Open main menu

Robert Italo Lenarduzzi, OBC (born May 1, 1955) is a former North American Soccer League star, Canadian international, and coach of the Canadian national and Olympic soccer teams.[1][2] He is currently club liaison for Vancouver Whitecaps FC. He is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

Bob Lenarduzzi
Bob-lenarduzzi-2009-04-08.jpg
Personal information
Full name Robert Italo Lenarduzzi
Date of birth (1955-05-01) May 1, 1955 (age 64)
Place of birth Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Playing position Defender
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1970–1976 Reading 67 (2)
1970, 1971 → Vancouver Spartans
1970–1971Vancouver Columbus FC
1974–1984 Vancouver Whitecaps 288 (31)
1979–1980 Los Angeles Aztecs (indoor) 12 (2)
1984–1986 Tacoma Stars 96 (16)
1987–1988 Vancouver 86ers
National team
1973–1987 Canada 47 (4)
Teams managed
1987–1993 Vancouver 86ers
1993–1998 Canada
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Club careerEdit

Lenarduzzi began his professional playing career as a midfielder and defender at age 15 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 also joined the NASL Vancouver Whitecaps in 1974 in the team's first season. Until 1976 he divided his time between Vancouver in the summer and Reading in the winter. He played 11 seasons for Vancouver 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.[citation needed] He was also voted NASL North American player of the year in 1978.[3] 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.

National team playing careerEdit

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.

Coaching careerEdit

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. He led the franchise to an unprecedented four consecutive CSL titles from 1988 to 1991. His team set a record for professional North American sports teams when the team went 46 games unbeaten between June 6, 1988 and August 8, 1989. His 86ers career win, loss, draw of 96–24–28 makes him mos successful coach in Vancouver professional sports history.[citation needed]

Canada national teamEdit

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. (See 1994 FIFA World Cup qualification (CONCACAF).) As CONCACAF qualifying winners-up, Canada then lost the away leg to Australia in a match decided by penalty kicks that saw the winner of the home-and-away series go on to play Argentina in a home-and-away series for a finals spot (won by Argentina).

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. (See 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification (CONCACAF).) Lenarduzzi subsequently resigned his post in 1997.

Administrative careerEdit

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's Toronto FC broadcasts before Jason DeVos arrived to fill the position on a more permanent basis.

He was the president of Vancouver Whitecaps FC since it entered Major League Soccer until August 15, 2019, when the role was eliminated in favour of the role of sporting direct. He will now serve as club liaison.[4]

HonoursEdit

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.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Story of a shattered life: A single childhood incident pushed Dawn Crey into a downward spiral | Vancouver Sun". November 24, 2001. Archived from the original on May 7, 2014.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved February 17, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Ellensburg Daily Record - Google News Archive Search". Google News. Retrieved November 7, 2014.
  4. ^ Sciarpelletti, Laura (August 16, 2019). "Lenarduzzi out as Whitecaps president as club seeks sporting director". CBC Sports. Retrieved August 16, 2019.

External linksEdit