The Soccer Hall of Fame unveils 2010 honour list

Silvana Burtini, Gordie Ion and Dr. Walter Thomson head the list of 2010 inductees to The Soccer Hall of Fame. The three players will be inducted next year along with builders Brian Avey (executive) and Stuart Brown (coach). Also to be honoured is John Russell for the Pioneer Award, the 1976 Toronto Metros-Croatia for the Team of Distinction, and the Vancouver Firefighters for a new team award that celebrates notable success over many years.


Silvana Burtini, Gordie Ion and Dr. Walter Thomson head the list of 2010 inductees to The Soccer Hall of Fame. The three players will be inducted next year along with builders Brian Avey (executive) and Stuart Brown (coach). Also to be honoured is John Russell for the Pioneer Award, the 1976 Toronto Metros-Croatia for the Team of Distinction, and the Vancouver Firefighters for a new team award that celebrates notable success over many years.



Burtini was a 1998 CONCACAF champion and three-time participant at the FIFA Women’s World Cup. She was just 18 years old when she made her debut with the national team on 5 July 1987 and then 34 years old when she played her last game on 5 October 2003 – at the time, the third-oldest woman to ever play for Canada. She twice set a national record for goals in a game – five goals in a 6:0 win over Mexico in 1994 and then eight goals in a world-record 21:0 win over Puerto Rico in 1998. She was Canadian Player of the Year and CONCACAF Women’s Championship Most Valuable Player in 1998. When she retired in 2003, she ranked third all time with 78 national appearances (now 10th on the list) and 38 goals scored (still ranked third).



Ion was a member of Canada’s first national team to participate in FIFA World Cup™ Qualifiers, doing so in 1957 for a pair of games against CONCACAF rivals USA (a 5:1 win in Toronto) and Mexico (an 0:3 loss in front of 75,000 spectators in Mexico). In that first game on 22 June 1957, Ion assisted on three of Canada’s five goals against USA. At the club level, Ion represented Vancouver North Shore in the 1957 Canadian national championship, a Vancouver 1:2 loss to Montréal Ukrainia.



Thomson’s legacy goes back even farther – he was a member of Canada’s first touring teams in the 1880s. He was cited as one of the most outstanding players of his generation and received rave reviews when he played in Britan in 1888 and 1891. From his days at the University of Toronto, T.A. Reed wrote, “as a player, he was nothing less than a miracle of speed, accuracy and artfulness.” After his playing career, Thomson continued to contribute to the game and served as president of the Ontario Football (Soccer) Association from 1902 to 1904.



From the Builders category, Avey was a long-time executive director of the Ontario Soccer Association who oversaw the building of the Ontario Soccer Centre, Canada’s first full-size indoor soccer facility. Brown, meanwhile, was coach of the first-ever Jubilee Trophy champions, the 1982 Edmonton Angels. Those Angels in fact won five-straight national titles from 1982 to 1986.



Russell, the 2010 Pioneer Award winner, was a long-time administrator of soccer in Canada and British Columbia. He was the first vice-president of the Canadian Soccer Association (then known as the Dominion of Canada Football Association) from 1921 to 1925; he followed up by serving as the Association’s president from 1925 to 1931. He spent more than 40 years in soccer and was inducted to the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame in 1966.



The 2010 Team of Distinction award goes to the 1976 Toronto Metros-Croatia, the first Canadian team to win the North American Soccer League playoff championship. In that Soccer Bowl ’76 final on 28 August in Seattle, WA, Portugese superstar Eusébio scored the first of three Toronto goals en route to a 3:0 victory over the Minnesota Kicks. Toronto Metros-Croatia 1976 playoff roster featured Zeljko Bilecki, Damir Sutevski, Mladen Cukon, Filip Blakovic, Robert Iarusci, Teddy Polak, Wolfgang Suhnholz, Ivair Ferreira, Ivan Lukacevic, Ivan Grnja, Gene Strenicer, Bruno Pilas, Carmine Marcantonio, and Eusébio.



At last, the Vancouver Firefighters are recognized in a new category that celebrates notable success over many years. The Firefighters were four-time Challenge Trophy champions over a 26-year period, winning national titles in 1965, 1973, 1983 and 1990. The team was also the beaten finalist in the 1961 Carling Cup national championship. Notable Firefighters alumni are The Soccer Hall of Fame honoured members Art Hughes (1965 national champion), Norman McLeod (1983) and Ken Pears (1965).



From 2000 to 2009, The Soccer Hall of Fame has honoured 68 players and 44 builders. With five new members in 2010, the induction wall will grow to 117 honoured members. Soccer fans can visit The Soccer Hall of Fame & Museum at 7601 Martin Grove Road in Vaughan, ON. For more information, please visit www.theSoccerHallofFame.ca.


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