Tony Waiters, who led Canada to 1986 World Cup, dies at the age of 83

Englishman Tony Waiters, who coached Canada to its only appearance in the World Cup in 1986, died on Tuesday at the age of 83.

Waiters earned five caps in goal for England in 1964 but retired as a player at the age of 30. He came to Canada in 1977 to coach the Vancouver Whitecaps and led the 'Caps to the North American Soccer League championship in 1979 after beating the great New York Cosmos in the semifinals.

The Whitecaps returned home to a crowd of 100,000 after beating the Tampa Bay Rowdies in Soccer Bowl 1979. The team included Bob Lenarduzzi and Carl Valentine, who played for Canada at the 1986 World Cup, and such Englishmen as 1966 World Cup winner Alan Ball.

Waiters became Canada's coach in 1982 and led it to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, where it fell to Brazil in the quarterfinals in a shootout.

A year later, he led Canada to the World Cup finals as the only team to emerge from the Concacaf qualifying process. In Mexico, Canada lost all three games by shutouts to France (1-0), Hungary (2-0) and the Soviet Union (2-0).

Waiters became one of the leading figures in coaching education in North America, operating World of Soccer, and was president of the National Soccer Coaches Association of Canada at the time of his death.

"It's with heavy hearts and much sadness that we must inform of the passing of our beloved Tony," his family said in a statement. "He achieved a great deal in his life, his legacy speaks volumes. Our family is beyond devastated with the loss of a wonderful husband and a hero of a father."
6 comments about "Tony Waiters, who led Canada to 1986 World Cup, dies at the age of 83".
  1. Philip Larkin, November 11, 2020 at 11:40 a.m.

    He was a high proponent of 3v3 youth soccer b/4 it became popular with US Soccer.

  2. frank schoon, November 11, 2020 at 12:34 p.m.

    I remembered the name but I thought he was a field player not a goalie...What memories, he was part of the soccer mosaic that helped introduce the game here... RIP ,Tony.....

  3. Paul Nick, November 11, 2020 at 5:11 p.m.

    A very gracious, honorable  man who  would take his time to talk to knuckleheads like me at coaching sessions. 

  4. Dave Brown, November 11, 2020 at 5:36 p.m.

    He was a great coach, educator and a true gentleman who made a huge contribution to the soccer community in North America. He will be missed tremendously. 

  5. Charles Amblo, November 11, 2020 at 6:20 p.m.

    World Soccer has lost a little luster now with his passing.
    A gentleman and true soccer aficionado.
    Youth soccer in North America benefited tremendously from his tireless contributions.
    My prayers are with his loved ones at this time.

  6. Patrick Cromer, November 12, 2020 at 12:41 p.m.

    Tony donated countless clinics to the SAY Soccer organization over the years. I consider myself very fortunate to have spent time with him. He was alwasys kind and gracious with his time. Tony loved the kids and he truly made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of our coaches. Condolances to his family. RIP. 

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