national team, scoring one goal for the Red and White. In his national team debut, Valentine assisted on both goals via corner kicks in Canada’s 2-1 defeat over Honduras at King George V Park in St. Johns, Newfoundland & Labrador to send Canada to their first and only FIFA World Cup.
The converted Canadian went on to start all three Group B matches at the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico, facing France, Hungary, and the Soviet Union.
Valentine was one of 14 players on Canada’s World Cup team who spent time with the ‘Caps or 86ers, and you’ll learn more about them all as we continue along.
FUN FACT: Valentine was one of the inaugural four inductees into the Whitecaps FC Ring of Honour in 2014.