Born in Vancouver, Bob Lenarduzzi grew up with three soccer playing brothers, Vanni, Sam and Danny. He started playing minor soccer for the Grandview Legion, then played semi-pro for the Vancouver Spartans in 1969, and was named runner up for the Sun Soccer Boy in 1970. That same year Lenarduzzi was recruited for England’s Reading Club. He would play for the team for five years (1970-1975), gaining valuable experience, and helping them climb from the 4th to the 3rd division.
While playing with Reading, Lenarduzzi returned to Vancouver each summer, and in 1974, he and his brother Sam joined the North American Soccer League’s (N.A.S.L) fledging Vancouver Whitecap’s team. Lenarduzzi would go on to play for the Whitecaps for ten years, becoming the only player in the N.A.S.L. to play 288 games, and to play all eleven positions on the field.
At the beginning of the 1978 season, Lenarduzzi moved from the defender position to midfield. He finished 9th in the league (10 goals, 17 assists, 37 points) and earned the distinction of becoming the first Canadian to be named North American “Player of the Year”. In 1979, he assisted the Whitecaps in their famous N.A.S.L. All-Star team, an honour he would receive again in 1981 and 1984.
In 1984, after the demise of the Whitecaps, Lenarduzzi played two seasons with the Tacoma Stars in the Major Indoor Soccer League (1984 to 1986).
In addition to his pro career, Lenarduzzi made 47 “A” level and 3 “B” level international appearances, and 8 Olympic appearances for Canada. He was a key member of Canada’s National Team from 1973 to 1986, playing a total of 28 World Cup Qualifying games – more than any player. Lenarduzzi was one of the only three Canadians ever to play on teams for three World Cup Years: 1982, 1985, 1986, (others were brother, Sam Lenarduzzi and Hall of Famer, Bruce Wilson). The 1986 F.I.F.A. World Cup Match was held in Mexico and marked the first time that Canada made it the finals of World Cup Play.
In 1986, Lenarduzzi joined the Canadian Soccer Leagues (C.S.L.) Vancouver ’86ers, as executive Director. For the next two years (1987 and 1988), he was player coach for the ’86ers, leading the team to the first of four consecutive C.S.L. Championships (1988-91). Bob retired as a player in September 1988, to coach the ’86ers full time and was named “C.S.L. Coach of the Year” for 1988 and 1989. He was made director of Operations and General Manager of the team at the start of the 1989 season.