Born 1954 in Croatia, John’s passion for soccer runs deep, representing his school soccer team from grade 5-8. At the age of 12 he already organized a group of boys in a small Croatian village to construct their own soccer field. Goal posts were cut from trees of a near-by forest. John immigrated to Stoney Creek at 15, and played for Orchard Park HS and Saltfleet Go-Ahead.
Subsequently John played for Hamilton Alemania, Club Donici, and Hamilton Hungaria SOSL, Burlington United ICSL, Hamilton Croatia NSL, Croatian Y.H.C. “Dinamo” of SOSL and ICSL, Hamilton Slovenia HDSL, and Grimsby of Niagara District S.L.
John started coaching successfully a group of rowdy 11 year old Croatian YHC boys in 1978 for 5 years, proud to have molded them to be responsible members of our society. Over the years John coached boys, girls, women’s teams, and Hamilton’s Croatian YHC “Hajduk” and “Dinamo” men’s teams in 80’s and Hamilton Slovenia in the mid-90’s.
He coached his daughter Paula’s team, Grimsby Cheetahs (1992-2000), in the SRSL and OYSL. The team reached the Ontario Cup U14 final, losing 1-0 to Scarborough, the eventual Canadian Champions.
John was the chair of the West Niagara Invitational Boys and Girls Tournament from 1999 to 2010, growing the tournament from 150 teams to 500+ teams. He was on the board of Grimsby Soccer Club, South Region SL and served as their indoor-coordinator and a soccer referee/coordinator from 1982 to 2012. In 1993 John constructed and was the owner of Grimsby’s Lakemount Sportsworld, an indoor soccer/ice arena facility that operated until 2015.
John has coached and still plays oldtimers for the Hamilton Croatia and St. Catharines Hrvat.