In years past, a talented soccer player would have to travel overseas if he wanted to play the game professionally. Jack Cowan did just that, making it big in the birth place of the game–the United Kingdom. He played left fullback in the Scottish League First Division from 1949-54, becoming the first Canadian to play first division pro soccer in Europe.

While attending UBC from 1945-49, Cowan was awarded five Big Block awards for excellence in varsity sports.

He played with the Pacific Coast League team “Vancouver City” (later the Halecos, then Canadians) between school terms and was awarded “Rookie of the Year” in 1945.

Cowan was named to the 1949 BC all-star team which played two exhibition games against Newcastle United, one of England’s top teams at the time.

One of the first BC players to attract the attention of a top European club, Cowan was offered a pro contract by Dundee Football Club and in July 1949 joined the squad, playing for the Scottish First Division side from 1949-54.

Cowan’s strong play in the 1949 Scottish League final sealed his position with Dundee for years to come. With Cowan in uniform, Dundee won the Scottish League Cup in front of 92,000 fans in 1951, making him the first Canadian ever to win the Scottish League Cup medal, one of soccer’s most coveted honours.

Cowan’s play was so strong, the Scottish National Team tried to add him to its roster, but was unable to find any Scottish ancestry in his family background.

After the 1954 season and having been on two League Cup winners, Cowan returned to Vancouver in 1954, captaining the Vancouver Halecos to win the 1956 Dominion soccer championship.

He was a member of the 1955 and 1956 BC All-Star teams and also on the 1956 Canadian all-star team that played Russian club side Moscow Lokomotive.

The following year in 1957, there was speculation that he would be included on the roster for the first Canadian national team attempting to qualify for the World Cup in 1958, but he retired from soccer in 1956 at age twenty-nine.

In 2013, Cowan was inducted into the Dundee Football Club Hall of Fame.

Cowan is also inducted in the UBC Sports Hall of Fame. For his UBC biography, please visit