Gary Stevens (CAN)
Canada Soccer Hall of Fame
|Date of birth:||1942-01-25|
|Birthplace:||Vancouver, BC, CAN|
|Raised:||Burnaby, BC, CAN|
Hall of Fame honoured member
|Team Honours:||2x Canada Soccer Amateur Championship winner (1965, 1973), 4x Pacific Coast League winner (1961-62, 1963-64, 1965-66, 1966-67), 2x Pacific Coast International Championship (1962, 1966), Mann Cup winner|
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Gary Stevens... soccer family (father Bob)... worked as firefighter starting at age 22 (five years after he started playing soccer for Firefighters FC)... a multi-sport athlete, he was inducted to both the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame and Canada Soccer Hall of Fame...
a two-time Canada Soccer Amateur Championship winner (1965, 1973)... a four-time Pacific Coast League winner (1961-62, 1963-64, 1965-66, 1966-67) and two-time Pacific Coast International Championship winner for the J.F. Kennedy Trophy (1962, 1966)... a five-time all-star in five successive seasons from 1962 to 1966... in lacrosse, a Mann Cup winner (1964)...
once called “a tough competitor” in a soccer 1963 all-stars program... as noted in 1965 all-star program, “keen competitor, his speed makes him a real threat on offence and defence”...
said Gary Stevens in 2018, “I had tried out with Westminster, but they weren’t too interested in me. Then coach Pete Proctor suggested ‘do you want to go out and try for the Firefighters?’ So I went out and, after the first practice, Proctor asked me if I would be interested in signing. Before that, I had never thought of the Firefighters, but it didn’t take long, especially when you get to the practice and there were players like Ken Pears, Doug Greig, Art Hughes and Alex MacKay... it was quite impressive”... said Gary Stevens in 2018 of Firefighters FC, “a large proportion of the Firefighters team were firefighters and that is a job that you basically live with each other: you sleep together, you eat together, you go to fires together. It creates a different atmosphere for sure. It is something that is difficult to explain. You have to have worked in a fire hall to understand the camaraderie that exists. I think that helps with us because everyone was willing to back up everyone else”...
said Gary Stevens in 2018, “with both Eddie Bak and myself being really fast, I went down the wing lots of times and so did Eddie. We would join the attack. If you made a pass and there was an opening, it was by all means go”... said Gary Stevens in 2018, “there was a really good thought process between the Firefighters’ defenders Bob Mills, Eddie Bak and myself. Everyone talked to each other and, with Ken Pears in goal, we talked a lot before every game and practice. We had a really good understanding between the three of us and goalkeeper Kenny”...
said Gino Vazzoler in 2018, “Gary Stevens was a great athlete. He was a quick defender, very strong and it was hard to get behind him”... said Neil Ellett in 2018, “Eddie Bak was just a solid defender. Eddie Bak and Gary Stevens would be my fullbacks from the 1960s, one on one side and one on the other side”... said Roy Nosella in 2018, “Gary Stevens was quick and that was his strength... plus he was a good soccer player”... said Jim Goodheart in 2019, “Gary Stevens was a really good fullback who was speedy. You didn’t ever see too many guys run by him”... said Bruce Twamley in 2018, “Gary Stevens was a fantastic player. He was another one that could have gone to England and played over there. He had fantastic speed. He wasn’t fancy with all the tricks, he was just a savvy player, a very good athlete, a great lacrosse player and soccer player. He could play”...
remembered Gary Stevens in 2018 of the 1966 Kennedy Trophy finals, “Bobby Smith scored five goals in the final and it was a huge shock at the end of the tournament that they gave me the MVP. It happened because, from the first game against San Francisco, they had this Dutch player that had run through the league down there and I played against him and he didn’t have a sniff. He didn’t have a sniff, though, because I don’t think he did anything (against us in that match). He as so easy to check, there were tougher players to check in the Pacific Coast League, but I guess the people that were watching the game thought, ‘what a great job I did of shutting him down’, but I didn’t have to do a lot. I guess the people down there were impressed with him. It should have been someone like Bobby Smith that won the award”...
|2019||Honoured Player / Joueur honoré||Canada Soccer Hall of Fame|
|1967||Winner / Gagnant||MVP of the Pacific Coast International Championship|