Campaign gains steam for Manson's induction to hall

Wed. Jul. 17/13

Support to have Snuneymuxw First Nation soccer star Harry Manson inducted into various hall of fames across the country continues to grow.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi was the latest to throw support behind Manson, when he penned a recommendation letter this month calling on sporting shrines to induct the soccer star who broke down barriers as a First Nations athlete during the early 20th century.

"Manson's induction would allow the public to celebrate his life and honour his contributions to soccer, the aboriginal community, and to British Columbia," Lenarduzzi wrote in a July letter.Vancouver-based soccer historian Robert Janning has worked to spread the story of Manson since he discovered the young Snuneymuxw man while working on a history of the sport's roots in B.C.

Manson was killed in 1912, run over by a train while on a trip into town to get medicine for his infant son.

That six-month-old boy went on to have eight children of his own, including Gary Manson, whose only account of his grandfather until Janning came knocking was a coroners report on his death.

Many of his contributions were forgotten until Janning uncovered them in archived newspapers and other contemporary materials.

Manson captained the Nanaimo Indian Wanderers from 1897-1904 and was one of the first two indigenous soccer players to play in a provincial championship game.

"His audacity and passion for the game of soccer makes him the ideal candidate to be inducted into the Soccer Hall of Fame," wrote Lenarduzzi, who offered support for Manson on behalf of the Whitecaps organization.

Manson's induction was also recommended by Assembly of First Nations national chief Shawn Atleo in a June 27 letter to the Soccer Hall of Fame in Vaughan, Ont.

"Manson's efforts, in the late 1800s, call for recognition as his skills as an athlete propelled him beyond barriers of race and community," Atleo wrote.

"His induction . . . would give young First Nations athletes across the province and Canada another role model who can inspire and motivate them to pursue their dreams.

"Snuneymuxw First Nation and chief Doug White wrote a letter in late-May that asked for the support for Janning's initiative and sent it to numerous hall of fames in the country.

Harbour City FC has also reportedly begun work on the creation of an award in Manson's honour, one that may become regularly bestowed on athletes who carry on the Snuneymuxw athlete's legacy of success.

According to Janning, the British Columia Soccer Association has also thrown its support behind Manson. 250-729-4228