John Kilby arrived in the USA as a young accountant for English International Gas Company in the early 1970s to act as treasurer for its U.S. subsidiaries.
He brought with him a love for soccer, which combined with his leadership talents and administrative skills has made him a valuable member of the New Jersey soccer community for 40 years.
Having played soccer in his hometown of Kingston Upon Hull (near York) and later in Birmingham and London it was natural for John to seek out the game once he arrived in the USA. So he joined the Kearny Scots and played for legendary Hall of Fame coach Jackie Bradley. When the team transferred to Union County SC, John also moved and soon became involved in its administration moving through the executive board ranks and becoming its president in 1979 and again in 1982-1983.
Little did the club officials know at the time that the club’s junior team, run by Miguel Reyna and led by his son Claudio, would become so successful.
“These days when I see parents paying thousands of dollars for children to play at the higher levels I get great satisfaction knowing that our junior teams at the time were supported by dollar boosters and club events so they could compete at the highest levels locally and take international tours,” recalls John. That was is the beauty of the club system. John soon got involved with the executive board of the German American Soccer League, now known as Cosmopolitan Soccer League, rising to its presidency in 1985 serving through 1989.
He stepped aside briefly but would serve again from 1993 through 1999, becoming the longest serving president in the league’s history. He still serves on the board to this day and is a Life Member.
The league has had an enviable history since 1923 and during John’s tenure he became First President of the American Eagles, a joint venture providing the team and coaches for the Cosmopolitan Eagles franchise in the newly created American Soccer League.
He has also served as the Recording Secretary for the NJSA since 2003; “I have arranged soccer leagues in the streets of Hull using tennis balls as a young lad and still today get great enjoyment playing the game and being involved in leagues, running tournaments and in my recent venture into refereeing it has certainly been a lifetime sport,” John says proudly of his soccer career of over 50 years.