A mainstay on the U.S. Men’s National Team in the late 1980s and early ’90s, defender Desmond Armstrong was a versatile and humble leader who helped build the foundation of the U.S. Men’s success in the following decades.
Armstrong earned 81 international caps and 73 starts during his eight years with the U.S. Men’s National Team from 1987 to 1994, logging 6,528 minutes for the USA defense. In 1993 alone he earned 27 caps and played for 2,128 minutes. That minutes total ranks second all-time for one year behind only fellow 1993 defenseman Mike Lapper (2,205).
A member of the U.S. team in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea, Armstrong recovered from a broken leg the following year and played in all three matches of the USA’s trip to the 1990 FIFA World Cup. It was a tremendous achievement for Armstrong and his team, which advanced to the world stage for the first time in 40 years.
Armstrong played in both the 1991 and 1993 CONCACAF Gold Cups and helped lead the U.S. to a victory against Honduras to win the inaugural 1991 Gold Cup.
His professional career included stops with teams in the Major Indoor Soccer League (named an All-Star in 1987), American Professional Soccer League, the USISL and the Continental Indoor Soccer League. In 1991, Armstrong became the first American to sign professionally in Brazil when he joined the legendary Santos FC.
The Washington, D.C., native earned All-ACC First Team honors in 1984 and ACC Second Team accolades in 1983 and 1985 for the University of Maryland, where he was a stalwart defender and midfielder.