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Hall of Fame U.S. MNT Captain and Coach Robert “Bob” Kehoe Dies at 89
CHICAGO (Sept. 6, 2017) – National Soccer Hall of Fame defender Robert “Bob” Kehoe, the only man to have captained and coached the U.S. Men’s National Team, died Monday, Sept. 4, in his native St. Louis; he was 89.
Kehoe played on St. Louis University High’s first soccer team in 1943 before graduating in 1947. A talented multi-sport athlete, he played six years of minor league baseball, winning the 1947 Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri League championship with the Miami Owls.
After the 1950 season he returned home to St. Louis, playing for numerous local powerhouse clubs including a Kutis side that dominated the U.S. Amateur Cup and won the U.S. Open Cup in 1957.
On the national level, Kehoe earned four caps as a defender while captaining the MNT during World Cup qualifying in 1965. He returned to the U.S. National Team in 1972 as head coach during World Cup qualifying.
Before coaching the MNT, Kehoe joined the St. Louis Stars of the North American Soccer League as part of the public relations office, and even managed to play one game for the club in 1968 before being promoted to head coach in 1969, making him the first U.S.-born coach in the star-studded league.
Kehoe continued coaching after his stint at the helm of the U.S. MNT, first earning a college degree in three years from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville at age 45, coaching at Granite City North High for a decade. During that time he also served as director of coaching for the Busch Soccer Club and as a commentator for the St. Louis Steamers.
He was voted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1989. That same year he was also named to the Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association Hall of Fame; then inducted into the St. Louis Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999.