Canadian Footy: Bruce Wilson
Date of birth: June 20, 1951
Place of birth: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Playing position: Defender
Olympics – Whitecaps – World Cup – Team Canada – UVIC Vikes
Canadian Soccer Legend
Bruce Wilson was born on June 30th, 1951 and will likely go down as one of the most important Canadian soccer figures ever. He is a veteran of the North American Soccer League where he played an amazing 299 games – second most of any player for that league.
Wilson was also a fixture for Canada in international play and in fact was captain for the Canadian team during their only FIFA World Cup appearance in 1986.
Wilson was the quintessential defender during his time in the NASL and the national team. During league play, he scored just seven goals in the 11 seasons that he played, but there is little doubt about his ability to defend.
His 11 year NASL career brought him to Vancouver, Chicago, New York and Toronto.
He was a six-time all-star selection, including three first-team selections (Vancouver in ’77, Chicago in ’79, and Toronto in ’84).
Wilson’s last foray into the soccer world as a player came in 1985 when he became player/coach of the Toronto Inex, formerly known as the Toronto Blizzard.
That year Wilson’s Inex played a number of friendlies against the likes of Everton and Linfield before shutting down operations.
Wilson’s international career for Canada is nearly as impressive as his NASL career.
He earned 51 caps for Canada. In 1998, he was selected to a CONCACAF “team of the century”, the only Canadian to receive the honor.
Wilson also represented Canada at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics at a time when lower-ranked countries were allowed to field professional players.
The Canadian team reached the quarter-final stage, losing to Brazil.
Wilson’s influence in Canadian soccer is still evident today. He has been coaching the University of Victoria men’s soccer team for over 20 years and he has made them the standard for which Canadian University soccer teams are crafted.
Wilson was inducted into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame in 2000 and is still considered one of the most influential Canadian soccer players of all time.