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U.S. Soccer Mourns Passing of National Soccer Hall of Famer Phil Woosnam

  • Former NASL Commissioner and U.S. Men’s National Team Coach was Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997

CHICAGO (July 21, 2013) – Former U.S. Men’s National Team head coach and Commissioner of the North American Soccer League Phil Woosnam passed away due to complications related to prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s disease on Friday at the age of 80 in Dunwoody, Georgia.

“We are saddened by the loss of one of the most important individuals in the history of American soccer. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “The impact that Phil Woosnam had in the growth of soccer in the United States was immense. He was a giant in the sport and his leadership, passion and knowledge will be missed.”

Born in Wales, Woosnam played for numbers professional clubs during a 16-year career and earned 17 caps with the Welsh National Team. He came to the United States in 1966 at the age of 35, and quickly became a pioneer for soccer.

In 1968 he was named coach of the U.S. MNT, serving in the role for nine games, including four World Cup qualifiers. That year he also began his role as NASL Commissioner, a position he held until 1982. Under his guidance, the NASL brought in world-class players such as Pele, and during its heyday included a total of 24 clubs.

Woosnam was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1997.