JOHN KERR SR. – PLAYER
John Kerr was born in Scotland in 1943 and passed away in North Carolina in 2011. He began his professional career with Scotland’s Partick Thistle. When his mother moved to Canada, John followed her to Hamilton where he played for the Hamilton Steelers of the EasternCanadian Soccer League and later when they were renamed Primos, between 1961-1967. John, a diminutive winger/midfielder, was an immediate hit with the fans, with his quick feet, explosive bursts, dazzling moves, and combative Scottish on-field personality.
After a brief stint with the Detroit Cougars of the North American Soccer League in 1968, John joined the Washington Darts of the American Soccer League’s 2nd Division, where he was a First Team All Star. The Darts and Kerr moved up to the NASL in 1970 along with Hanilton Soccer Hall of Famer Frank Donlavey. He was the league’s 14th leading scorer for Washington in 1971, with 18 points in 24 games, and scored Washington only goal of the NASL’s first-ever indoor tournament in 1971. John also played for New York’s Hota club of the German American Soccer League, winning the 1971 National Challenge Cup. In 1973 he had a stint with Club América of Mexico and in 1972, he joined the New York Cosmos, again being the league’s 14th top scorer with 10 points in 14 games, and again being named to the league’s First Team All-Star midfielder. John then returned to Washington where he played with the Diplomats in 1976 to 1977, also serving as the team’s assistant coach in 1977.
Kerr was capped ten times with the Canadian national team between 1968 to1977, four of those times in the failed attempts for the 1968 World Cup qualification, five times for the 1976 qualification, and and a friendly.
After coaching the Fairfax Spartans to the 1986 National Amateur Cup, the Spartans became F.C. Washington, and yet later the Washington Stars of the American Soccer League. John coached that team until they folded in 1990, and in 1993 to 1994 he was the head coach of the Richmond Kickers.
As his playing career waned, John became the Major League Soccer’s Players Association executive director during the late 1990s. John also coached at the varsity boys’ team at Hilton Head High School in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina in the mid-2000s. At the time of his death, Kerr was coaching for Triangle Futbol Club in Raleigh, North Carolina.
In 2008, Kerr was inducted into the Virginia-DC Soccer Hall of Fame, and in 2015 he was inducted as a builder into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame. Kerr’s son, John Kerr Jr., who was born in Hamilton, played with Hamilton Steelers in 1991, is a former American international, and had an excellent playing career with Millwall and several other English and MLS teams. John Jr. is presently the coach of Duke University Blue Devil’s men’s team.