90-Year Anniversary Articles: Soccer Wire Decades (1940-49)
USFA CHANGES NAME TO U.S. SOCCER FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION IN 1945; USA QUALIFIES FOR 1950 FIFA WORLD CUP
USFA CHANGES NAME TO U.S. SOCCER FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION IN 1945: The USFA changed its name to the U.S. Soccer Football Association (USSFA) in 1945. Since its inception in 1913, it had been called the U.S. Football Association (USFA).
U.S. COMPETES IN FIRST NORTH AMERICAN CONFEDERATION CUP IN 1947: The USSFA selected the entire team of Fall River Ponta Delgada S.C. of Mass., which won the 1947 National Amateur Cup and U.S. Open Cup, to represent the U.S. as the Men’s National Team at the 1947 North American Confederation (NAC) Cup in Havana, Cuba. The team didn’t have much success at the Confederation Cup, dropping both matches. After being blanked by Mexico 5-0 on July 13, the Americans lost their second game seven days later 5-2 against Cuba. Forwards Ed Souza and Ed Valentine had the only tallies for the U.S. in the loss. Mexico went on to win the 1947 NAC, topping the host Cuba in the final.
1947 U.S. MNT Roster – NAC Cup in Havana, Cuba
GOALKEEPER – Walter Romanowicz; DEFENDERS – Joseph Rego Costa, Joseph Ferreira, Joe Machado, Manuel Martin, Joseph Michaels; MIDFIELDERS – Jesse Braga, Frank Moniz, John Travis; FORWARDS – Ed Souza, John Souza, Ed Valentine
COACH – Andrew Brown
U.S. Results at 1947 NAC Cup – July 13-20
Date Match-up U.S. Scorers Venue Attendance
July 13 Mexico 5, USA 0 – Havana, Cuba 5,000
July 20 Cuba 5, USA 2 E. Souza, Valentine Havana, Cuba 5,000
AMERICANS FINISH SECOND AT 1949 NAC CUP, EARN BERTH TO 1950 WORLD CUP: The U.S. MNT finished second at the 1949 North American Confederation (NAC) Cup in Mexico City, qualifying the team for the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The U.S. played all their NAC games at the Estadio Olimpico in Mexico City, opening the 1949 NAC Cup with a 6-0 loss to the hosts in front of 65,000 spectators on Sept. 4. The Americans recovered 10 days later, but could only manage a 1-1 draw against Cuba. Midfielder Frank Wallace put the U.S. on the board in the 25th minute of play but Cuba equalized five minutes later. Mexico clinched the NAC title with a 6-2 victory over the USA on Sept. 18. Second-half goals by forward John Souza and midfielder Ben Wattman provided the offense for the Americans in the loss. The U.S. captured the final berth to the 1950 World Cup by posting a 5-2 win over Cuba on Sept. 21. Two tallies by forward Pete Matevich and goals by John Souza, Wallace and midfielder Walter Bahr paced the USA to the victory, earning a spot in their first World Cup since 1934.
1949 U.S. MNT Roster (Club) – NAC Cup in Mexico City, Mexico
GOALKEEPERS – Frank Borghi (St. Louis Simpkins Ford – SLSL), Joseph Silovsky (Sparta F.C. – NSL); DEFENDERS – William Bello (Lusitanio S.C., Mass.), Charles Colombo (St. Louis Simpkins Ford – SLSL), Harry Keough (Schulte F.C. – SLSL), Manuel Martin (Fall River Ponta Delgada F.C., Mass.), William Sheppell (Seton Hall University); MIDFIELDERS – Antone Almeida (Fall River Ponta Delgada F.C., Mass.), Walter Bahr (Philadelphia Nationals – ASL), Jack Hynes (New York Americans – ASL), Ben Watman (New York Hakoah A.C. – ASL), Frank Wallace (St. Louis Simpkins Ford – SLSL); FORWARDS – Nicholas DiOrio (Pittsburgh Morgan S.C.), Pete Matevich (Chicago Slovak – NSL), Ben McLaughlin (Philadelphia Nationals – ASL), John Souza (Fall River Ponta Delgada F.C., Mass.)
COACH – William Giesler
U.S. Results at 1949 NAC Cup* – September 4-21
Date Match-up U.S. Scorers Venue Attendance
Sept. 4 Mexico 6, USA 0 – Estadio Olimpico – Mexico City, Mexico 65,000
Sept. 14 USA 1, Cuba 1 Wallace Estadio Olimpico – Mexico City, Mexico 3,000
Sept. 18 Mexico 6, USA 2 J. Souza, Wattman Estadio Olimpico – Mexico City, Mexico 65,000
Sept. 21 USA 5, Cuba 2 Matevich (2), Bahr, Estadio Olimpico – Mexico City, Mexico 7,000
J. Souza, Wallace
* Doubled as 1950 WC Qualifiers
COACH GIESLER PICKS SQUAD FOR 1948 OLYMPICS IN LONDON: Head Coach Walter Giesler picked a 14-man U.S. Men’s Olympic Team Roster for the 1948 Summer Games in London, where the first Olympic Games were held after the conclusion of World War II. The U.S. squad included five players from the 1947 Open Cup Champions, Fall River Ponta Delgada S.C., four from 1948 Open Cup Winners, St. Louis Simpkins Ford, and two from the 1948-1949 American Soccer League (ASL) Champion, Philadelphia Nationals.
1948 USSFA Olympic Roster (Club)
GOALKEEPER – Archie Strimel (Pittsburgh Curry Vets); DEFENDERS – Robert Annis (St. Louis Simpkins Ford – SLSL), Charles Colombo (St. Louis Simpkins Ford – SLSL), Joseph Rego Costa (Fall River Ponta Delgada S.C.), Joseph Ferreira (Fall River Ponta Delgada S.C.), Manuel Martin (Fall River Ponta Delgada S.C.); MIDFIELDERS – Walter Bahr (Philadelphia Nationals – ASL), Ray Beckman (De Andries F.C.), William Bertani (St. Louis Simpkins Ford – SLSL), Gino Pariani (St. Louis Simpkins Ford – SLSL); FORWARDS – Bernard McLaughlin (Philadelphia Nationals – ASL), Ed Souza (Fall River Ponta Delgada S.C.), John Souza (Fall River Ponta Delgada S.C.), Rolf Valtin (Swarthmore University)
COACH – Walter Giesler
ITALY ELIMINATES USA IN FIRST ROUND OF OLYMPICS: After earning a bye from the preliminary round, the U.S. were eliminated from the 1948 Olympics with an 8-0 defeat at the hands of Italy at the Griffin Park Brentford in London on August 2. Down only 2-0 at the half, the Americans gave up six unanswered goals in the second stanza for the loss.
U.S. TRAVELS TO NORWAY, NORTHERN IRELAND AFTER OLYMPICS: After the 1948 Olympics, the U.S. MNT played two international friendlies in Norway and Northern Ireland from August 6-11. The Americans suffered two embarrassing defeats, losing 11-0 to Norway in Oslo on August 6, and then being blanked by Northern Ireland 5-0 five days later in Belfast.
AMERICANS DROP 4-0 DECISION TO SCOTLAND AT HOME: Scotland’s National Team concluded its nine-game 1949 North American tour with a 4-0 victory over the U.S. in front of 17,000 spectators at Randalls Island, N.Y., on June 19. The Americans played their first international match on U.S. soil since 1926 and were no match for the Scottish team, who ended their North American tour with an impressive 8-1 record. During the tour, Scotland posted victories over the all-star teams from St. Louis (6-0), American League (4-1), New Jersey (3-1), Toronto (2-0), Canadian Eastern (5-2), Philadelphia (8-1) and New England (3-1). The Scottish’s only defeat was to Belfast Celtic of Ireland 2-0 at Randalls Island, N.Y. on May 29.
BALTIMORE S.C., CHICAGO SPARTA A.B.A. DECLARED 1940 OPEN CUP CO-CHAMPIONS: The 1940 U.S. Open Cup did not have a clear-cut winner for the first time in tournament history as both finalists – Baltimore S.C. (ASL) and the Chicago Sparta A.B.A. (NSL) – were declared co-champions after each game in the two-game final ended in draws. After battling to a scoreless tie in the first game played in Baltimore on May 5, 1940, the second match in Chicago finished 2-2 seven days later.
GONSALVES EARNS SEVENTH AND EIGHTH CHAMPIONSHIPS: U.S. MNT midfielder Billy Gonsalves, who played in two FIFA World Cups (Uruguay 1930, Italy 1934), won his seventh and eighth Open Cup titles after leading the Brooklyn Hispaño (ASL) to back-to-back championships (1943-1944). The Brooklyn Hispaño won the 1943 Open Cup by defeating the Pittsburgh Morgan-Strasser 3-2 in a replay match on May 30. The two squads tied the first game 2-2 on May 23. The Hispaño made it two in a row in 1944 after again topping Morgan-Strasser 4-0 on May 14. Gonsalves retired in 1947, after spending five ASL seasons with the Brooklyn Hispaño.
NYC’S STARLIGHT PARK HOSTS RECORD SEVENTH OPEN CUP FINAL: The Starlight Park in the Bronx, N.Y. hosted its seventh Open Cup Final in 1945, as the New York Brookhattan (ASL) defeated the Cleveland Americans 4-1 in the first match of the two-game championship series on June 10. The Brookhattan went on to win the series 6-2 on aggregate to capture their first Open Cup title. The Starlight Park had previously hosted Open Cup Finals from 1937-1940 and also in 1943.
FALL RIVER PONTA DELGADA S.C. WINS “DOUBLE” IN 1947: Fall River Ponta Delgada S.C. of Mass. became the first team to win both the National Amateur Cup and the U.S. Open Cup (“Double”) in the same year (1947). After winning two consecutive National Amateur Cups (1946-1947), the Ponta Delgada captured the 1947 Open Cup title with a convincing 9-3 aggregate victory over the Chicago Sparta (NSL) in the two-game final. Ponta Delgada easily won the first game over Sparta 6-1 on August 31, 1947, with two tallies by U.S. MNT forward Ed Souza, and one each from midfielder Ed Valentine and forward John Souza. Ponta Delgada completed the two-game sweep with a 3-2 victory over Sparta on Sept. 7, 1947.
NSCAA IS FORMED IN 1941: In 1941, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) was organized by 10 coaches during the annual meeting of the Intercollegiate Soccer Football Association of America in New York.
PONTA DELGADA S.C. CAPTURES THREE STRAIGHT NATIONAL AMATEUR CUPS: Fall River Ponta Delgada S.C. became the first squad to capture three consecutive National Amateur Cups from 1946-1948. Ponta Delgada S.C. won its first title in 1946 by topping the Pittsburgh Castle Shannon 5-2. The following year Ponta Delgada had no trouble in the final, crushing the St. Louis Carondelets 10-1. The squad made it three in a row in 1948, edging the Pittsburgh Curry Vets 4-1 for the championship.
1990 U.S. WC HEAD COACH BOB GANSLER IS BORN: 1990 U.S. World Cup Head Coach Bob Gansler was born on July 1, 1941 in Mucsi, Hungary. The current Kansas City Wizards’ (Major League Soccer) head coach, moved to the USA in 1952 and later played internationally for the U.S. MNT between 1963-1969. He captained the 1964 and 1968 Olympic Teams as well as the 1967 Pan American squad. Gansler also saw action in five international matches with the full U.S. MNT in 1968. After his playing career he went on to coach the U.S. Under-19 MNT from 1979-1982. He then spent two years (1987-1989) at helm with the U.S. U-20 squad. Gansler was named the U.S. MNT head coach in early 1989 and led the squad to a second-place finish in the CONCACAF Final Round of World Cup Qualifying for Italy 1990 and a berth to their first world cup in forty years. Afterwards, Gansler coached the Milwaukee Rampage of the United Soccer Leagues from 1996-1998, leading them to the 1997 A-League Championship in 1997. He led his current squad the Kansas City Wizards to the MLS Cup in 2000.
Peak Performer: U.S. MNT midfielder Billy Gonsalves won his seventh and eighth Open Cup titles after leading the Brooklyn Hispaño (ASL) to back-to-back championships in 1943 and 1944. The two-time world cup veteran (Uruguay 1930, Italy 1934), retired in 1947 with the most Open Cup crowns of any U.S. MNT player. Gonsalves had previously won with the Fall River Marksmen (ASL) from 1930-1931, New Bedford Whalers (ASL) in 1932, Stix, Baer & Fuller (SLSL) from 1933-1934 and the St. Louis Central Breweries in 1935.
Marquee Match-up: The U.S. MNT topped Cuba 5-2 on September 21, 1949 at the Estadio Olimpico in Mexico City to finish second at the North American Confederation Cup, clinching a berth along with Mexico to the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Soccer Shocker: For the first time since the inception of the tournament in 1914, the 1940 U.S. Open Cup did not have a clear-cut winner as both finalists – Baltimore S.C. (ASL) and the Chicago Sparta A.B.A. (NSL) – were declared co-champions after each game of the two-game final ended in draws (0-0, 2-2).
National Soccer Hall of Fame (www.soccerhall.org)
Historical articles and publications by Roger Allaway, Colin Jose, Dave Litterer
A complete collection of historical articles will be featured in a limited-edition 90-Year Anniversary Publication, a coffee-table book which will be published for fans and U.S. Soccer constituencies around the time of the organization’s 87th Annual General Meeting in Chicago from Aug. 13-16, 2003.
Note: Media outlets using excerpts from this feature article should courtesy ussoccer.com directly.