Harry Christie

"Having worked with and for some of the most successful coaches in the English Speaking World the following states some of my involvement.

Arriving in Vancouver from Scotland I played in the local Soccer Leagues and worked my way through the system to play for the select teams that represented the numerous Leagues in the City.

Being dissatisfied with the lack of Professional soccer I met with a Bill Cox, a New York investor who had an invitational International Soccer League where he invited teams from Europe and South America to play in North American Cites and the guest pro teams represented the city they were to have their base.  I convinced Cox that I was part of a group which included Bill Clancy, public relations consultant to Premier WAC Bennett.  Ted Eakins, Owner of CHAN TV in Lake City, Chuck Wills a local Lawyer, Garth Pither top man at the local Cablevision Company, and in the background was Peter Paul Saunders and Andrew Saxton of Laurentide Finance.  The problems trying to get the business off the ground were complex.  Then came the big boys, Lord Thomson of Fleet, Jack Kent Cooke, The guy who owned Westcoast Transmission.  I was out of my depth and managed to hang on until the two groups merged and the Vancouver Royals were born. 

From that time it was back to the Local soccer scene and some of the coaches I worked under was the first coach of the Vancouver Royal Canadians, (Eakins was a fan of Guy Lombardo, hence the name).  The Coach was BOBBY ROBSON, who went on to Coach The English National Team for eleven years.  This was followed by time at Ipswich Town in England.  PSV Eindhoven, the Netherlands.  FC Porto in Portugal and several well known clubs in Europe.  His final Club was Newcastle United, in Newcastle. England.  I work under Bobby for almost one year.

The next coach was Jackie Charlton who was a member of the English National Team that won the 1966 World Cup.  Jack went on the Manage and Coach Sheffield Wednesday, England, Middlesborough, England.  The Republic of Ireland National Team, and eventually ended his coaching career at Newcastle United.  My soccer involvement with Jack during that time was during his visits to British Columbia where he conducted a Summer Soccer Camp for the British Columbia Soccer Association.

I continued to act as Technical Director for the British Columbia Soccer Association, and the access to both Bobby Robson and Jack Charlton gave the Association to the coaches named.  The game grew and coaches began to understand the game.  British Columbia was a leader in the sport of soccer during that period. 

My next entry into Professional Soccer was immediately after the 1973 Canada Summer Games.  As the Technical Director and head coach for BC Soccer I coached the BC team to the Gold Medal, one of the key players was Chris Bennett.  At a meeting with Denny Veitch a couple of weeks before the Canada Games, Denny asked what I was going to do after the Games.  I told him I was going back to my government job, I asked Denny what he was going to do and he suggested Unemployment Insurance.  Out of that meeting the Whitecaps were born.  Denny ran to Herb Capozzi with the Idea and I was lobbied to accept the position as First Coach of the Whitecaps.  I was happy with my full time job and declined the invitation.  I couldn't work for Denny.  I accepted a part time job as assistant coach and Director of Player Personnel.  With many friends in the professional game in Europe I teamed up with a friend, Eddie Firmani who was coach of Tampa Bay Rowdies and became the chief Scout of the Rowdies.  Later Firmani became Coach of the New York Cosmos and he invited me to act in the same capacity for the Cosmos as I performed for the Rowdies.  Seven years working for Warner Brothers, Cosmos Division, gave me the opportunity to work with the best Soccer Club in the World.  This association enabled me to view the techniques of South American Soccer Coaches, namely Professor Julie Mezzei who was Pele's mentor, Hennes Weiswiller, and several coaches who coached American college teams.  With this involvement and the numerous occasions I could meet with gentlemen named I was able to meet with, discuss and understand the qualities that each coach had.

With the background I have described I am well qualified to state that Chris Bennett has the qualifications developed by the Canadian and BC Soccer Associations.  The attributes identified above to develop and conduct a program of excellence that will ensure that the students under his guidance will improve their ability to play the game of soccer at a higher level than other schools available in the Province of BC.

Chris has the mental and physical toughness to demand a total commitment from the players under his care.  He can identify each player's strengths and weaknesses and encourage the player to reach for, and make a greater contribution to the total output of the team.  These are not only soccer skills but skills for living a productive life.

Chris is skilled at making assessments of his players under his control and also of the opposition that his team is playing against.  This quality reduces the possibility of defeat and by producing a game plan there is the expectation that his team will do better because of planning.

Man management is an integral part of team coaching.  Chris has managed and coached some of the best players to emerge from the CSA development program.  Players that come to mind would be Paul Staltari, who has had an excellent 10 plus year career playing in Germany, England, and is presently captain of the Canadian National Team.  Then there is Dwayne de Rosario, with Toronto, Dwayne has had an excellent career in North America.  Jason Bent was another, however injuries curtailed Jason's career.  Before his injury Manchester United, had an interest.

In conclusion as a 76 year old who has been deeply involved in the Canadian and British Columbia Soccer Associations Developments Programs for 50 years, I would have no problem endorsing and recommending children and adults to any program led by Chris Bennett."

Harry Christie
- Technical Director of BC Soccer
- Coach of BC All Stars
- Head scout for New York Cosmos (West Coast)