Johnny Clifford, a Scotland native, is the son of former Celtic player John Clifford. He played at an early age for Celtic youth club before moving on to Livingston FC, signing a YTS professional contract. He started coaching at this time, going through the Scottish FA before completing UEFA B licence (equivalent to U.S Soccer B).
He is in his second season coaching for St. Mary's.
In 2011, Johnny moved to the United States to play soccer at a junior college in Georgia. He played two years at South Georgia College and captained the best team in school history. He was twice named All-Conference and once an All-American in addition to setting the record for most minutes played in South Georgia College history.
He would move on to Benedictine College, where he was a two-time All-Conference selection. In 2013, the Ravens won the HAAC Conference title, earning a berth in the national tournament.
While at Benedictine College, Johnny played and captained the Midland Sockers of the PDL. He returned in 2015 and 2016 as assistant coach, helping lead the Sockers to the best year in franchise history in 2016. That season, the Sockers qualified for their first-ever final four appearance and captured their first Southern Conference Championship after previously being one of the league's lower-ranking programs.
Prior to arriving at St. Mary’s, he worked as an assistant for head coach Matt Barnes at San Francisco State University.