World Cup 'Caps: Alan Ball

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 a player of years’ past who made it to soccer’s pinnacle event.


A legend with both Whitecaps FC and the England national team, Alan Ball will long be remembered. Born in Farnworth, Lancashire, Ball played for Ashton United, Blackpool, Everton, Arsenal, and Southampton in his home country. He then spent a season on loan to NASL side Philadelphia Fury before joining the ‘Caps in 1979.

For club

Ball scored 10 goals in 31 appearances for the ‘Caps from 1979 to 1980. He made an instance impact when he joined the club, earning the 1979 Playoff MVP award as he scored seven goals in nine games to help the ‘Caps famously win the NASL Soccer Bowl championship. His 20 assists remain 18th all-time in the club record books.

For country

Ball was the youngest player on England’s only ever FIFA World Cup winning team in 1966, starting for his country as a 21-year-old. He would return to the FIFA World Cup with England in 1970.

In total, Ball recorded eight goals for England over 72 appearances.

FUN FACT: Ball played in more than 1,000 professional matches during his career, including more than 100 appearances for each of Blackpool (116), Everton (208), Arsenal (177), and Southampton (132).