PORTLAND — Jimmy Conway, a former Irish international whose club career included stops with Fulham and the Portland Timbers, has died from complications of dementia. He was 73.
Conway, also the first soccer coach at Oregon State, was diagnosed with dementia in 2009 and was hospitalized in recent years. He passed away Thursday night.
The Dublin native made 20 appearances for the Irish national team between 1966-77 and scored three goals.
He spent 10 years of his club career with Fulham, scoring 67 times in 314 league games, and was a member of the team that went to the FA Cup Final in 1975. The next year he was transferred to Manchester City, where he played two seasons but appeared in just 13 games because of injuries.
Fulham will pay tribute to Conway on Saturday when the team plays Barnsley at Craven Cottage.
Conway came to Portland in 1978 to play for the Timbers of the National American Soccer League. His teammates included Mick Hoban and Clive Charles.
Conway played three seasons with the Timbers and then another two with the team’s indoor team. He was also an assistant coach for the Timbers from 2000-05, and his name is enshrined in the team’s Ring of Honor.
The Timbers will honor Conway on Sunday before a preseason match.
“Jimmy Conway was a Timbers legend whose influence was instrumental in the growth of soccer in Oregon,” the team said in a statement on Friday. “He was admired and respected as a professional for the way he conducted himself at all levels, and had a true love and passion for the game. Our thoughts are with his family and all those whose lives were touched by Jimmy on and off the pitch.”
Conway served as head coach at Oregon State from 1988-1998, amassing a 97-88-14 record, most for any Beavers coach. Oregon State won a conference title under Conway in 1990.
Hoban said Conway’s legacy is vast. Also the longtime director of coaching for the Oregon Youth Soccer Association, nearly everyone in the soccer community has a connection to Conway, Hoban said.
“It reaches across the Atlantic and it reaches all around the state of Oregon. And it’s not just as a coach, and a player, and a clinician. He was just such a great, great ambassador for the game,” Hoban said. “Whenever you mentioned his name to anybody, you’d watch them break into a smile. That’s his legacy.”
Conway is survived by his wife of 50 years, Noeleen, two sons, a daughter, eight grandchildren and 10 siblings. Funeral services are pending.