Ken Pears

12 April 1934
Date of passing
18 December 2022 (Age 88)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
180 cm
Where they grew up
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
International "A" - CAN MNT
4 Appearances
4 Starts
0 cleansheets


Ken Pears

Kenneth Pears... married his wife Verna in 1955 (they had children Steve, Ron, and Susan)... he was 15 years old when he started working at the City of Vancouver... he was 21 years old when he started working at the Vancouver Fire Department in 1955 (he worked as a fireman for 37 years)...

honoured by the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame as a player (one of the first 11 former players honoured as part of The Soccer Hall of Fame’s inaugural Class of 2000)... honoured by the BC Sports Hall of Fame and the Soccer Hall of Fame of British Columbia...

represented Canada in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in 1957, of note the first-ever Canadian team to feature in the competition... represented Canada on the four-week tour to the Soviet Union and United Kingdom in 1960... made four international “A” appearances in 1957 with Canada Soccer's Men’s National Team as a goalkeeper... was part of the All Canada side selected to face touring side Lokomotiv Moscow in 1956... was part of British Columbia and Vancouver all-star teams selected to face international touring teams from 1952 to 1966...

a four-time Canada Soccer Football Championship winner (Challenge Trophy in 1953, 1956, 1964 and 1965)... with Westminster Royals FC, a North American Championship winner (Jack Diamond Trophy in 1953)... he was just the sixth four-time Canadian winner (in fact he was the first goalkeeper with four Canadian titles)... a seven-time Pacific Coast League winner (1952-53, 1954-55, 1958, 1961-62, 1963-64, 1964-65, 1965-66), and one-time Western Canada Soccer League winner (1969)... a two-time Pacific Coast International Championship for the J.F. Kennedy Trophy (1962, 1967)... a 12-time all-star selection in a 14-year span from 1952 to 1965 (including All Canada selections in 1956, 1957 and 1960)... he led or co-led the Pacific Coast League in clean sheets nine times... he was the second goalkeeper to surpass 25 career clean sheets in the Pacific Coast League (after Bobby Newbold)... he was the first goalkeeper to surpass 50 clean sheets in the Pacific Coast League... he retired as the Pacific Coast League’s all-time clean sheets leader (later surpassed by Barry Sadler)...

said Art Hughes after one of Ken Pears’ fine performances, “Ken don’t care for nothin’ when the ball’s comin’ in”... wrote Roy Jukich in 1956, “he ranks as one of the best in Canada... (he has) spent hour after hour developing a keen sense of anticipation, speed and safe pair of hands”... wrote Ed Waring in 1959, Ken was “reputedly the best goalkeeper in the country”... wrote Roy Jukich in 1960, Pears “is the best goalkeeper in Canada”... as noted in 1963 program, he was “one of the finest goalkeepers ever developed in B.C.”... wrote Jeff Cross in 1963, “when soccer authorities ever get around to starting a Soccer Hall of Fame in British Columbia, the first name of the roll of honour will be that of Ken Pears”... wrote Jeff Cross in 1965, Pears was “the finest product of BC Soccer for many years”... as noted in 1965 all-star program, “regarded by experts as finest goalkeeper produced in local ranks”... said Columbus manager Peter Mainardi in 1968, “Ken is a credit to the game, but he’s been a jinx to us since 1960. He’s beat us out of six championships during that time”... wrote Dan Stinson in 1982, “many consider (Ken Pears as) Canada’s greatest goalkeeper ever”...

said Ken Pears in 2018, “after losing to Tottenham in 1952, it was a highlight to beat them in 1957. We then beat West Brom just a year later”... said Ken Pears in 2018, “Eddie Bak and Gary Stevens were both about the same speed, but both of them and Bob Mills saved me a lot of times because they were so good”...

said Robert Allen in 2018, “Ken Pears made saves that nobody else could make. He was fantastic, he was something else (and) you had to see it to believe it”... said Robert Allen in 2018, “the Firefighters dressing room was nothing but characters, but the biggest character was Kenny Pears. If Kenny Pears had a cold or was feeling bad, you knew he was going to have a great game, but if he really felt good and was bouncing around, you knew you might be in trouble”... said Jim Blundell in 2019, “Ken Pears was very good and he was always on top of his game. He was a great goalie”...

said Giorgio Zambrano in 2018, “Kenny Pears was outstanding, as a man and as a player. His positioning was incredible... He was unbelievable. Every team that came over from Europe, they wanted to take him back”... said Neil Ellett in 2018, Ken Pears was the best goalkeeper of his generation because of “his anticipation and his never give-up attitude. He was just a first-class athlete who understood the game well. He kept the Firemen in so many games when they had their big rivalry games with Columbus. Pears would just stone them and Firemen would somehow win. That went on for years until Columbus finally beat them. Ken Pears was number one by far, head and shoulders over everyone”... said Roy Nosella in 2018, “playing the Firemen, I think I took about 12 shots right within five feet of the goal, but it was like he put up plywood because nothing went in. Ken Pears was a cut above the rest, no question, a cut. He could have played, I guarantee you, anywhere in the world”... said Bruce Twamley in 2018, “Ken Pears was amazing, he was like a Craig Forrest. He didn’t go abroad to play, but he could have because he was good enough. He was a fireman and quite an amazing goalkeeper, the best that I’ve ever seen. He was exceptional”... said Sam Lenarduzzi in 2018, “Ken Pears was vocal in the sense that he did what he needed to do to make sure that we all knew what was going on and what was behind us. In his time, in his heyday, he was phenomenal”...

For Country

was part of the 1956 Canadian team that faced a touring Lokomotiv Moscow in Toronto, ON (a 1:2 loss on 18 August 1956)... he was 23 years old when he made his international debut for Canada (22 June 1957)... represented Canada in 1957 CONCACAF / FIFA World Cup Qualifiers for Sweden 1958... was part of the 1960 Canadian team that toured the Soviet Union and United Kingdom (with matches in Moscow, Kharkov, Donetsk, Leningrad, Dundee, and West Bromwich)...

For Sport

served as coach of Vancouver Firefighters Juniors... served as manager of Vancouver Firefighters FC...

Individual Honours

International Timeline

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