Soccer Hall of Famer Jim Blundell, a prolific goal-scorer, dies at 79 - InfoNews

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Soccer Hall of Famer Jim Blundell, a prolific goal-scorer, dies at 79

Canada Soccer Hall of Famer Jim Blundell, shown in this undated handout image, a Vancouver forward who was one of the top goal-scorers in Canada in the 1960s, has died at the age of 79. The Canadian Soccer Association said Blundell passed away Sunday in Burnaby, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Canadian Soccer Association *MANDATORY CREDIT*
April 04, 2019 - 5:01 PM

Jim Blundell chose to play for Vancouver Firefighters FC in the late 1950s "because I was going to get a job out of it."

That's exactly what happened. Blundell joined the Vancouver Fire Department in 1963, a few years after he joined their soccer club.

It was a deal that worked out for both.

Blundell was a firefighter for more than 30 years. His goal-scoring prowess helped fill Firefighters FC's trophy case and earned him a spot in the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame.

The Canadian Soccer Association said Blundell, a Vancouver forward who was one of the top goal-scorers in Canada in the 1960s, passed away Sunday in Burnaby, B.C. He was 79,

Blundell was too ill to attend the March 24 Hall of Fame celebrations honouring Blundell and others as part of a special class of past Canadian players from the 1940s through 1960s.

But his family was all there and wife Linda accepted his Hall of Fame award from CSA president Steven Reed. They shared it privately with Blundell later.

"I just really liked to play the game. Nothing big or fancy," Blundell said earlier this year. "I never thought I would be a goal-scorer or win anything, I just liked to play the game."

Blundell led the attack for Vancouver Firefighters FC in the Pacific Coast League. A prolific scorer, he registered more than 140 goals in league, cup and all-star matches across a 12-year career from 1957 to 1969.

"Once Jim Blundell got inside the box, you had to pay close attention because he could put it away," said fellow Hall of Famer Neil Ellet. "He wasn't a speedster or one to rock a shot from a long way out, but get him inside the box and he could do damage for you."

Blundell was an all-star six times in an eight-year span from 1959 to 1966 and led the Pacific Coast League in scoring in both 1962-63 and 1965-66.

Blundell won Canada soccer's championship with Firefighters FC in 1965, one of many trophies he earned.

Blundell rose to the occasion in big games, scoring key goals to help Firefighters win Canada Soccer's Challenge Trophy, the B.C. Province Cup, Pacific Coast League championship, Anderson Cup, Top Star Trophy and Kennedy Cup.

"He knew how to get into position, he had a really good shot and he distributed the ball well," said teammate Gary Stevens. "He read the game well and he was a very smart player."

Blundell played his youth football with Renfrew Lions, Vancouver Technical School, and Vancouver Marpole. He made his senior debut with Vancouver Hale-Co FC in 1957 and won his first Pacific Coast League championship a year later in 1958.

Blundell was fuelled by a love of the game.

"When I was a kid, I used to go down to the park and wait to play and if the referee cancelled the game because of rain I would go home and cry," he said. "I don't know how old I was, maybe six or eight, I don't know, but I just really liked to play the game."

He is survived by his wife Linda, children Janet (Gary), Bruce (Colleen), daughter-in-law Andrea and grandchildren Ryan, Kara, Blake, Annie and Jack. He was predeceased by son Robert.

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News from © The Canadian Press, 2019
The Canadian Press

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