John (Ray) Jones
Soccer (2005)Since arriving in Saskatoon in 1969, Ray has made an impact on the Saskatchewan soccer scene, first as a player, then as a coach and manager, later as an organizer of interprovincial tournaments and a committee member in the building of the Kinsmen-Henk Ruys Soccer Centre. Ray was born in Llanferres, North Wales, in 1948 and as a boy, he was attracted to soccer, playing for both school and amateur teams. Ray also played for the University of Wales before emigrating to Canada, first to Edmonton in 1966 and then to Saskatoon in 1969. He continued his playing career with the Saskatoon United, playing nearly every position at one time or another, and helping the United win the Saskatchewan Shield in 1973, 1974 and 1975. One of his first Saskatoon connections was with the Spartans, who won provincial indoor championships in 1974 and 1975. He was manager of Saskatchewan men's team at the 1979 Western Canada Summer Games, the first of a number of involvements in leading teams on top the Canadian scene. He was also manager of the Saskatchewan Selects at an interprovincial level, including a team in 1983 and another one in 1987. As an organizer of mini-soccer and youth programs, Ray was among the platform guests, along with Andy Sharp and Henk Ruys, when arrangements were made to play indoor soccer in the Wheatland B building starting in 1993. One of his longest commitments was with Saskatoon United, including the provincial championship team in 1988. Saskatoon United won the Saskatchewan Shield five times while he was the team manager. Ray was selected as venue manager when the 1989 Canada Summer Games came to Saskatoon. In 1991, he was chairman when the Canadian national championships came to Saskatoon and in 2001, a volunteer on the national boys' all-star championships. Ray competed later in his career in indoor competition with a collection of players fondly known as The Silver Foxes. Ray was honoured as for volunteer leadership by both the City of Saskatoon and the province of Saskatchewan and also received the David Newsham award from the Saskatchewan Soccer Association for volunteerism. Ray returned to Wales for a holiday in April 2005 and got the chance to see his old local team, Wrexham, play Southend in the national playoffs at Millenium Stadium in Cardiff.