Leonid Buryak

Leonid Buryak

Soviet football player, coach.
Date of Birth: 10.07.1953
Country: Ukraine

Biography of Leonid Buryak

Leonid Buryak is a former Soviet football player and coach. He was born on July 10, 1953, in Odessa, Ukraine. His father, Iosif Ignatievich Buryak, and mother, Maria Nikolaevna Buryak, raised him in a loving family. Buryak is married to Jeanetta Petrovna Buryak (nee Vasyura), a former gymnast, and they have two children together. Their son, Andrey Leonidovich Buryak, is a student of International Relations at Kiev State University, and their daughter, Oksana Leonidovna Buryak, is a ballerina.

Buryak is considered one of the greatest midfielders in Soviet and Ukrainian football history, alongside Igor Belanov. He started playing football in 1963 for the youth team of the "Prodmash" factory and later joined Football School No. 6 in 1966. Initially, he lacked physical strength, but after being invited to the youth team of Odessa, Buryak worked hard to gain weight and improve his skills. In 1972, he received an offer from Dynamo Kyiv, which he eventually accepted after a year of persuasion from the head coach, Sergey Iosifovich Shaposhnikov.

Numerous clubs, including Spartak Moscow, CSKA Moscow, Dynamo Moscow, and Torpedo Moscow, were interested in signing Buryak due to his talent. However, Buryak chose to stay closer to home and join Dynamo Kyiv. He quickly adapted to the team, thanks to his friendship with Oleg Blokhin, who was also a player at Dynamo Kyiv. Buryak made his debut in the Soviet Union Championship against Ararat Yerevan, and his performance helped Dynamo Kyiv secure a victory.

Throughout his career at Dynamo Kyiv, Buryak played 386 games (including 50 in European competitions) and scored 106 goals, an exceptional achievement for a midfielder. He won several trophies, including the Cup Winners' Cup and the Super Cup in 1975, and became a five-time Soviet champion and three-time winner of the Soviet Cup.

Buryak also represented the Soviet Union national team from 1974 to 1983, playing 53 matches and scoring 8 goals. He participated in the qualifying matches for the 1978 and 1982 World Cups and the UEFA European Championships in 1976, 1980, and 1984. He also played for the Olympic national team in 1972 and 1975.

After retiring as a player, Buryak pursued a career in coaching. He started as a player-coach in Finland for KTP-85 and Vantaa teams from 1988 to 1990. He then coached the Evansville University team in the United States in 1991 before returning to Ukraine. Buryak became the head coach of FC Nyva Ternopil in 1993 and helped the team avoid relegation. In the following season, Nyva Ternopil finished 7th in the Ukrainian Championship.

In 1995, Buryak took charge of FC Chernomorets Odessa, the club where he started his career. Despite financial difficulties, Buryak led the team to success, winning the Ukrainian Cup twice and finishing as runners-up in the league twice. His coaching abilities were recognized, and he was appointed as the head coach of the Ukrainian national team in 2001, following in the footsteps of the legendary Valeriy Lobanovsky.

Buryak is a highly decorated figure in Ukrainian and Soviet football. He has been awarded the title of Honored Master of Sports of the USSR (1975) and Honored Coach of Ukraine (1996). He is a four-time winner of the Soviet Cup and a five-time Soviet champion. Buryak has also been recognized as the best coach in Ukraine twice (1995, 1996).

Today, Buryak resides and works in Kyiv, Ukraine, continuing his involvement in football. His dedication and passion for the sport are evident in his life as a player and coach, as he has always strived for excellence and success.