In an athletic career that spanned almost sixty years in Manitoba, Charlie Caithness established himself as a soccer institution. Born in Carnoustie, Scotland, Caithness came to Canada in 1928 and played soccer with Senior sides until 1943.
In that same year he began his long, illustrious career in soccer management. He was the assistant manager for Winnipeg Scottish from 1943-47 and when he took over the reigns as Manager in 1947, he held the position until 1965. Caithness served as Manager of the Tatra Club from 1970-82. With those two teams, he won 16 provincial championships, including an unprecedented 12 consecutive titles, as Caithness’ clubs dominated for three and a half decades. He also guided the Winnipeg Blues, of the short lived Western Canadian League, to a provincial championship in 1970.
On the national scene, Caithness led the Scottish to the Canadian Championship Title in both 1954 and 1962. In 1970, he also took the Manitoba Selects to a national crown. 1979 saw Tatra win the Western Canadian Championship under Caithness as well. The list of tournament crowns that he and his clubs captured is far too long to list as are his teams’ runner-up accomplishments both provincially and nationally.
Charlie Caithness’ interest and involvement in youth development are largely responsible for the healthy state of soccer in Manitoba today. He was notorious for constantly scouting the school playgrounds and corner lots for young talent and many, under his tutelage, went on to spectacular careers in soccer. He also concentrated on Canadian talent in the days when it was deemed necessary to import talent from Britain and Europe to have a competitive club.
Ask any soccer old-timer what they remember most about Caithness as a manager and they’ll say his “ability to spot talent and cultivate it to its greatest potential”.
b. November 7, 1907
d. August 19, 1985