John Best (soccer)

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John Best
Personal information
Date of birth (1940-07-11)11 July 1940
Place of birth Liverpool, England
Date of death 5 October 2014(2014-10-05) (aged 74)
Place of death Ireland
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Playing position Defender
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1958–1960 Liverpool 0 (0)
1960–1961 Tranmere Rovers 7 (0)
1961–1962 Stockport County 0 (0)
1962–1967 Philadelphia Ukrainians
1967 Philadelphia Spartans 12 (1)
1968 Cleveland Stokers 32 (0)
1968–1969 California Jaguars
1969–1973 Dallas Tornado 93 (0)
1971 Dallas Tornado (indoor) 2 (1)
1974 Seattle Sounders 0 (0)
National team
1973 United States 1 (0)
Teams managed
1974–1976 Seattle Sounders
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

John Best (11 July 1940 – 5 October 2014) was an American international soccer defender. He spent six seasons in the North American Soccer League where he was a five time first team All Star. He later coached the NASL Seattle Sounders and served as the general manager of the Sounders and the Vancouver Whitecaps. He also earned one cap with the U.S. national team in 1973.


Best began his career in England. Although this portion of his life is vague,he played for Liverpool FC in 1959 under the new manager, Bill Shankly, after which he played seven games with Tranmere Rovers in 1960. In 1967, he moved to the United States where he signed with the Philadelphia Spartans of the National Professional Soccer League (NPSL). In 1968, the NPSL merged with the United Soccer Association to form the North American Soccer League. When the Spartans folded, Best and several of his teammates, transferred to the Cleveland Stokers for the 1969 NASL season. When the Stokers folded at the end of the season, he moved to the Dallas Tornado (NASL). From 1969 to 1973, he played in ninety-three games and was a five-time first team All Star. In 1971, the Tornado won the NASL championship. Best retired at the end of the 1973 season.[1]

National team[edit]

Best earned his one cap with the U.S. national team in a 17 March 1963 game with Bermuda. Best began the game, a 4-0 loss, and came off for Johnny Moore.


In 1974, the NASL expansion team Seattle Sounders began assembling its staff and roster. The owners hired Cliff McCrath, the head coach of the local Seattle Pacific University to fill in the team's roster spots. He hired Best as the team's first head coach.[2] Over his three years as coach, Best compiled a 43-26 record.[3]

General manager[edit]

After leaving the Sounders, Best moved north to become the general manager of the Vancouver Whitecaps. One of his most successful personnel moves was hiring Tony Waiters as head coach. This move and several others led to the Whitecaps winning the 1979 NASL championship. In 1982, the Sounders opened their season 2-7. The team ownership turned to Best who became the Sounders' general manager on 14 June 1982.[4] The Sounders turned their season around and went to the championship game, only to lose to the New York Cosmos. Despite this success, the team was losing money after its sale to new ownership in January 1983, Best left the team.

Later years[edit]

Best remained in the Seattle area, founding Tacoma Indoor Soccer, Inc, which became the ownership group for the Tacoma Stars of the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL). He was later inducted into the Tacoma-Pierce County Sports Hall of Fame.[5]

In 1990, Best was diagnosed with kidney disease and in 2002 received a kidney transplant from his wife, Claudia.[6]


On 5 October 2014, Best died from a lung infection at the age of 74 while visiting family in Ireland.[7]


  • NASL Championships:

1971, 1973 (runner-up), 1971 indoor[8]

  • NASL First Team All Star:

1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973


  1. ^ "TOP INTERNATIONAL STARS IN THE NASL, 1967-1984". Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 4 August 2008.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Seattle Sounders (1974-1983)". Archived from the original on 21 February 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "High School Sports - Prep notebook: Pasco track meet attracts returning state champions - Seattle Times Newspaper". Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ Pentz, Matt (6 October 2014). "John Best, first coach of the Sounders, dies at 74". Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  8. ^ Flachsbart, Harold (March 20, 1971). "Fans Get A Kick Out Of Hoc-Soc". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 6. Retrieved August 14, 2016.

External links[edit]