VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC are in mourning today after learning of the passing of club legend Tony Waiters at the age of 83.
Waiters steered the Whitecaps and the Village of Vancouver to the 1979 NASL Soccer Bowl championship as their head coach, and was inducted to the club's Ring of Honour last year.
A beloved and revered figure within the Whitecaps family whose contributions and influence remain to be felt today, Waiters coached two full seasons and two half seasons in Vancouver, finishing with a record of 66-30 in NASL play.
A number of Waiters' former players came together in Vancouver last year to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their NASL championship as well as their coach's induction into the Ring of Honour. Two of those in attendance were Bob Lenarduzzi and Carl Valentine.
“Tony made the single largest impact on the game in BC and Canada. He won the 1979 Soccer Bowl sending Vancouver in a frenzy, and coached Canada’s national team to make the 1984 Olympics and 1986 World Cup. He was an integral part and the catalyst behind the start of the 86ers, and his legacy still lives on now through our entrance into MLS," said Lenarduzzi.
“Tony was the reason l came to Vancouver as a young lad," added Valentine. "He was a great coach but an even better human being. I’m going to miss him very much.”
Beyond the Whitecaps and the national team, Waiters was also active in youth soccer in Vancouver.
"Tony even had an impact on the youth soccer community as a technical director of Cliff Avenue United FC, and they just loved the work that he did there. He will be dearly missed for all the contributions he’s made to the game in this province and country,” said Lenarduzzi.
Waiters was born in Southport, England and played 15 seasons in his native land prior to his managerial career. A former goalkeeper, he also played for the English national team.
Whitecaps FC offer our condolences to the Waiters family and his loved ones at this time.
Rest in peace, Coach Waiters. You will forever be in our hearts.