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Waiters began his career as an amateur with Northern League club Bishop Auckland, moving to Macclesfield Town in 1958. He was capped as an England Amateur in May 1959 while at Loughborough College. He played centre-half in schoolboy football and took up goalkeeping when serving in the RAF. The same year, he was spotted by Blackpool manager Ron Suart and signed to replace the aging George Farm. Turning professional, he appeared over 250 times for Blackpool. He won five England caps in 1964, as Alf Ramsey sought a backup for Gordon Banks with the 1966 World Cup imminent. Although selected in Ramsey's initial squad of 40, ultimately, however, Waiters was not chosen for final 22. Waiters retired in 1967, as Blackpool were relegated from the First Division. Taking up coaching, he worked for the Football Association as a Regional Coach, and for Liverpool's youth development program before moving to Burnley. In 1970, an injury to Burnley's goalkeeper Peter Mellor led to Waiters' coming out of retirement. After making another 40 appearances, he finally retired in 1972.

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Waiters began coaching with the England national youth side and led them to a European Championship held in Italy (1973). He took over at Plymouth Argyle and led them to the Third Division championship and promotion in 1975. He took over the Whitecaps midway through the 1977 season and in 1979 led them to an upset of the New York Cosmos en route to victory in Soccer Bowl '79, the NASL championship.

At the helm of Canada, Waiters saw the side reach the quarterfinals of the 1984 Olympics. At the 1986 World Cup, Canada held France scoreless until late in a 1–0 loss. The team went on to lose their two remaining games and go scoreless for the finals. Waiters managed the team again briefly in 1990.

Waiters has since written books on soccer skills and coaching. He was inducted into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame as a builder in 2001.

Waiters created his company - World of Soccer - in the 1980s, producing a complete series of coaching books, soccer equipment, such as WOS markers, as well as his infamous Ace Coaching cards. Since 2000 he has taken World of Soccer to a new level, developing Total Player Development, which in turn was the base for Byte Size Coaching, a simple yet comprehensive website for soccer parents, coaches and volunteers. Byte Size Coaching is now used by over 350 clubs ranging from Canada, America, UK, Australia and Singapore. Byte Size Coaching was created to help community clubs and soccer associations reach all their coaches.

Waiters continued to coach children and young adults, helping them pursue their soccer goals and moulding players for the future. He was appointed the first Director of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's (NSCAA) Goalkeeping Institute, stepping down in 2006. He remained a National Staff Coach of the NSCAA and U.S. Soccer.

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