Tomasz Radzinski: Canadian Trailblazer

Tomasz Radzinski: Canadian Trailblazer

Player Profile: Tomasz Radzinski

Date of Birth: 14/12/1973

Height: 1.74 m

Position(s): Striker, Winger

National Team: Canada

International Caps: 46

International Goals: 10

Club Career

Tomasz Radzinski had a truly global playing career. Radzinski was born in Poland and spent most of his early years there. As a boy, he starred for his local club, Cuiavia Inowroclaw, in Poland. This earned him a move abroad to the academy at VfL Osnabruck in Germany at the age of 13. 

Radzinski stayed at Osnabruck until 1990 when his family moved to Canada in search of better work opportunities. 

While in Canada, Radzinski began his career professional with the North York Rockets in the Canadian Soccer League. He played with the team for 3 seasons as the team moved from the defunct CSL to the National Soccer League. 

When the club folded in 1994, Radzinski moved to the St. Catherines Wolves of the Canadian National League. 

In 1994 Radzinski returned to Europe with a move to Belgian club Germinal Ekeren. The club is now known as Beerschot AC after a merger with Germinal Beerschot. 

Radzinski became a star for Ekeren, scoring 42 goals in 104 matches. During his time at Ekeren, he helped the club lift the Belgian Cup in the 1996-97 season. It is the club’s only Belgian Cup win to date.

His scoring record at Ekeren earned him a move to the big boys. Radzinski joined Belgian giants RSC Anderlecht on a free transfer in the summer of 1998. 

It was with Anderlecht that Radzinski would grow his global profile. 

To say that Radzinski was prolific at the club would be an understatement. He scored 57 goals in 90 appearances. With Anderlecht, he picked up two Belgian First Division trophies and was the top scorer in the league in the 2000-01 season. 

He helped Anderlecht to the knockout stages of the Champions League in the 2000-01 season with his 5 goals in the Champions League. It would be his final season with Anderlecht though, as England came calling. 

Impressed with his displays in Belgium and the Champions League, English Premier League club Everton bought Radzinski for £4.5 million. At the time, this was the highest transfer fee ever paid for a Canadian footballer. 

While his goal-scoring output did drop off, Radzinski proved himself to be a capable striker for Everton. He scored 25 times in 91 Premier League games for the Toffees in his 3 seasons on Merseyside.

He’s not fondly remembered by Evertonians though as he went with the scorched earth strategy to force a move away from Goodison Park. 

The club had offered Radzinski a one-year extension in the hopes that he would stay with the club, but Radzinski wanted a longer deal. When Everton wouldn’t budge, he handed in his transfer request. But that wasn’t all he did. 

Radzinski publicly criticized then-manager David Moyes and told the press that Everton starlet Wayne Rooney should leave the club. Those comments managed to end the wonderful relationship he had built with the Goodison Park faithful. It wasn’t until his public apology in 2018 that good relations were restored. 

Needless to say, Radzinski was quickly sold to fellow Premier League club Fulham. 

Radzinski would play 103 times for Fulham, but the goals all but dried up. He scored just 11 times for the Cottagers, however, he won fans over with several well-timed and crucial goals. 

At the end of the 2006-07 season, Radzinski was released and joined Greek club Skoda Xanthi. 

It was in Greece that he found his scoring boots again, netting 14 goals in 25 matches during the 2007-08 season. 

The Canadian spent just one season in Greece after claiming several members of the club were involved in match-fixing. He returned to Belgium with the Second Division club Lierse in the summer of 2008. 

Radzinski’s time with the club would be successful both personally and for the club. He helped the club achieve promotion to the Belgian First Division by winning the division in 2009-10, and scored 39 times in 86 matches. The time spent with the Belgian club would help him further his career in retirement as well.

His final career move took him back to the Belgian Second Division with Waasland-Beveren on a short-term deal for the final 5 months of the 2012 season. He scored 7 times in 14 matches for the club.

Radzinski finished his career with over 500 matches played and over 200 goals scored. He is, without doubt, one of the finest Canadian exports the game has ever seen. 

International Career

Tomasz Radzinski had a difficult relationship with the Canadian Soccer Association during his time with the national team. 

Radzinski chose to play for Canada because they called him up. In fact, he’d only been living in Canada 4 years before he received his first cap. A native of Poland, Radzinski had options. He chose Canada because there was an almost immediate prospect of international football. 

Radzinski appeared 3 times for the U23s in 1994 before he finally earned his first senior cap in 1995. He made 13 appearances for Canada between 1995 and 1997, scoring his first senior goal in a 1996 Gold Cup loss to Brazil. 

His relationship with the national team began to show wear in 1998 when he did not feature at all during the calendar year. The animosity continued into 1999, and things finally boiled over in October of that year. 

Radzinski was called up for a series of fixtures, and after agreeing to go, failed to show up. Radzinski refused to take interviews explaining why he declined, or give any sort of reasoning behind his decision. Canada responded by petitioning FIFA from playing for his club team, Anderlecht, during the time he was to have been away. 

The head of CSA, Kevan Pipe, claimed Radzinski had insulted his teammates, his country, and his coach, and that he shouldn’t be expecting a call-up again. 

Fortunately for both parties involved the relationship warmed back up and Radzinski publicly stated he’d like to be involved with the Canadian National Team in 2001. 

Radzinski featured in 3 World Cup Qualification campaigns for Canada but was never able to get them to the finals. 

He would go on to make 46 total appearances for the Canucks and finished his international career in 2009 with 10 goals, placing him 9th on Canada’s all-time scoring list. 

Where is Tomasz Radzinski Now?

Radzinski has stayed in football in retirement, working as the technical director for Belgian club Lierse S.K from 2013 to 2015. Since April 2017, Radzinski has been working as a sports management advisor at Atticus Sports Management, where he helps players deal with the challenges of a professional football career.

Did You Know?

– Tomasz Radzinski holds a Belgian passport through his marriage. 

– He was inducted into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame in 2018

– Radzinski was Canadian Soccer’s 1998 Player of the Year

– He Became the first Canadian to reach the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League in 2000-01 with Anderlecht

– He’s one of just 10 Canadians ever to play in the English Premier League.