Derek Currie was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1949. At the age of 21 he travelled to the then-British colony of Hong Kong to become one of the first three European professionals to play soccer in Asia. Over a 12-year career he played against greats such as Pelé and Eusébio, but also met celebrities from a range of fields, including Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood and Marvin Hagler. During a spell playing for the San Antonio Thunder in the NASL, Currie scored the official first goal in the Bicentennial League against the St. Louis All-Stars.