JAMES MEMBER OF \"TEAM OF DISTINCTION\" ENTERING CANADIAN SOCCER HALL OF FAME

TORONTO, Ont. - York University master soccer coach Paul James will enter the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame for the second time this weekend when the 1986 Canadian national team is honoured as the 2009 team of distinction.

The 1986 team was the first and only squad to qualify for the finals of the World Cup to date. The team clinched its place at the event in Mexico with a 2-1 victory over Honduras in St. John's in 1985. The Canadian team, made up of players who were not professional at the time, fought hard at the World Cup but lost to France, Hungary and the U.S.S.R. in round-robin play.

"It is an honour to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a member of the 1986 World Cup team," said James. "It is hard to believe that it was 23 years ago as the memories of the event are as sharp as ever. We were a unique group of unemployed soccer players who were desperate for success. Along with the great leadership of Tony Waiters, it is the main reason we qualified for the event in the first place – a winning mentality."

Several members of the team and its coaching staff have already been inducted into the Hall of Fame, including James. He was previously inducted as a player in 2003 for his stellar on the pitch. James appeared in 44 games for Canada and scored a critical goal for the country against Costa Rica in 1985 that helped Canada qualify for the World Cup finals.

James has led the Lions women's soccer team to unprecedented success since taking over the coaching reins. He led the squad to three straight appearances at the CIS national championship tournament from 2005-07, an event York had not reached before his appointment. At the 2006 event the women pulled off the upset of the tournament, beating the No. 1 Trinity Western Spartans en route to a fourth-place finish. The following year, the Lions made it all the way to the national final before falling 2-1 to the host Cape Breton Capers and earning the silver medal. In 2007, he was named CIS and OUA coach of the year.

As master coach, James also oversaw the growth and development of the Lions men's team, which won the CIS national championship this past season. The national title was the program's first in 31 years and York's first in any sport since 1990.

Source: York Lions
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