Late Eric King, Bill Thomson and Dr. Rudy Gittens are honoured with Life Memberships.
At its Centennial banquet on 5 May 2012, the Canadian Soccer Association honoured three extraordinary individuals with Life Memberships: Bill Thomson, Dr. Rudy Gittens and the late Eric King.
Born in England, Eric King came to Canada a few months shy of his 20th birthday. After a year in Toronto, he moved west to Saskatoon where he earned a teaching degree from the University of Saskatchewan. A talented player with the Saskatoon Spartans, King was selected as one of the final 22 for Canada’s 1968 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers squad. The Canadian Soccer Association constitution, however, did not allow a registered player to be a member of the Association National Executive Committee. He then made the difficult choice between the National Team and a job with the Association; he chose the latter and became the General Secretary of the Canadian Soccer Association in 1968. He operated the Association from his home for almost two years prior to moving to Ottawa in 1970 to become its first Executive Director. King oversaw a number of significant changes in Canadian soccer including tremendous expansion through the 1970s and Canada’s growing influence internationally. Under his leadership, Canada played host to the 1976 Olympic Football Tournament and staged a FIFA Congress in the same year. Eric King was a pioneer and a tireless advocate for soccer in Canada.
Bill Thomson was born in Glasgow and once captained his national U-18 squad in a match against England. A former physical education teacher, Thomson earned full coaching awards from the Scottish and English Football Associations. Starting in 1967, he became involved in coaching development programs at the national level in Canada. He was appointed the Canadian Soccer Association’s first full-time Technical Director in 1974. He is widely recognized for being one of the key catalysts behind the design and implementation of a formal coaching certification program for soccer. In 1986, he was selected to serve as the inaugural Chairman of Canada’s first National Coaching Institute (NCI) which he now operated as Director at the University of Victoria, BC. A true visionary, Bill Thomson has played a pivotal role in the tremendous growth and formalization of soccer coaching in Canada.
Dr. Rudy Gittens is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan, earning both pharmaceutical and medical degrees. Recognized worldwide for his knowledge and expertise in sports medicine, Dr. Gittens has been a driving force behind the creation and continued success of the Canadian Soccer Association’s Medical Committee. His many accomplishments include a 1994 appointment to CONCACAF’s Medical Committee. That same year, he was also appointed to the FIFA Sports Medical Committee where he has served with distinction in areas like research and doping. Dr. Gittens began traveling with the Canadian National Team in 1984 and has supported both the men’s and women’s teams on many occasions since then. Within the sport medicine fraternity and amongst his peers internationally, Dr. Rudy Gittens has earned iconic status.
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