Builder - Les Wilson

Born: Manchester, England, July 10, 1947Les Wilson

Les (Leslie John) Wilson had two outstanding professional soccer careers spanning over four decades, one as a professional player and one as a manger/administrator, but it was as a manager that he made his greatest contribution to soccer in Canada. He was the national team's manager during Canada's greatest achievements in the world of soccer, especially on the world stage at FIFA World Cup Finals. Les Wilson had the honor and privilege of managing and leading various Canadian National Teams to eight prestigious FIFA World Cup Final championship events starting with the 1984 Canadian Olympic Games Team in the USA, 1986 Men's World Cup Team in Mexico, 1987 Men's National U17 Team in Canada, 1988 National Women's World Cup Team in China, 1989 Men's National U-17 World Cup Team in Scotland, 1993 Men's National U-17 World Cup Team in Japan, 1997 Men's National U-20 World Cup Team in Malaysia, 1999 Women's World Cup Team in U.S.A. He also managed and was instrumental in the Canadian Men's Senior Team winning the Gold medal at the 1989 Francaphone Games in Morocco. Wilson's managerial prowess and professional experience helped lead Canada to an impressive win at the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup in the USA. Les Wilson was one of three founding Directors of the former Vancouver 86ers (Whitecaps) that won four Canadian Soccer League (CSL) championships in the late 1980's and the early 1990's. 

As a professional player, he had an outstanding career in England, as a Canadian, playing for Wolverhampton Wanderers from 1964–1972, Bristol City 1972-73, and Norwich City 1973-74. His career started with Collingwood Legion in the Vancouver and District Juvenile Soccer League and at the age of 16 he signed for the famous Westminster Royals of the Pacific Coast Soccer League. After one year with the Royals he won the coveted Ed Bailey Memorial Trophy as the most outstanding juvenile playing in the senior league. During the same year, as a seventeen year old he was selected to play with the B.C. All Stars team against touring world renowned teams Liverpool and Red Star Belgrade. In 1964 he was signed by Wolverhampton Wanderers of the English First (elite) Division to a full time professional contract. He enjoyed the most success during his playing days with Wolverhampton in assisting the Wolves team in winning a place back to the elite First Division in 1967 season and also contributing to winning the United Soccer League Championship in North America in the same year (1967), which in reality was the transplanted Wolverhampton Wanderers team representing the Los Angeles Wolves. In 1969 the same Wolverhampton Wanderers team once again proved to be the elite of the new North American league and was crowned the North American Soccer League InterCup championship team as the Kansas City Wolves. Les also won the Anglo/Scottish Cup (Texaco Cup) championship with Wolves in 1971 and played on a Wolverhampton Wanderers team which was runners up in the 1972 UEFA Cup. Les played more than one hundred and thirty games for Wolves and was described as one of the most versatile performers ever to wear a "Wolves" strip. He moved onto Bristol City in 1972 where he played 49 games before being transferred to Norwich City of the English first division in the 1973/74 season. Les returned to Vancouver to play for the Whitecaps in the NASL in 1974 and from then until the end of the 1978 season he played in 37 games before an injury cut his career short. Les was an integral part of the "Whitecaps" family for nearly a decade. When his professional playing days were over with the Whitecaps he became a staff coach and Director of Player Development with the Vancouver Whitecaps of the North American Soccer League. His tenure ship with the Whitecaps was highlighted by the North American Soccer League "Soccer Bowl" championship win in 1979. In 1983 he was recruited by the C.S.A. from the Vancouver Whitecaps to become the C.S.A's National Teams Manager/Administrator, a position he held until June 2000 when he resigned and became the Executive Director of the British Columbia Soccer Association.