John Rally, founder of one of the top local, semi-professional soccer clubs, passed away on April 23 at age 90.
Born in Kansas City, MO., John moved with his family to their native homeland of Greece, when he was three years old, before settling in the Bay Area in 1945. It was in San Francisco where his knowledge and love of soccer would lead to creation of one of the most accomplished clubs in North America.
In 1949, at just 20 years of age, John, with his younger brother Jim, founded the Greek-American Athletic Club, an organization that would become a dominant presence in Bay Area soccer and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Over the next six decades, Greek-American Athletic Club would go on to win 16 San Francisco Soccer league titles, appear in three U.S. Open Cup Finals, claiming a pair of championships in 1985 and 1994, with former U.S national team coach Lothar Osiander at the helm. During their dominant run, Osiander led the club to an unprecedented 55-game unbeaten streak between 1986 and 1989.
During their decades of dominance, the Greek-American Athletic Club roster included future Clash & Earthquakes players Dominic Kinnear and John Doyle.
“He gave a lot of soccer players opportunities to further their careers at a time when there weren’t many opportunities,” said John Doyle. “He was a great man who always had a big smile on his face when you saw him. He even helped players with jobs at his company if they needed it. A great person to be around.”
John Rally will be missed. The San Jose Earthquakes send our deepest condolences to his family, friends and everyone he impacted in the Bay Area soccer community.