Canadian soccer commentator Graham Leggat dies


(Darryl Dyck/CP)

TORONTO — Longtime soccer commentator Graham Leggat has died. He was 81.

The former Scotland striker was best known in Canada as a commentator and host on TSN from 1986 to 2000. He began his broadcasting career covering Olympic and World Cup soccer competition with CBC in 1974.

Known for his Scottish brogue, Leggat co-hosted TSN’s Soccer Saturday show alongside Vic Rauter. He helped expand soccer’s profile in Canada, covering five World Cups and two Olympics over his career.

"It was a great honour to travel the country alongside Graham 20 weeks a year for six years of the Canadian Soccer League," Rauter said in a statement. "Graham loved the game, the people who played it, and those who watched it. After all those years, he always said there was nothing like the smell of the freshly cut pitch prior to stepping on the field. To him, it was truly the beautiful game. He was loved and will be missed."

Prior to broadcasting, Leggat was named the first coach of the Toronto Metros in the NASL when he came to Canada in 1971. He also served as vice-president and managing director of the NASL’s Edmonton Drillers for two years (1979-80).

Leggat was inducted to the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame in 2001 under the builder category.

Prior to emigrating to Canada, Leggat played six seasons in the Scottish league with his native Aberdeen, helping the club win the league title in 1955. He spent the rest of his 16-year career in England, playing for Fulham, Birmingham City, Rotherham United and Bromsgrove Rovers.

"The term ‘legend’ is overused these days, but in Graham’s case it was entirely appropriate," Aberdeen said in a statement. "He was a wonderful servant for both club and country and our thoughts are with his family at this extremely sad time."

He also played in 18 international games for Scotland, including the 1958 World Cup in Sweden.

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