Luigi ‘Lou’ Moro was a fixture in the BC soccer and lacrosse communities for over six decades, earning a revered reputation throughout both. To many he became known as ‘Uncle Louie,’ a warm, knowledgeable figure who packed his homemade trainer’s kit to countless pitches and locker rooms around the province. He was just as likely to diagnose an injury or expertly tape an ankle, as he was to get a chuckle from a young injured athlete when he pulled out his trademark bottle of ‘Grouch Pills’ from his kit, taking their mind off an unfortunate and often disappointing moment.

Born in Savona, Italy in 1918, Moro grew up in San Martino before his family moved to Trail, BC in 1929 when he was 11. In Trail he was first introduced to lacrosse and grew to admire the work of long-time Smoke Eaters trainer Bert Repton, the initial inspiration behind his decision to become a trainer himself.

Moro moved to Vancouver in 1942 and was conscripted to serve in the Navy during WWII, serving as a cook on a mine sweeper in the English Channel. While stationed in Victoria, he played goaltender for the Navy box lacrosse team, “but I soon realized that I wasn’t going to make it into the lacrosse hall of fame as a player,” Moro said in 1990. When the trainer for the Navy teams retired in 1945, Moro applied and got the job. He began as the trainer with the Canadian naval hockey team and continued on after the war acting as trainer for the Vancouver Main Merchants from 1948-51 in the now-defunct Mainland Soccer League.

Moro learned the craft on the job, never attending any formal trainer or physiotherapy school, but picked up bits of wisdom and tricks of the trade from the athletes and other trainers he met along the way. He discovered that in order to restore an athlete’s confidence after an injury, therapy must be as much psychological as physical. Soon enough he would be considered a master of the scissors, tape and tiger balm, of the human body, and of returning an athlete to sound health.

Working as a butcher by day, over the next four decades Moro helped soothe aches and pains of pros, amateurs, and youth alike volunteering with such teams as the North Shore United soccer club, the Vancouver Burrards/Carlings lacrosse club, the Vancouver Whitecaps, the Vancouver 86ers, and Cliff Avenue United. He contributed to four Mann Cup championships with the Burrards/Carlings and four-straight Canadian Soccer League championships with the 86ers. He also helped establish the Pilseners soccer team, composed of lacrosse players looking for a sport to play and keep in shape during the winter.

For 15 years, he was the trainer for the Vancouver and BC All-Star soccer teams that regularly played exhibitions against many of Europe’s top clubs on tour. He served as trainer on Canada’s 1957 national soccer squad that narrowly missed out on qualifying for the 1958 World Cup in Sweden and also accompanied a Canadian national touring side that traveled to the U.K. and the Soviet Union in 1960. He returned as national trainer for Canada’s World Cup qualifying team in both 1971-72 and 1975-76. He also accompanied the Canadian men’s U-18 soccer team to Germany in 1974 and was part of the BC ‘Best-Ever-Team’ Tour of England and Wales in 1986.

In demand at the highest levels, Moro always made time for youth soccer. A fixture at the annual Vancouver Sun (later Safeway Challenge) Soccer tournament for over four decades beginning 1953, he also supervised trainers at the 1973 Canada Summer Games in Burnaby/New Westminster and through the 1980s served as trainer for BC Soccer Association summer camps and training clinics. In 1985, he accompanied the BC provincial team to the Canada Summer Games in New Brunswick. For his contributions to BC soccer, in 1973 he was honoured with the Aubrey Sanford Achievement Award.

Over the years, the door to his North Burnaby home was always open to athletes and patients alike, the basement growing into a gathering place for those he assisted, as well as a shrine to BC soccer. The walls became lined with awards, photos, pennants, programs and souvenirs from his many teams and many travels. Moro took great pleasure in playing tour guide, relating memories and yarns of the great players and moments he had been lucky enough to witness.

“The biggest highlights for me are the great friendships I’ve made in sports,” he said in 1995. “It’s been an enjoyable lifetime in sports and one I would do all over again in a second if given the chance, as athletic training still provides me with a sense of satisfaction every time I watch a player go out and perform after I’ve worked on their injury.”

Moro’s contributions to BC sport were well recognized and he remains one of the few BC Sports Hall of Famers to be inducted on three separate occasions: first as an all-round Builder in 1995, then as a team member of the 1989 Vancouver 86ers and 1964 Vancouver Carlings in 2004 and 2005 respectively. He was also honoured with induction into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1975, Italian-Canadian Cultural Hall of Fame in 1984, Canada Soccer Hall of Fame in 2000, and Burnaby Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.

Written and researched by Jason Beck, Curator of the BC Sports Hall of Fame.