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In Memoriam: US Soccer Pioneer John Kerr Sr.

NASL In Memoriam: US Soccer Pioneer John Kerr Sr.

U.S. soccer pioneer and long-time coach John Kerr Sr. pass away yesterday at his home in North Carolina.  For newer soccer fans this name may mean nothing but for long-time American soccer fans, Kerr was a pioneer who was a mainstay in the American soccer landscape up through the early days of MLS.

Kerr was born in Scotland and began his soccer career with Scottish club Patrick Thistle before moving with his mother to Canada.  In 1968, he joined the Detroit Cougars of the NASL and the next year signed with the Washington Darts, who at the time were a second division club.  He helped lead his team to the first division before bouncing around American soccer for the next decade with stints with the New York Cosmos (1972, 1973-1975) and the Washington Diplomats (1976-1977).  He was a key contributor to the Cosmos’ 1972 championship.  Between his stints for the Cosmos, he was acquired by Club America and was one of the early U.S. soccer league stars to be coveted by an international power.  He had ten caps with the Canadian national team but never played in a World Cup.

After his playing days were over, he spent many years as a youth and professional coach in the DC metro area.  He led the amateur Fairfax (VA) Spartans to the 1986 Amateur Cup and remained on as head coach when the team rebranded to become FC Washington and the Washington Stars in the American Soccer League.  Two of his most high-profile pupils in the youth ranks were U.S. forward Bruce Murray and his son John Kerr Jr., who played in England for years.  In 1993, he became the head coach of the Richmond Kickers and remained there for two years.  Throughout his career he was a passionate supporter of player’s rights and was involved in the creation of the NASL, Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL), and MLS player’s unions.

Kerr was named to the Virginia-DC soccer hall of fame in 2005 and is considered a local legend.  Even though he was a Canadian from Scotland, his impact on U.S. soccer was immense and long-lasting and his memory should be honored.

6 Responses to In Memoriam: US Soccer Pioneer John Kerr Sr.

  1. The Gaffer says:

    My condolences to the Kerr family regarding the passing away of an American soccer legend.

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

  2. CTBlues says:

    It’s sad to hear of his passing. On another note from the article there was promotion and religation in the US!? No way I don’t belive these lies.

  3. Carlos Metidieri says:

    So sorry to hear about John passing. I have know him since our stints together in Canada and in th US. He will be truly missed. A true Soccer great.

    May our prayers be with John and his family at this time.

    My condolences to the family.

  4. mike lester says:

    very sad to hear about john i played with him for the washington
    dips,a good man and a great football man.my thoughts and
    condolences go out to his family and friends,r.i.p.johnny boy.

  5. l says:

    CUANDO FUI PEQUEÑO, LO VI JUGAR CON EL AMERICA DE MEXICO, UN GRAN
    JUGADOR QUE AQUI NO SUPIERON VALORAR,Y LO DEJARON IR EN POCO
    TIEMPO, PARECIA QUE ERAN CELOS QUE LE TENIA CARLOS REINOSO, ESO NO
    LO SE AQUI NADIE MENCIONO SOBRE SU MUERTE, ME ENTERE SOLO EN
    INTERNET, QUE LASTIMA QUE LO HAYAN OLVIDADO EN MEXICO

  6. Peter Traynor says:

    So sorry to hear of John’s passing.We first met in Toronto in
    1964.We lost touch a few years back.We had a mutual friend John
    Sullivan,who also passed away a few years back. My condolences to
    young John, who was just a child when we last met. Sadly Peter

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