Jimmy Banks, a Wisconsin soccer legend, a veteran of the USA’s 1990 FIFA World Cup squad and the father of Forward Madison FC midfielder JC Banks, passed away on Friday at Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital in Milwaukee after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 54.
Jimmy Banks, who had a standout career at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and spent six seasons with the Milwaukee Wave, dedicated his life to the game in a career spanning more than 30 years, as a player, coach and mentor in the youth soccer community.
“Today we mourn the loss of a Wisconsin soccer legend, and the father of one of our players, Jimmy Banks,” Forward Madison FC said on Twitter. “Jimmy was an incredible person & amazing ambassador for the game in our state. Our thoughts & condolences are with the Banks family at this difficult time.”
Forward Madison representatives said JC Banks would not be with the team for the next few days and would miss the team’s home opener against Greenville Saturday night.
“The entire U.S. Soccer family is deeply saddened by the passing of Jimmy Banks,” U.S. Soccer Federation President Carlos Cordeiro said in a statement. “At a time when few African American players were reaching the elite level of the sport, Jimmy’s rise to play for the U.S. Men’s National Team at the 1990 World Cup inspired a new generation to reach the same level. His time as a player, coach and mentor will leave a lasting impact on the sport in this country, particularly his tireless efforts to grow the game through his inner-city soccer programs. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and teammates as we reflect on his pioneering legacy.”