Class of 2010 : Gordie Ion

Gordie 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). Ion is remembered as a skilful midfielder with a penchant for picking out open teammates.

Gordie 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). Ion is remembered as a skilful midfielder with a penchant for picking out open teammates.



“I was primarily a ball control man, but I could score goals as well,” says Ion.



Canada’s first ever FIFA World Cup Qualifier was played on 22 June 1957. Canada overpowered its southern neighbour winning easily by a 5:1 score line. Ion was instrumental in the victory as he assisted on three of the five Canadian goals on the day.



“The first game we played in Toronto against the United States in incredibly humid conditions,” recalled Ion. “At that time we felt we were stronger than USA, although to score five goals was pretty good.”



Canada then travelled to face Mexico on 30 June 1957 in Mexico City. Despite falling 0:3 to a powerful Mexican side, Ion vividly remembers the experience of playing in front of over 70,000 spectators on one of the sport’s grandest stages.



“That was the biggest experience of my life to walk out onto the field that day (against Mexico)”, said Ion.



Ion enjoyed a storied career at the club level. In 1953 he was a guest player when Westminster Royals beat Chicago Falcons for the North American championship, scoring twice in a 5-0 win for the Royals. He played for the B.C. All-Stars against the touring Irish F.A. team in 1953 and in the second game scored the winning goal for B.C. from the penalty spot. In 1954 he played for the B.C. All-Stars against the touring Glasgow Rangers, and followed that with two games against Huddersfield Town in 1955. There were also single games against Aberdeen in 1956 and an upset win over Tottenham Hotspur in 1957. Ion represented Vancouver North Shore in the 1957 Canadian national championship, a Vancouver 1:2 loss to Montréal Ukrainia.



“I started as 17 year old kid with North Shore United before going on to play with the B.C. All-Stars,” said Ion. “We didn’t win a Canadian championship, but to be able to play in one was pretty special.”



Upon retiring he moved on to coaching with Burnaby Cliff Avenue United and still assists his son, Greg, who was a member of Canada’s 1986 World Cup squad.



Ion now deservedly takes his place alongside Canada’s most renowned players in The Soccer Hall of Fame.



“To be inducted is such a thrill and an honour for me; I am pleased to be joining many of my buddies from my soccer career in the hall,” said Ion.



Gordie Ion talks about being inducted into The Hall of Fame as part of the 11th Induction Class



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