Celebrating 100 Years of U.S. Soccer
The U.S. Soccer Federation is celebrating its 100-year anniversary in 2013, and the Federation’s roots trace back to a conclave at New York City’s Astor House Hotel on April 5, 1913. Soccer leaders in the U.S. formed the United States of America Foot Ball Association, and this historic meeting set the foundation for U.S. Soccer’s growth and success at all levels – youth, amateur and professional.
U.S. Soccer was one of the world’s first organizations to be affiliated with FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, and has grown into one of the sport’s organizational leaders, integrating player participation and player development into arguably the world’s most successful top-to-bottom National Team program.
Throughout the 100-year history of U.S. Soccer, the organization has been known by three different names: the U.S. of America Foot Ball Association (1913-1944), U.S. Soccer Football Association (1945-1973) and U.S. Soccer Federation (1974-present).
1913-1950 Key Moments in History: From the formation of the U.S. of America Foot Ball Association to the U.S. Men’s National Team’s historic win against England in the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, here is a look at the key moments of U.S. Soccer’s first 38 years:
- April 5, 1913: Soccer leaders among the 48 states convened at New York City’s Astor House Hotel to form the United States of America Foot Ball Association.
- June 21, 1913: Dr. G. Randolph Manning was named the first president of the U.S. of America Foot Ball Association. Manning, who was also the American Amateur Football Association President, was born in England and then educated in Germany, where he was involved in the formation of the Deutscher Fussball Bund (German Soccer Federation) in 1900.
- Aug. 20, 1916: The U.S. defeated Sweden 3-2 in its first international friendly, with goals from C.H. Spalding in the 35th minute, Charles Ellis in the 60th minute and Harry Cooper for the game-winner in the 85th minute. The match was played in front of 16,000 spectators in Stockholm and was the start of a six-game tour in Norway and Sweden.
- Aug. 10-Sept. 24, 1919: National Association Foot Ball League champion and four-time National Challenge Cup winner Bethlehem Steel became the first American professional team to play in Europe when it toured Denmark and Sweden. Led by U.S. Foot Ball Association head coach Thomas Cahill, Bethlehem Steel went 6-2-6 on the tour with four shutouts.
- May 25, 1924: The U.S. MNT posted its first shutout win in only its third international match with a 1-0 victory against Estonia in the preliminary round of the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, France.
- Nov. 8, 1925: Forward Archie Stark scored a record four goals as the U.S. MNT defeated Canada 6-1 in Brooklyn, N.Y. Stark was the greatest first-division goal scorer in U.S. Soccer history, setting records for goals in a first-division season (67) and a first-division career (260), playing most of his greatest years with Bethlehem Steel of the American Soccer League in the late 1920s. – 100 Moments: Archie Stark and America's First Home Game
- 1945: The U.S. Foot Ball Association changed its name to the U.S. Soccer Football Association.
- June 29, 1950: In the opening round of the 1950 FIFA World Cup, Joe Gaetjens scored a 38th-minute goal and the USA defeated heavy favorite England 1-0 at Estadio Independencia in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The entire 1950 World Cup team was inducted to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1976.
1951-1990 Key Moments in History: The professional and college game both gained notoriety and the U.S. Women’s National Team made its debut in 1985. This 40-year span was highlighted the most by Paul Caligiuri and his “shot heard around the world” to lead the U.S. Men’s National Team to its first appearance in the World Cup in four decades:
- Nov. 28, 1959: The first NCAA championship tournament was held, and in the championship St. Louis University defeated Bridgeport University 5-2 at Memorial Stadium in Storrs, Conn.
- Sept. 18, 1961: The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), the governing body of soccer in this part of the world, was founded and was one of six continental confederations recognized by FIFA.
- 1964: The American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), a national association affiliated with U.S. Soccer, is founded.
- 1967: The Soccer Association for Youth (SAY), an affiliate member of U.S. Soccer, is founded.
- 1968: The FIFA-sanctioned United Soccer Association and the unsanctioned National Professional Soccer League merged to form the North American Soccer League. The Atlanta Chiefs defeated the San Diego Toros by an aggregate 3-0 score in the NASL championship series on Sept. 21 and 28.
- 1974: The U.S. Soccer Football Association changed its name to the U.S. Soccer Federation.
- 1974: US Youth Soccer, an affiliate member of U.S. Soccer, is founded.
- July 29-Aug. 11, 1984: The United States hosted the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Though the U.S. MNT did not advance past the group stage, the USA kicked off the event with a resounding 3-0 victory against Costa Rica on July 29 in front of 78,000 spectators at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, Calif. Rick Davis scored two goals and Jean Willrich contributed a goal in that match.
- 1985: The U.S. Adult Soccer Association (USASA), an affiliate member of U.S. Soccer, is founded. USASA, in association with U.S. Soccer, helps stage the annual Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
- Aug. 18, 1985: The U.S. Women’s National Team made its debut, dropping a 1-0 decision against Italy in Jesolo.
- July 7, 1986: In its first domestic match, the U.S. WNT earned its first victory – a 2-0 shutout against Canada in Blaine, Minn. Marcia McDermott and Joan Dunlap, both making their U.S. WNT debuts, each scored a goal.
- July 4, 1988: The United States was awarded the 1994 FIFA World Cup after receiving 10 of the 19 votes, beating out Morocco (7 votes) and Brazil (2 votes).
- Nov. 19, 1989: Paul Caligiuri scored the biggest goal in U.S. Soccer history since Joe Gaetjens’ 1950 World Cup goal against England. Caligiuri’s “shot heard around the world,” a dipping strike from 35 yards out, found the net against Trinidad & Tobago for a 1-0 victory in front of 35,000 Trinidadians to clinch the USA’s first appearance in the World Cup since 1950.
1991-Present Key Moments in History: Soccer in the U.S. gained noteworthy fanfare in this era as the U.S. hosted its first FIFA World Cup in 1994 and brought in record-number attendance figures throughout the tournament. The U.S. Men’s National Team also advanced to the FIFA World Cup Quarterfinals for the first time in 2002 when it blanked CONCACAF foe Mexico. The 1990s and early 2000s also saw the emergence of the U.S. Women’s National Team as a dominant force in the sport, capturing World Cup titles in 1991 and 1999 and winning four Olympic crowns – a first for any country in both men’s and women’s soccer:
- Nov. 30, 1991: In the first-ever FIFA Women’s World Championship, the U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Norway 2-1 in Guangzhou, China. Michelle Akers scored both USA goals in the 20th and 78th minutes and led the tournament with 10 goals as the U.S. went a perfect 6-0-0 in the competition.
- Dec. 13, 1993: Major League Soccer was founded and would launch in 1996 with 10 teams. – 100 Moments: Tab Ramos Becomes First Signing for MLS
- June 18-July 17, 1994: The U.S. hosted its first FIFA World Cup – the 15th edition of the tournament – across nine different cities. More than 3.5 million spectators flocked to stadiums, which is still a World Cup record. The USA also advanced past the first round for the first time in 64 years, highlighted by Earnie Stewart’s 52nd-minute game-winner against Colombia on June 22 for a key 2-1 victory in front of 93,869 fans at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
- Aug. 1, 1996: In the first installment of women’s soccer in the Olympics, the U.S. WNT defeated China PR 2-1 for its first gold medal. Shannon MacMillan had the game’s first goal and Tiffeny Milbrett scored the winner in the 68th minute in front of a crowd of 76,489 at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga.
- July 10, 1999: After 120 minutes of scoreless play, Brandi Chastain scored the game-winning penalty kick as the U.S. WNT defeated China 5-4 in a shootout to win the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup in front of a sellout crowd of 90,125 fans at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Midfielder Kristine Lilly had a game-saving header clearance in sudden-death overtime and goalkeeper Briana Scurry saved China’s third penalty kick shot.
- 2001: US Club Soccer, an affiliate member of U.S. Soccer, is founded.
- June 17, 2002: The U.S. MNT defeated CONCACAF foe Mexico 2-0 to advance to the 2002 FIFA World Cup Quarterfinals. Brian McBride and Landon Donovan provided the scoring and goalkeeper Brad Friedel made six saves in the Round of 16 match in Jeonju, Korea. This marked the first time the U.S. won a single-elimination game in World Cup history, and it was the USA’s first World Cup shutout since the 1-0 upset of England at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil. – U.S. into World Cup Quarterfinals with 2-0 Defeat of Mexico | Where Are They Now: U.S. MNT Forward Clint Mathis
- May 26, 2003: Because of a threat of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in China, FIFA awarded the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup to the United States, with the tournament played from Sept. 23-Oct. 11. Host U.S. settled for third place in the tournament with a 3-1 victory against Canada, a meager consolation for the USA after falling to 2003 World Cup champion Germany in the semifinals.
- Aug. 26, 2004: Forward Abby Wambach scored an overtime goal as the U.S. WNT defeated Brazil 2-1 to win its second gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Lindsay Tarpley had the USA’s other goal during regulation. – U.S. Wins Gold Medal on Wambach Overtime Strike
- October 2007: U.S. Soccer kicked off its first Development Academy season as the top Under-15/16 and U-17/18 clubs and youth players competed against each other to form an integral environment to evaluate up-and-coming athletes and provide a structure to develop and identify players and coaches for future Youth National Teams. U.S. MNT forward Juan Agudelo would become the first Academy player to join the first team when he scored in his debut to lead the U.S. MNT to a 1-0 win against South Africa in the Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup on Nov. 17, 2010.
- June 23, 2010: In perhaps the most dramatic win in U.S. MNT history, forward Landon Donovan scored a 91st-minute goal to give the USA a 1-0 victory against Algeria to win Group C and a berth into the Round of 16 at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Anything other than a victory would have resulted in the USA’s elimination from the tournament. – U.S. MNT Wins Group C with 1-0 Win Against Algeria
- Aug. 9, 2012: The U.S. WNT captured its fourth gold medal with a 2-1 victory against 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup champion Japan in front of 80,203 spectators at Wembley Stadium. The USA became the first country to win four gold medals in soccer among both men’s and women’s teams. Carli Lloyd scored both goals for the USA in the gold medal match. – U.S. WNT Earns Fourth Olympic Gold Medal
U.S. Soccer Centennial: 1913-2013
- Centennial Home Page
- 100 Firsts: U.S. MNT Defender Jeff Agoos (video)
- 100 Moments: Archie Stark and America's First Home Game
- 100 Moments: Tab Ramos Becomes First Signing for MLS
- 100 Moments: First Soccer Bowl Held on Jan. 1, 1950
- Hidden Caps: Walter Dick's 4,000-Mile Trip to Italy
- Hidden Caps: Bruce Arena's Appearance in Israel
- Where Are They Now: U.S. WNT Midfielder Tiffany Roberts
- Where Are They Now: U.S. MNT Forward Clint Mathis
- Where Are They Now: U.S. WNT Midfielder Linda Hamilton
- Where Are They Now: U.S. MNT Forward Ante Razov
- Referee Program: Alfred Kleinaitis Serves as Integral Educator