|Bob Lenarduzzi - birthday|
|daib0||1 May 2012|
A thousand miles away, but just round the corner in spirit
Robert Italo ("Bob") Lenarduzzi, OBC (born 1 May 1955 in Vancouver, British Columbia) is a former North American Soccer League star, Canadian international, and coach of the Canadian national and olympic soccer teams. He is currently President of Vancouver Whitecaps FC. He is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
A midfielder/defender, Lenarduzzi began his professional playing career at age 15 as a youth with Reading in the English Football League and went on to play 67 first-team games with the club, and scored two goals. Lenarduzzi then joined the NASL Vancouver Whitecaps in 1974 in the team's first season. He played 11 seasons until the Whitecaps last season in 1984, when the league folded. Lenarduzzi holds the record for most games played in the league, with 312. Lenarduzzi played all eleven positions during his tenure with the team. He was also voted NASL North American player of the year in 1978. The Whitecaps won the NASL Soccer Bowl championship in 1979. In 1984, Lenarduzzi joined the Tacoma Stars of Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL). He spent two seasons with them before moving to the Vancouver 86ers of the Canadian Soccer League in 1986 to become the team's Executive Director. In 1987, he returned to the field as a player and a coach with the 86ers.
Lenarduzzi earned 47 caps playing for Canada. He played all the country's matches both as the squad progressed to the quarterfinals of the 1984 Summer Olympics and as it participated in the first round of the 1986 World Cup finals.
Lenarduzzi resumed his pro career in 1987 as a player/coach with the newly formed Vancouver 86ers of the newly founded Canadian Soccer League. After retiring permanently from playing in September 1988, he continued to coach the 86ers for the next five seasons.Lenarduzzi became head coach of the men's national team in 1993. In his first of two bids to see Canada back through to a World Cup finals, his squad twice came close but failed to progress to the 1994 finals. First they lost at home to Mexico despite scoring the game's first goal in a game with which Canada could have gone through to the finals with a win. In qualifying for the 1998 finals, Canada failed to finish in the top three of a six-nation CONCACAF final qualifying round league tournament and progress. Lenarduzzi subsequently resigned his post in 1997.
Lenarduzzi served as 86ers general manager from 1988 to 1993. He resumed the post in 1998 and was named the A-League's executive of the year for 2000. In 2001 he also assumed the position of the Whitecaps Head of Soccer Operations. (The 86ers changed their name to Whitecaps in 2001.)
During the 2008 MLS season Lenarduzzi served as colour commentator during CBC 'sToronto FC broadcasts before Jason DeVos arrived to fill the position on a more permanent basis.
In 2001, Lenarduzzi was inducted as a player into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame. In 2005, he was awarded the Order of British Columbia. In 2003, he was inducted into the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame. Lenarduzzi was voted one of the Top 30 Players of the Century in the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) region.
Reading record: player from 1970 to 1973, making 67 appearances, scoring 2 goals …