Jimmy ConwayJimmy Conway
Full Name: James Patrick Conway
Born: Dublin, Ireland (Cabra district)
Birth Date: August 10, 1946
International player for Ireland (20 caps)
Renowned player in Ireland (Bohemian FC, 5 years)
12-year pro career in England (Fulham, Manchester City)
Former Portland Timber player, captain & assistant coach
16 years as college head coach, Pacific University & Oregon State
28 years as state and regional youth coach

Youth Career
James (Jimmy) Patrick Conway played youth soccer for Stella Maris Football Club in the Drumcondra district of his native Dublin, Ireland. Stella Maris FC is illustrious as Ireland’s “schoolboy soccer nursery” because of the number of future Irish national team players it produced. Besides Conway, that list of former internationals included John Giles, Eamon Dunphy, Ashley Grimes, Pierce O’Leary, Gerry Daly, Eoin Hand, Liam O'Brien, Pat Dunne and John Andersen. Current internationals that got their start at Stella Maris are Keith Andrews, Stephen Carr, Stephen Elliott, Joe Murphy, and Joey O’Brien as well as two current members of Ireland’s women’s national team. (Another noted Stella Maris graduate is actor Gabriel Byrne.) Additionally, Stella Maris FC has produced more senior international managers than any other program in Ireland, including John Giles, Eoin Hand, Liam Touhy, and Noel King.

Senior Playing Career – Ireland
After graduating from the youth ranks, Jimmy moved to Bohemian FC of Dublin from 1963-1966. “The Bohs” play in the League of Ireland, the top level of football in the country, although they were a strictly amateur side at the time. Tracing their history back to 1890, they have won 11 league championships, seven FA of Ireland Cups and three Irish League Cups. Developing a reputation as a quick, adept scorer, Jimmy was soon scouted by a number of the top English professional teams and in 1966 moved to Fulham FC, London’s oldest professional club, where he signed his first professional contract.

Professional Playing Career – England
Jimmy arrived at Craven Cottage -- Fulham’s stadium in the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham on the Thames River -- near the end of Fulham’s strong post-war run in the First Division, regarded as the greatest period in the club’s history. Upon his arrival, Fulham’s front line of Les Barrett, Steve Earle and Jimmy was dubbed the “Three Musketeers.” Playing either as a midfielder or right winger, he continued his consistent scoring and over a 10 year-period, scoring 67 goals in 316 League games. In his third year with the club, Jimmy scored a career high 23 goals, including 21 in League play. At that time, that was only four fewer than the club record for goals in League play and only five Fulham players in its 90 prior years had scored more than League goals in a season. In 1971, Jimmy was joined by his brother, John, in Fulham’s lineup. By the end of the 1973-74 season, the pair would play more game together than any other combination of brothers in Fulham history. John eventually left Fulham after the club’s 1975 FA Cup campaign, playing most of the remainder of his career in Switzerland.

At a time when drawn games resulted in a replay rather than overtime and penalties, Fulham made the longest run (11 games) in 1975 to the FA Cup final in history, including five away wins, but lost 2-0 to rival West Ham in front of 100,000 fans at Wembley. Due to a persistent injury that eventually cut short his playing days, Jimmy missed approximately a number of Fulham’s preliminary Cup games. However, he did play in the final, the only non-English participant (including referees) on the field. During the summer of 1975, Fulham played in the inaugural Anglo-Scotland Cup tournament, a competition for English and Scottish clubs; Fulham finished runner-up in that final also, losing 1-0 to Middlesbrough.

During his time at Fulham, Jimmy appeared in 44 FA Cup, League Cup and other games, scoring nine times. Jimmy’s 360 total games for the Cottagers ranks as the 20th most appearances in club history. Fulham records show, amazingly, that Jimmy was not cautioned or ejected from a single game in his pro career. Prior to the start of the 1976-77 season, he was transferred to Manchester City for a £30,000 fee. His departure was due partly to make way for two of Fulham’s high-priced signings from the North American Soccer League, George Best and Rodney Marsh, who each signed two days after Jimmy’s departure.

Jimmy’s first appearance in the Man City shirt was Aug. 12, 1976, in a 2-2 draw at Leicester. He played in the first six League games in addition to competing against Aston Villa in the League Cup, plus an appearance in a 1-0 home win against Italy’s Juventus in a UEFA Cup match. A combination of fitness issues (from his prior injury) and Man City fielding its strongest lineup in more than a decade would limit him to just five more starts (and two substitute appearances) the rest of the season. On the final day of the 1976-77 season, Jimmy scored the decisive goal – the only one of his brief stay at Man City -- in an away win at Coventry that put the Blues near the top of the table, just one point behind Liverpool. After only one and half seasons at Man City, Jimmy’s contract was sold on Jan. 17, 1978, to the Portland Timbers of the North American Soccer League for £10,000. The timing of the transfer was partly to allow him to arrive stateside for the Timbers pre-season training.

[As part of its pre-season training and exhibition schedule in the US, Man City will be visiting Portland for training sessions at the Nike campus and will meet the Portland Timbers in an exhibition game on Saturday, July 17, 2010, with the kickoff time to be announced. That game will be played on Merlo Field at the Clive Charles Soccer Complex at the University of Portland and admission will be for Timbers’ season ticket holders due to Merlo Field’s limited seating capacity.]

International Playing Career
Jimmy had already distinguished himself as an Irish youth international before getting the call to the full national side. At the time of his first appearance in 1966 (and through 1969), the team was chosen by a group of “selectors” rather than the manager. During a 12-year career for Ireland, Jimmy played for seven different managers during a time when the Irish struggled for results.

On May 9, 1970, Ireland played in West Berlin in a friendly against the former West Germany. West Germany won that game 2-1 after being up 1-0 at the interval but Jimmy cracked a long-range shot into the net for Ireland in what he describes as one of his best-ever goals. One and one day, in a qualifier for the 1972 European Championship against Italy, Jimmy scored Ireland's only goal in the 23rd minute after the Irish had gone a goal down on Roberto Boninsegna's score in the 15th minute. Pierno Prati won it for Italy with a goal in the 59th minute. In 1977, Jimmy won his 20th and final cap for Ireland in a scoreless friendly against Poland in Dublin in his only national team appearance after transferring from Fulham. During his international career, Ireland played only 54 international matches (including friendlies), so Jimmy appeared in a large percentage of his country’s full international matches during that period. When he retired from international play, he was Ireland’s 18th most capped player.

Professional Playing Career – United States
Under Coach Don Megson, Jimmy became a mainstay of the 1978 Portland Timbers squad and the following season was named team captain. In 1980, he assumed the additional role of player/assistant coach as he began the transition to coaching. When he ended his playing career in 1980, he was tied for Ron Futcher for 10th on the NASL Timbers all-time scoring list with seven goals and 16 assists. The 16 assists were the seventh highest Portland career total during the team’s NASL years, with 11 of them coming during the 1979 season.

The North American Soccer League experimented with an indoor game for two seasons and Jimmy, now at the end of his career, played in 8 of the team’s 36 games over the 1980-81 and 1981-82 seasons. [For a record of Jimmy’s season scoring records in the North American Soccer League, please see Appendix.]

Coaching Career – Pros
Jimmy continued as a Timbers assistant coach for two more seasons until the club ceased operations in 1982. When the club was reborn in 2001 as a member of the United Soccer Leagues 1st Division, Jimmy was named assistant under head coach Bobby Howe, a position he held through the 2005 season. Under an agreement between the Timbers and the Oregon Youth Soccer Association, Jimmy continued in his job as the Oregon Youth Soccer Association’s director of coaching.

Coaching Career – College
From 1983-1987, Jimmy coached Pacific University in Forest Grove, becoming the Boxers’ fourth head coach. His 51-37-9 record stands as the second winningest in Pacific school history. Although his first team (1983) won only three games, that was two more than the previous four seasons combined. By 1986, he had guided Pacific to 15 wins (a record that would stand for another decade) and 61 goals, a school season record that still stands. Posting a 13-5-2 record in 1985, he was selected Coach of the Year for both the Northwest Conference and NAIA District II. His 1986 and 1987 teams qualified for post-season playoffs. During his five seasons at Pacific, he coached 13 players who won Northwest Conference first team all-star honors.

In 1988, Jimmy became Oregon State University’s first-ever varsity men’s coach. His 1990 team posted four consecutive shutouts, an OSU record which still stands. Conway-coached teams also set still-current school records for consecutive home wins (5) and consecutive unbeaten road games (6). After 11 seasons at Oregon State University, his coaching record was 97-88-14 record, which included just four losing seasons. In 1990 he was voted Northwest Collegiate Soccer Conference Coach of the Year and, in 1995, was named the Mountain West Soccer Conference’s Mountain Division Coach of the Year. Sixteen of his OSU players earned first-team all conference honors and one, Rick Kempf, was named NCSC Player of the Year in 1990. In his last season of coaching at OSU, Jimmy was shown the only red card of his career.

[For Jimmy’s college coaching record, please see Appendix.]

Coaching Career – Amateur & Youth
With all of his success—as a player in the pros and a coach in collegiate soccer—perhaps one of Jimmy’s most enduring contributions to the game in the United States came during the 28 memorable years he served as director of coaching for the Oregon Youth Soccer Association. Originally appointed in 1981, he continued in this position during his college and professional coaching assignments until he retired from coaching in 2009. He earned his USSF “A” license in 1991.

He later served on the staff of U.S. Youth Soccer’s Region IV ODP (Olympic Development Program) (ODP), working with approximately 300 ODP players each season. In each of his last four seasons working with the ODP program, the number of Oregon youth players selected for the regional pool grew to record levels with 21, 33, 36 and, in 2009, 53 players selected, respectively.

Jimmy also was instrumental in establishing the Nike Friendship Cup Tournament, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

Separately, another highlight of his coaching career was his appointment in 1994 to the National Coaching Staff of the U.S. Soccer Federation. Records indicate that Jimmy trained more than 1,100 coaches in their “D” license certification and trained hundreds more in clinics all the way up to the “A” level. During his teaching tenure, Jimmy averaged 40-50 clinics per year and is estimated to have trained more than 24,000 coaches and players.

Also, in 2006, Jimmy served as the OYSA representative to a blue ribbon panel which reviewed a number of athletics initiatives for Portland Community College. Among that panel’s recommendations was expansion of the school’s soccer programs by adding men’s and women’s teams at it Rock Creek campus.

Jimmy and his wife, Noeleen, reside in the Sylvan neighborhood of southwest Portland and are parents to three adult children, Paul, Laura, and Mark. (Paul, after winning All-America honors at Hartwick College, followed his father into professional soccer and spent the majority of his career with the Charleston Battery before finishing with the Portland Timbers in 2005 in Jimmy’s last season as assistant coach.) After starting his amateur career with Portland’s St. Pat’s club, Jimmy remains active in local soccer, playing for Pierre’s SC in an Over-50 league. He also is an avid golfer.


Jimmy’s record in three outdoor seasons for the NASL Timbers:

Jimmy’s record in two NASL indoor seasons with the Timbers:

Jimmy’s year-by-year coaching record at Pacific University and Oregon State University:




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