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Hall of Fame Spotlight - John Staniforth (2002)

John Staniforth was born in Manchester, England on March 1, 1954. As a teenager he had hopes of one day following his Uncle Ron into the professional ranks. He trained and played on the junior teams of Oldham Athletics from 12 to 20, then went on the play for Staleybridge Celtic. Staniforth relocated to Georgia in 1977 and began working with the Atlanta firm of Datagraphic, Inc. 

Company President and soccer visionary George Baker persuaded Staniforth to create and manage an amateur soccer team under the sponsorship of Datagraphic. The Datagraphic Soccer Club was formed and began playing in the Atlanta District Amateur Soccer League (ADASL) in 1978 with John serving as player and manager.

In 1979 the team represented Georgia and the Region III South in the final four of the National Amateur Cup Championship.  In the final, Datagraphic defeated the San Francisco Glens to become the national champions. Staniforth continued his role player and manager until 1994. Under his leadership, the Datagraphic Amateur Team not only won a national championship in 1979, but reached the national finals five more times (1980, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1987) and were runners-up in the 1980 and 1987 finals. The team also reached the National Indoor Championship Finals in 1986. 

As part of his vision with George Baker for a rounded Datagraphic Club, Staniforth added an 19U Team in 1978. That team reached the National McGuire Cup Finals in two of its first three playing years. The Datagraphic Club also added and sponsored youth teams a Datagraphic Over 30 team. The Over 30 team competed in the ADASL and in national cup competitions from 1987 until 2000. 

In the 7 years Staniforth managed and played on the team, they reached the national finals four times and were runner-up in 1994, his last season as player/manager. After 17 years as an active player/manager, Datagraphic honored Staniforth by retiring his jersey, number 13 in 1994. 

Following the death of George Baker in 1993, Staniforth was appointed President of Datagraphic, Inc. and also served as President of the Datagraphic soccer Club until it disbanded in 2000. To date, no other amateur team has surpassed the record and accomplishments of the Datagraphic Amateur Soccer team, again due in large part to Staniforth's dedication.  Many of the players that the Datagraphic Club nurtured have gone on to be coaches and developers of talent in other organizations, following the example the club set for them. Staniforth's efforts provided the opportunity for many Georgia players to develop their talents and reach their personal and team goals.

In 2002, Staniforth was inducted into the Georgia Soccer Hall of Fame.