Class of 2009: John Limniatis

John Limniatis was a formidable player in his time, making 44 appearances for Canada’s national team between 1987 and 1997. For what he says he lacked in physical prowess, he made up in technique and understanding.



More than anything, it was his character that ensured him a long career at both club and national levels.

John Limniatis



John Limniatis was a formidable player in his time, making 44 appearances for Canada’s national team between 1987 and 1997. For what he says he lacked in physical prowess, he made up in technique and understanding.



More than anything, it was his character that ensured him a long career at both club and national levels.



“I was always ready to take a leadership role on the pitch,” says Limniatis.



Limniatis went through three cycles of FIFA World Cup™ Qualifiers over his 11-year career. In 1988, the team faced Guatemala in the CONCACAF semi-final round, but was eliminated on away goals by its opponent.



Five years later, the team needed a draw in its final match of the CONCACAF final round, but it lost to Mexico at home in Toronto.



“Had we recorded a draw, we would have qualified,” says Limniatis. “Unfortunately we lost by a goal. At half time, we were in the World Cup, but alas the match is played over 90 minutes and not 45.”



The team had one more chance to qualify for USA 1994, but it lost the inter-continental playoff to Australia. Four years later Canada was again in the CONCACAF final round, but that time the team finished far back in the group.



“We worked hard to get to the World Cup, but unfortunately we could not reach the final,” says Limniatis. “To be a professional player and a national-team player, however, it was something very special for me and everyone involved.”



At the professional level, Limniatis played in Canada, USA and Greece. He turned pro with the Ottawa Pioneers of the Canadian Soccer League and then played for Aris Salonika and Panetolikos in Greece, the country in which he was born before he grew up in Canada. In 1993, he returned to North America to suit up for the Impact de Montréal, Kansas City Attack, and Charleston Battery. After his pro career, he won a silver medal with Panellinios at the 2003 BMO National Championships.



“I made the tour and I was fortunate to have a long career,” says Limniatis.



Now, Limniatis takes his place amongst Canada’s legends as a distinguished member of The Soccer Hall of Fame.



“It is a special night for me,” says Limniatis. “I was someone that was born in another country, but I wore the colours of the country in which I lived and loved.”

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