Thoughts About Dave McGruer
- Written by Allen Brown Allen Brown
- Published: 04 October 2017 04 October 2017
DAVISON (DAVE) Mc GRUER
April 3, 1931- September 30, 2017 (aged 86)
It is with great regret that we mourn the passing, after a short illness, of one of the most colourful characters to have been associated with VYSA and its affiliated clubs.
Dave was born in Glasgow, Scotland and was the youngest of 8 children. His father passed away when he was 2. His mother was a very enterprising woman and ran a coal business while raising her family. He grew up during World War 2 in an area of Glasgow called Gamgad. Like so many others of that generation, his family experienced extreme hardship during 6 years of war. Glasgow was bombed several times with the target being primarily the John Brown shipyards close to where Dave lived.
In 1948, at age 17, Dave set sail for Canada. In those days the journey was long and arduous with a trans-Atlantic sea voyage of 5- 6 days followed by a further 3 day journey by train to Vancouver where he settled for the rest of his life. Among his few possessions were his football boots. All his life Dave would refer to the game he loved so dearly as "fitball". He played in the Vancouver Senior Men's Premier League for many years-he was a tough no nonsense right half (today that would be midfield). He told me that he played his last competitive game at age 59 ! Even though be had a long playing career, he also enjoyed a long coaching one. He combined playing Men's soccer with coaching youth soccer beginning at Kensington Little Mountain Soccer Club and ending at Kerrisdale Soccer Club.
He was active in all aspects of Youth Soccer and was one of the first officials on the Referees' Examining Board. I first met him in 1998 when Kerrisdale Soccer Club advertised for a coach for a Ul2 Bronze team. When he phoned in, it took quite a while to understand his heavy Scottish brogue but once I met him I realized how passionate he was about "fitball" and coaching kids. He coached that Bronze team ( The Gamgad) for 7 years, took them up to the Silver 1 Division in 2003 and won the Ul 7 Commonwealth Cup in 2004. He also helped me coach my daughter's team from 2000-2002 - the girls didn't really know what to make of him sometimes especially when he would call each player "hen." (a Glaswegian term of endearment).
After his Youth coaching days were over, he would drop by the local parks on the weekends to catch a game or two but he would always say that it was never quite the same as "coaching the kids". We remained firm friends until his passing and the local game has indeed lost one of its strongest proponents. He would lament at just how few local lads made the Vancouver Whitecaps roster. I would reply "Dave , the kids don't love the game as much as you do."
Dave is predeased by his wife Helen and we extend our condolences to his daughters, Marnie and Jenny, and his grandson Matthew at this very sad time.
Former President of Kerrisdale Soccer Association and former VYSA Board member