This week's installment of U.S. Soccer's ongoing 90-Year Anniversary Articles Series is a look back at the 1950s via Soccer Wire Decades: 1950-1959. This Special Edition Soccer Wire will give you a glimpse into the state of the game in the U.S. in the 1950s, from the U.S.'s stunning victory over England in the 1950 World Cup to earning a bronze medal at the 1959 Pan American Games.
SOCCER WIRE DECADES (1950-1959)
Part of U.S. Soccer's On-going 90-Year Anniversary Articles
USA COMPETE IN 1950 FIFA WORLD CUP IN BRAZIL; AMERICANS STUNS ENGLAND IN WORLD CUP FIRST ROUND; U.S. WINS BRONZE MEDAL AT 1959 PAN AMERICAN GAMES
U.S. SHOCKS ENGLAND IN 1950 WORLD CUP: A crowd of 10,151 at Estadio Independencia in Belo Horizonte, Brazil witnessed one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history as the U.S. stunned England 1-0 on June 29, 1950. U.S. forward Joseph Gaetjens produced the historic goal in the 37th minute, heading home a long shot from midfielder Walter Bahr past English goalkeeper Bert Williams to shock England and the rest of the soccer world. England searched for the equalizer as they pressured the U.S. defense and goalkeeper Frank Borghi for the remainder of the match. The English came close to scoring in the 82nd minute, but forward Jimmy Mullen’s header off a free kick was cleared by Borghi, and the Americans held on for the win.
WILLIAM JEFFERY NAMES U.S. MNT ROSTER FOR 1950 WORLD CUP: After finishing second in the 1949 North American Confederation Cup and earning a berth to the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, U.S. MNT head coach William Jeffery selected a 17-player roster for the FIFA competition. This would be the Americans' third FIFA World Cup appearance and the first since 1934. Of the 17 U.S. members selected, five were from the 1950 U.S. Open Cup Champions St. Louis Soccer League’s Simpkins-Ford, while two each came from the Fall River Ponta Delgada, S.C. and the Philadelphia Nationals of the American Soccer League.
1950 U.S. MNT Roster – FIFA World Cup in Brazil
Goalkeepers – Frank Borghi (St. Louis Simpkins-Ford – SLSL), Gino Gardassanich (Chicago Slovaks – NSL);
Defenders – Robert Annis (St. Louis Simpkins-Ford – SLSL), Charles Colombo (St. Louis Simpkins-Ford – SLSL), Geoffrey Combes (Chicago Vikings – NSL), Robert Craddock (Pittsburgh Harmarville S.C.), Harry Keough (St. Louis McMahon), Joseph Maca (Brooklyn Hispaño – ASL), Edward McIlvenny (Philadelphia Nationals – ASL);
Midfielders – Walter Bahr (Philadelphia Nationals – ASL), Gino Pariani (St. Louis Simpkins-Ford – SLSL), Frank Wallace (St. Louis Simpkins-Ford – SLSL), Adam Wolanin (Chicago Eagles – NSL);
Forwards – Nicholas DiOrio (Pittsburgh Harmarville S.C.), Joseph Gaetjens (New York Brookhattan – ASL), Ed Souza (Fall River Ponta Delgada S.C.), John Souza (Fall River Ponta Delgada S.C.)
Coach – William Jeffery
USA SQUANDERS LEAD THEN FALLS TO SPAIN IN WORLD CUP OPENER: The U.S. MNT lost the lead in the final 10 minutes of their opening group match, dropping a 3-1 decision to Spain at the Estadio Brito in Curitiba, Brazil on June 25, 1950. The USA got on the board in the first 18 minutes of the game as midfielder Gino Pariani one-timed a low cross into the net from just outside the penalty area for an early 1-0 advantage. But, forward Estanislao Basora leveled the score 1-1 for the Spanish in the 80th minute of play and then added another tally two minutes later. Spanish midfielder Temo Zarra made it a 3-1 final with another goal in the 85th minute.
CHILE TROUNCES U.S. IN FINAL GROUP MATCH: Chile, who had already been eliminated from advancing, ended the Americans’ slim chance of earning a spot in the next round of the 1950 World Cup by handing the U.S. a 5-2 defeat at the Estadio Ilha do Retiro on July 2. The U.S. fell victim to midfielder Atilio Cremaschi’s hat-trick as he paced Chile to the victory in the final match of Group 2. After trailing 2-0 at the intermission, the U.S. came back to equalize the match 2-2 with back-to-back tallies in a span of 60 seconds by defender Joseph Maca and midfielder Frank Wallace. But, Chile scored three unanswered goals the rest of the way for the 5-2 victory.
- U.S. MNT ACTIVITY -
AMERICANS LOSE THREE IN-A-ROW TO UK TEAMS: The U.S. MNT lost three consecutive international friendly matches to countries from the United Kingdom (UK) in the 1950s. In the team’s first full national team activity since the 1950 World Cup, Scotland blanked the U.S. 6-0 in Glasgow on April 30, 1952. The Americans did not play another match until June 8, 1953 as England gained revenge from the 1950 World Cup with an easy 6-3 victory in New York’s Yankee Stadium. Second half substitute Otto Decker scored twice and forward George Atheneos added another in the loss for the U.S. The USA fell once again to England 8-1 six years later at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, Calif. on May 28, 1959. Forward Ed Murphy had the only tally for the Americans in the defeat.
USA ATTEMPTS TO QUALIFY FOR 1954, 1958 FIFA WORLD CUPS: After stunning the world with their performance in the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the U.S. MNT attempted to qualify for back-to-back tournaments in Switzerland 1954 and Sweden 1958. The U.S. MNT Head Coach Erno Scwartz was in charge of the squad for the qualifying round in 1954, while George Meyer was at the helm with the USA during the 1958 qualifying stage. Scwartz combined 10 players from the American Soccer League (ASL), German-American Soccer League (GAL), National Soccer League of Chicago (NSL) and St. Louis Soccer League (SLSL), along with five coming from amateur teams to form the U.S. MNT World Cup qualifying roster in 1954. Most of the players chosen for the 1958 MNT qualifying roster came from the St. Louis Kutis S.C., which was the 1957 U.S. Open Cup and National Amateur Cup Champions. Meyer rounded off the U.S. team with players from the other amateur squads and several professional teams from the ASL and NSL.
U.S. MNT Roster – World Cup Qualifying Round, Switzerland 1954
Goalkeepers – Frank Borghi (St. Louis Simpkins-Ford – SLSL), Donald Malinowski (Pittsburgh Hamarville S.C.);
Defenders – Edward Emberger (Philadelphia Americans – ASL), Harry Keough (St. Louis Kutis S.C.), John O’Connell (New York Americans – ASL), William Sheppell (Newark S.C.);
Midfielders – Walter Bahr (New York Brookhattan – ASL), Cornelius Casey (New York Americans – ASL), Steve Grivnow (Pittsburgh Hamarville S.C.), Terry Springthorpe (New York Americans – ASL);
Forwards – Efraim Chachurian (New York Swiss – GAL), William Looby (St. Louis Kutis S.C.), Eugene Petramle (Chicago Maroons – NSL), Edward Souza (Pawtucket Rangers – ASL), John Souza (New York German-Hungarians – GAL)
Coach – Erno Scwartz
U.S. MNT Roster – World Cup Qualifying Round, Sweden 1958
Goalkeepers – Robert Burkhard (St. Louis Kutis S.C.), Svend Engedahl (Los Angeles Danish Americans), Leroy Franks (St. Louis Kutis S.C.);
Defenders – William Eppy (St. Louis Kutis S.C.), Harry Keough (St. Louis Kutis S.C.), Bud Lillie (Los Angeles McIlwaine), Russell Murphy (St. Louis Kutis S.C.), Val Pelizzaro (St. Louis Kutis S.C.), John Traina (St. Louis St. Ambrose), Herman Wecke (St. Louis Kutis S.C.), Robert Whitehead (St. Louis Kutis S.C.), Louis Yacope (Pittsburgh Hamarville S.C.);
Midfielders – Walter Bahr (Philadelphia Uhrik Truckers – ASL), George Brown (Elizabeth Polish Falcons – ASL), James Hannah (Elizabeth Polish Falcons – ASL), Lloyd Monsen (New York Hakoah – ASL), James Murphy (St. Louis Kutis S.C.), Zenon Snylyk (Chicago Ukrainian Lions – NSL), Terry Springthorpe (New York Hakoah – ASL);
Forwards – Elwood Cook (St. Louis Kutis S.C.), Gene Grabowski (Elizabeth Polish Falcons – ASL), Ben McLaughlin (Philadelphia Uhrik Truckers – ASL), Ruben Mendoza (St. Louis Kutis S.C.), Ed Murphy (Chicago Slovak – NSL), Robert Rooney (St. Louis Kutis S.C.), Al Zerhusen (Los Angeles Kickers)
Coach – George Meyer
U.S. FINISHES SECOND IN QUALIFYING BUT DO NOT ADVANCE TO 1954 WORLD CUP: The U.S. MNT once again finished second in a three-North American Nations round-robin World Cup qualifying competition, but with only a single berth on the line, the Americans did not qualify for Switzerland 1954. Due to the winter weather, the USSFA agreed to play both home games against Mexico and Haiti in Mexico City and Port-au-Prince, respectively. The Americans opened the competition dropping back-to-back games to Mexico at the Estadio Olimpico in Mexico City on Jan. 10-14, 1954. After being blanked 4-0 in the first game on Jan. 10, 1954, the U.S. dropped the second match 3-1 four days later. Mexico went on to post two consecutive shutouts (8-0, 4-0) against Haiti and clinched the only spot for North America at the World Cup. With both teams eliminated and FIFA refusing to allow the USA to forfeit the matches against Haiti, the two squads face-off against each other in a two-game series at the Paul E. Magloire Stadium in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on April 3-4, 1954. The Americans snapped a international five-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over the host on April 3. Forwards Efraim Chachurian, William Looby and midfielder Cornelius Casey all had tallies for the USA. The next day, Looby scored twice, while forward Ruben Mendoza added another in a 3-0 shutout over Haiti in the final match of the series.
AMERICANS LOSE FOUR GAMES AND MISS OUT ON SWEDEN 1958: The U.S. MNT World Cup qualifying drought continued as the squad dropped all four qualifying matches in 1957and missed out on Sweden 1958. The USA’s three-team group included Mexico and Canada with the winner advancing to meet Costa Rica, who eliminated Guatemala and the Netherlands Antilles. The Americans began qualifying play by dropping a 6-0 decision to Mexico at the Estadio Olimpico in Mexico City on April 7, 1957. The U.S. then hosted their first-ever World Cup qualifier at the Memorial Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif., but suffered a 7-2 rout at the hands of Mexico on April 28. Two goals by forward Ed Murphy weren’t enough for the USA as Mexico easily posted the victory. With a slim chance of qualifying, the USSFA decided to field the entire St. Louis Kutis S.C team as the U.S. MNT against Canada on June 22, in Toronto. Kutis S.C. had captured both the U.S. Open Cup and the National Amateur Cup in 1957, but were no match for Canada and fell 5-1 at Varsity Stadium. In the final game of the series, the Canadians squeezed out a 3-2 win against the Americans at the Public Schools Stadium in St. Louis, Mo., on July 6. The U.S. did well to cut a three-goal deficit to 3-2 on tallies by forward Ruben Mendoza and midfielder James Murphy, but the Maple Leafs held on for the win.
- OLYMPICS -
USSFA SENDS TEAMS TO COMPETE IN 1952, 1956 OLYMPICS: The U.S. Soccer Football Association (USSFA) sent teams to the Olympic Summer Games of 1952 in Helsinki, Finland and 1956 in Melbourne, Australia. John Wood was at helm for the squad in Finland in 1952, while Jimmy Mills coached the USA four years later in Australia. U.S. MNT defender Harry Keough, who played in the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, was on both Olympic rosters (1952, 1956).
USSFA Olympic Rosters
Helsinki, Finland – 1952
Goalkeeper – Robert Burkhard (St. Louis Kutis S.C.);
Defenders – Charles Colombo (St. Louis Simpkins-Ford – SLSL), Andy Keir, Harry Keough (St. Louis Raiders – SLSL), Ebby
McHugh, William Schaller, William Sheppell (Neward S.C.);
Midfielders – Bill Contario, John Dunn, Marty Krumm, Lloyd Monsen (New York Hakoah – ASL);
Forwards – Elwood Cook (St. Louis Kutis S.C.), Ruben Mendoza (St. Louis Kutis S.C.), John Souza (New York German-Hungarians – GAL), Larry Surrock
Coach – John Wood
Melbourne, Australia – 1956
Goalkeeper – Svend Engedahl (Los Angeles Danish Americans);
Defenders – Harry Keough (St. Louis Kutis S.C.), Alfonso Marina, Zenon Snylyk (Chicago Ukrainian Lions – NSL), Herman Wecke (St. Louis Kutis S.C.), Siegbert Wirth;
Midfielders – John Carden, Ronald Coder, Bill Contario, Rolf Decker, Lloyd Monsen (New York Hakoah – ASL) Richard Packer;
Forwards – Ed Murphy (Chicago Slovak – NSL), William Looby (St. Louis Kutis S.C.), Ruben Mendoza (St. Louis Kutis S.C.), Al Zerhusen (Los Angeles Kickers)
Coach – Jimmy Mills
ITALY KNOCKS OUT U.S. IN 1952 OLYMPICS: For a third consecutive time, Italy knocked out the U.S. in the first round of the Olympics, crushing the Americans in the 1952 edition in Helsinki, Finland 8-0 at Ratina Stadium on July 16. The Italians had previously eliminated the Americans in the 1936 and 1948 Olympics. The U.S. entered the single-elimination tournament with little preparation having played only two scrimmages in New York and dropping two friendly matches against France (2-1) and Egypt (4-1) prior to the competition. Eventual gold-medal winner Hungary eliminated Italy 3-0 in the second round. Yugoslavia won the silver, while Sweden took the bronze.
AMERICANS DROP 9-1 DECISION TO YUGOSLAVIA IN 1956 OLYMPICS: The U.S. dropped a 9-1 decision to Yugoslavia in the opening round of the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia on Nov. 28. Forward Al Zerhusen scored the only goal for the USA as the Americans’ losing streak in Olympic play was extended to six matches, dating back to 1924. The last Olympic game the U.S. won came against Estonia (1-0) on May 25, 1924 in Paris. Yugoslavia went on to lose to the U.S.S.R. 1-0 in the gold medal match.
MEXICO DEFEATS USA IN 1960 OLYMPIC QUALIFYING SERIES: With qualification for the 1960 Olympics on the line, Mexico defeated the U.S. in a home-and-home qualifying series, 3-1 on aggregate. Mexico opened the two-game series with a 2-0 shutout over the USA in Mexico City on Oct. 8, 1959. The U.S. could only manage a 1-1 draw against the Tri-Colores in the second match played in Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 22. Forward Ed Murphy had the U.S. tally in the tie against Mexico.
- 1959 PAN AMERICAN GAMES -
JIM REED LEADS U.S. INTO 1959 PAN AMERICAN GAMES IN CHICAGO: The U.S. USSFA selected Jim Reed as the head coach to lead the first American squad into the 1959 Pan American Games in Chicago, Ill., from Aug. 28 to Sept. 5, 1959. Reed named an 18-man roster, which included five players that saw action with the full U.S. MNT against England on May 28, 1959 in Los Angeles, Calif.
U.S. Pan American Games Team – Chicago 1959
Goalkeeper – Victor Ottobini;
Defenders – Jacob Ruscheinski, Willy Schaller, Joe Speca, John Traina, Herman Wecke (St. Louis Kutis S.C.);
Midfielders – Alex Ely, Val Pelizzaro, Zenon Snylyk (Chicago Ukrainian Lions – NSL);
Forwards – George Brown, Rolf Ganger, Gene Grabowski (Elizabeth Polish Falcons – ASL), P. Kulischenko, William Looby (St. Louis Kutis S.C.), Ron Maierhofer, Ed Murphy (Chicago Slovak – NSL), Jim Strachrowsky, Al Zerhusen (Los Angeles Kickers)
Coach – Jim Reed
USA WINS FOUR-OF-SIX MATCHES TO EARN BRONZE MEDAL: The U.S. won their first international medal since the 1930 FIFA World Cup, when the squad won four of six matches to earn a bronze medal, behind gold medallist Argentina and runner-up Brazil, at the 1959 Pan American Games in Chicago. After opening the tournament with a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Argentina the day before, the USA rebounded and trounced Haiti 7-2 on Aug. 29. Forward Al Zerhusen led the offensive attack with four goals, while teammate William Looby added two more for the Americans. A hat-trick by forward Ed Murphy and two tallies by Zerhusen paced the U.S. to a stunning 5-3 win against Brazil on Aug. 31. After blanking Cuba 5-0 on Sept. 2, the USA’s winning streak ended the following day with a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Costa Rica. The Americans wrapped up the competition winning the bronze medal after defeating Mexico 4-2 on Sept. 5. Murphy scored twice, while Looby and Zerhusen each notched a goal in the victory.
- U.S. OPEN CUP -
N.Y. GERMAN HUNGARIANS S.C. WINS “DOUBLE” IN 1951: The New York German Hungarians became the second team in history to win both the National Amateur Cup and the U.S. Open Cup (“Double”) in the same year (1951). After topping the Pittsburgh Harmarville S.C. 4-3 for the National Amateur Cup, the German Hungarians won their first Open Cup title by defeating the Pittsburgh Heidelberg 8-6 on aggregate score in the 1951 two-game championship series. Heidelberg took the first match 4-2 in Bridgeville, Pa. on June 10, then the German Hungarians rebounded in the second game on July 17, with a convincing 6-2 victory. 1950 U.S. World Cup forwards Ed and John Souza (no relation) each scored a goal for the German Hungarians in the win against Heidelberg.
NEW YORK AMERICANS CAPTURE 1954 OPEN CUP, ENDING 17-YEAR DROUGHT: The New York Americans of the American Soccer League ended a 17-year drought by once again capturing the U.S. Open Cup after defeating the St. Louis Soccer League’s Kutis in the 1954 two-game final. After playing to a 1-1 tie in the opener in St. Louis on April 18, the host N.Y. Americans won their first Open Cup title since 1937 after posting a 2-0 victory over the Kutis in the second match on May 16.
ST. LOUIS KUTIS S.C. BECOMES THIRD TEAM TO DO “DOUBLE” IN 1957: The St. Louis Kutis S.C. became the third team in history to do the “Double” in 1957, winning both the National Amateur Cup and the U.S. Open Cup. The two-time defending National Amateur Cup Champions (1956-1957) captured the 1957 Open Cup title by topping the American Soccer League’s New York Hakoah in a two-game final 6-1 on aggregate. The host St. Louis Kutis S.C. took the first game 3-0 on March 31, and then completed the series sweep with a 3-1 victory in the second match in Bronx, N.Y. on April 14.
- AROUND THE SOCCER WORLD -
URUGUAY SPOILS BRAZILIAN PARTY IN 1950 WORLD CUP FINAL: Uruguay spoiled the 1950 FIFA World Cup Championship dreams of 174,000 Brazilian fans at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on July 16, 1950 as they defeated the host 2-1 in the final match of the tournament. Even though Uruguay won two Olympic Gold Medals (1924, 1928) and a World Cup (1930), they were still considered the underdogs in the last game of the four-team round-robin final. After forward Friaca gave Brazil a 1-0 lead two minutes into the second half, Uruguayan midfielder Juan Schiaffino equalized in the 66th minute of the match. Brazil would have clinched the 1950 title with a draw, based on the overall standings from the four-team final round that included Spain and Sweden, but forward Alcides Ghiggia notched the game-winner for Uruguay with 11 minutes remaining for the 2-1 victory.
NATIONAL SOCCER HALL OF FAME IS FORMED IN 1950: The National Soccer Hall of Fame came to life in 1950 when a group of former professional and amateur players from the Philadelphia "Old-timers" Association took it on themselves to recognize the achievements of soccer in America. The Hall was then established in 1979 in their current location in Oneonta, N.Y. In the 52 years since the "Old-timers" first got together, 220 members have been elected to the Hall of Fame for their outstanding contributions to American soccer, both on and off the field. The USSFA assumed administration of the National Soccer Hall of Fame by mutual agreement with the Old-Timers Soccer Association of Philadelphia in 1953.
U.S. INTERCOLLEGIATES TRAVEL TO BERMUDA IN 1952: A selected U.S. Intercollegiate squad traveled to Bermuda for a five-game tour from Dec. 21, 1952 to Jan. 1, 1953. The team led by manager Ross Smith and coach Tom Dent was composed of players from the universities of Cornell (Ithaca, N.Y.), Dartmouth (Hanover, N.H.), Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) and Yale (New Haven, Conn.). The select squad opened the tour with a 3-1 win over Bermuda Athletic Association on Dec. 21, 1952. After dropping a 2-1 decision to Bermuda’s Army/Navy on Dec. 23, the Intercollegiates topped the National Sports Club 4-2 three days later. The team closed out the tour with back-to-back losses to Bermuda Football League All-Stars (8-1) on Dec. 28, and the Bermuda Football Confederation All-Stars (8-2) on Jan. 1, 1953.
U.S. Intercollegiate Roster
Roland T. Addis (Dartmouth), George Boateng (Cornell), Joseph Devaney (Pennsylvania), Paul Dietche (Co-Capt.-Yale), Robert Drawbaugh (Dartmouth), Jaime Ginard (Cornell), Jackson Hall (Co-Capt.-Dartmouth), Donald Hertan (Cornell), Bart Lachelier (Yale), William Lewing (Cornell), Peter Parker (Yale), John Rice (Dartmouth), Richard Roberts (Dartmouth), James Shoffner (Cornell), Roy Tellini (Cornell)
Manager – Ross Smith (Cornell)
Coach – Tom Dent (Dartmouth)
WEST GERMANY STUNS HUNGARY IN FINAL TO WIN 1954 WORLD CUP: After being crushed by the same squad in the first round 8-3, West Germany stunned Hungary 3-2 in the final and won the 1954 FIFA World Cup in Berne, Switzerland on July 4. The crowd of 60,000 at the Wankdorf Stadium saw Hungary take a 2-0 early but West Germany notched back-to-back tallies for a 2-2 halftime score. Midfielder Helmut Rahn scored the game-winner with six minutes remaining to give West Germany their first World Cup title.
ST. LOUIS KUTIS S.C. WINS NATIONAL AMATEUR CUP TITLES FROM 1956-1959: Led by several active members of the U.S. MNT (such as defender Harry Keough and forward William Looby), the St. Louis Kutis S.C. won four consecutive National Amateur Cups from 1956-1959. The Kutis S.C. captured their first crown in 1956, defeating the Philadelphia Ukrainian 1-0. The St. Louis squad made it two in a row with a 1-0 win over the Rochester Ukrainian in 1957. After topping the Pittsburgh Beadling 2-1 in the finals a year earlier, the Kutis S.C. took their four consecutive title with a 7-2 (5-0, 2-2) aggregate score win over the Detroit St. Andrew Scots in 1959.
YOUNG PELE LEADS BRAZIL TO FIRST WORLD CUP CROWN IN 1958: After just missing the championship in 1950, a 17-year-old forward named Pele led Brazil to their first FIFA World Cup after notching two goals in the 5-2 victory against the host Sweden on June 29, 1958 in Stockholm. Forward Vava also scored twice, while midfielder Mario Zagallo added another in the victory for Brazil in front of 51,800 spectators at Rasunda Stadium. Pele had also earned a hat-trick five days earlier in Brazil’s 5-2 win over France in the semifinals in Stockholm.
FIRST NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP TAKES PLACE IN STORRS, CONN. IN 1959: The first National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Soccer Championship was held in Storrs, Conn., in 1959. St. Louis University won the title, topping Bridgeport University 5-2 in the final.
- BORN THIS DECADE -
2002 WORLD CUP COACHING STAFF OF ARENA, MYERNICK, SARCHAN: Three members of the 2002 U.S. World Cup Coaching Staff in Korea/Japan were born in the 1950s. Current U.S. MNT Head Coach Bruce Arena was born on Sept. 1, 1954, while assistant and current Under-23 MNT head coach Glenn Myernick was born on Dec. 29, 1954. Former U.S. MNT assistant coach Dave Sarachan, who is now at helm with Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire, was born on June 7, 1954.
- DECADE SPOLIGHT -
Peak Performer: Forward William Looby had a fantastic decade as he scored six goals in eight international matches for the U.S. MNT from 1954-1959. Looby, who played with the Americans at the 1956 Olympic Games in Australia, also led the USA to a bronze medal in their first-ever appearance at the Pan American Games in Chicago three years later. Looby also had success at the club level guiding the St. Louis Kutis S.C. to four consecutive National Amateur Cups (1956-1959) and the 1957 U.S. Open Cup.
Marquee Match-ups: The U.S. squad had six marquee match-ups in the 1959 Pan American Games held in Chicago and finished 4-2 to earn a bronze medal. After dropping the opener 4-1 to the eventual gold medallist Argentina, the USA posted three consecutive victories against Haiti (7-2), Brazil (5-3) and Cuba (5-0), before losing to Costa Rica in a thrilling match, 4-3. The Americans concluded the competition with a 4-2 victory over Mexico to capture the bronze medal, their first international award since the 1930 FIFA World Cup.
Soccer Shocker: What was pictured as an easy blowout victory by England resulted in a shameful defeat at the hands of the USA, which posted a 1-0 shutout in the first round of the 1950 World Cup on June 29, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The crowd of 10,151 at the Estadio Independencia saw forward Joseph Gaetjens score the lone goal of the match late in the first half. England looked for the equalizer but a solid U.S. defense along with some key saves by netminder Frank Borghi kept the score 1-0.
Quote: “I was the captain against Spain, because I spoke Spanish. Ed McIlvenny was the captain against England, because he was British and Walter was the captain against Chile, because he was the real captain anyway.” said U.S. MNT defender Harry Keough on why the squad used three different captains for the three matches at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil.
National Soccer Hall of Fame <www.soccerhall.org>
Historical articles and publications by Roger Allaway, Colin Jose, Dave Litterer