Born in Kartharitsi, Greece, Yannis worked in Paris selling papers for the International Herald Tribune, then co-owned by the Times. He moved to the U.S. with his wife and young son in around 1967, traveling on the Queen Elizabeth ship, and went to work for the Times as a news assistant on the metro desk, at the time a rare editorial employee whose first language was not English.
Yannis was promoted to a staff reporter in 1977 and remained with the Times until his retirement in 2004.
He covered college soccer in the 1980s and early ’90s, when it was the sport’s most prominent regular competition in the U.S. He chronicled the demise of the North American Soccer League in 1984 and the launch of Major League Soccer in 1996 and covered three World Cups in all, traveling to the 1986 tournament in Mexico and also writing at the 1994 tournament in the U.S.
In addition to soccer, Yannis reported on the New Jersey Devils’ NHL team and golf tournaments.
Yannis received the 2009 Colin Jose Media Award from the National Soccer Hall of Fame, given annually to a journalist whose career made significant long-term contributions to the sport in the U.S.
Since his retirement he had worked as a starter at Blue Hill Golf Course in Pearl River, New York, in exchange for reduced green fees. according to his son.
His first wife, the former Joan Weber, died in 1998. He is survived by his second wife, the former Guoquin Zhang, whom he married in 1999, and by his son.
A funeral is scheduled for Monday at Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in West Nyack, New York.