Ukrainian by birth, Walt Chyzowych played for the United States, became a champion of the American player, and served as National Team coach longer than anyone in history – 1976-1980 – until Bora Milutinovic equaled him in the mid-90s.
His tenure came at a time during which National Team activity was not as robust as nowadays, but he seized the opportunity to infuse the team with a competitive spirit and became an abiding influence in the lives of his players.
He came to the United States in 1947 after having fled the Russian advance through Ukraine late in World War II, ultimately reaching a displaced persons camp in Munich. He had the promise of a cabinet-making job in the US, and that expedited his clearance to emigrate, a happy circumstance for American soccer.
Even beyond playing for and coaching the U.S. Men’s National Team, his resume is impressive. He was a college all-American and played for a variety of amateur and pro teams, before making an impressive impact as a coach. A legendary college coach for Philadelphia Textile and Wake Forest University, he also led the U.S. Olympic Team and Youth National Teams.
Throughout it all, he conducted coaching courses across the nation, helping shape the coaching for the enormous outpouring of participation that the 1970s North American Soccer League unleashed.