John McGrath has been involved with the sport community since the 1970’s. His dedication to sport, especially soccer, has lead to much growth in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. John chaired the Newfoundland Soccer Association Discipline Committee from 1970-79 and served as president from 1979-1981. He helped to establish the Masters Soccer Division, created a sanctioned annual invitational senior level tournament to further athlete development in the province as well as St. Pierre et Miquelon, and established the first Coaching and Referee development clinics in Newfoundland Soccer Association history. Looking to enhance participation and sport development, McGrath guided and encouraged provincial youth soccer committees to allow sponsoring/hosting of soccer tournaments in all districts of the province in a given year. His strategic and long term planning resulted in a five-year calendar of hosting tournaments. This calendar was unanimously endorsed by the Newfoundland Soccer Association membership and it paved the way for future involvement of all districts in hosting soccer on a rotation basis.
His continued passion and dedication to soccer lead him to create the Newfoundland Soccer Hall of Fame, which still exists today. Always looking to highlight and grow the sport of Soccer, McGrath was responsible for the winning bid to host the Canadian Under-18 Male Soccer Championship in 1981. This competition was hosted in Burin and was extremely successful bringing exposure to the Burin Peninsula and enhancing the peninsula’s ability to host competitions of such calibre outside the St. John’s area. John was excellent at selling the province as a qualified site to host high end quality competitions to the Canadian Soccer Association. He would use his skills to look after the technical and logistical aspects of hosting competitions including high calibre events such as the World Cup qualifiers at King George V soccer field in 1985 and the FIFA Under-18 World Championship regional play downs in 1987. These events brought exposure to the development of soccer in this province and gave residents the opportunity to witness a level of competition they would never normally have the opportunity to see. As McGraths term as President of the Newfoundland Soccer Association came to an end, he created a fee structure that would end his presidency with a surplus of funds. Understanding the importance of quality coaching, this was to be used for retaining professional coaching in order to enhance the technical development of the sport. In 1994 John was elected as a member of the Commonwealth Games of Canada holding the responsibility of of drafting contracts with athletes, coaches and officials who attended various Commonwealth Games Competitions. His sport career continued as McGrath would move onto the Sport Newfoundland and Labrador Board or Directors in 1987 where he held positions until 1995. Along with Angela King, he established the Frank Graham Provincial Volunteer of the Year Award with the Phelan-Graham family. He was responsible for creating a Sport Jury System which was a vehicle that assisted the member provincial Sport Organizations with a mechanism to mediate disputes within their own organization. His skill in this area had him called upon by the department of Sport and Recreation to mediate conflicts and issues dealt with eligibility issues related to the Canada Games. John McGrath has had his hand in many aspects of Soccer and Sport organizations throughout the years. His dedication has lead to many milestones in this province and recognition pieces highlighting our provinces accomplishments.