The Brotherhood: Aaronsons are the Latest Set of Brothers to Represent USMNT

Brenden and Paxten Aaronson Looking to Become Eighth Set of Brothers to Play in Same USMNT Match
By: Jeff Crandall

Already the ninth pair of brothers to have represented the USMNT, Brenden and Paxten Aaronson could become the eighth set to play in the same international match, with the first opportunities coming during the Concacaf Nations League quarterfinal series this month against Trinidad and Tobago.

Here’s a look at the sets of brothers to have played together for the USMNT.

Archie and Tommy Stark (1925) 

The first pair of brothers to play together for the USMNT, Archie and Tommy Stark started the 1-0 defeat at Canada on June 27, 1925 in Montreal in what was just the seventh match in USMNT history.

The game was Tommy’s only appearance for the USMNT, while Archie (pictured above) would earn one more cap when he became the first USMNT player to record four goals in a match, coming in the 6-1 win vs. Canada on Nov. 8, 1925 at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, N.Y. 

Rolf and Otto Decker (1953)

The Decker brothers had an incredible story long before they represented the USA. Born to Jewish parents in Germany during the 1930s, the brothers were sent to England as part of the Kindertransport in the months before the start of World War II. There, they both represented local clubs before reuniting with their mother in New York City in 1950.

Playing for Brooklyn Hakoah upon their arrival, the Deckers were called up for a 1953 friendly against England at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, and became the first pair of brothers to appear in the same match for the USMNT. Rolf started and went the distance, while Otto was the lone U.S. substitute, and scored two of the U.S. goals in the 6-3 defeat.

With his brace that day, Otto Decker became not only first substitute to score for the USMNT, but also the first to score multiple goals off the bench – a feat that wasn’t again achieved until Ade Coker did it in a World Cup qualifier against Netherlands Antilles on Oct. 6, 1984. To date, only eight USMNT players have scored multiple goals in a substitute appearance.

Otto’s historic substitute appearance was the lone one he made for the USMNT, while Rolf went on to earn four caps through 1955.

James and Russ Murphy (1957)

Both members of the powerhouse St. Louis Kutis side that won the 1957 National Challenge Cup (now known as the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup), the Murphys represented the USA when U.S. Soccer decided to have Kutis double as the USMNT for two World Cup qualifiers against Canada in 1957.

The Murphy brothers started both matches – a 5-1 defeat in Toronto on June 22, 1957, before returning to St. Louis where the USA fell 3-2 on July 6, 1957. 

During the USMNT’s recent visit to the Gateway City in September, 87-year-old James (pictured far left) was one of 27 St. Louis-based USMNT alumni to be honored prior to kickoff of USA-Uzbekistan at CITY PARK.

Charlie and Henry McCully (1975)

The McCully brothers played together twice during the 1975 Mexico Cup, a four-team round robin tournament held in Mexico City.

Charlie had earned seven caps prior to the tournament (all in 1973), before he was joined on the roster by his brother Henry. They started together twice – a 3-1 loss to Costa Rica on Aug. 19, 1975 and 2-0 loss to Mexico on Aug. 25, 1975.

Both made their last appearances for the USMNT that day, Henry finishing with two caps and Charlie finished with 11. 

George and Louis Nanchoff (1978 and 1979)

The Nanchoffs played together twice, once in each year. Both were second half substitutes in a 2-0 loss at Switzerland on Sept. 6, 1978. They again featured together, both starting in a 4-1 loss to the Soviet Union on Feb. 11, 1979 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco in what was George’s final cap. Louis (pictured below), meanwhile stayed on with the team through the end of 1980, playing in three of four qualifiers for the 1982 World Cup.

While they only played twice together, the Nanchoffs are the only pair of USMNT brothers to both earn double-digit caps, with Louis making 12 appearances and George earning 10.

Angelo and Paul DiBernardo (1985) 

Both born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and raised in the Chicago suburbs, the DiBernardo brothers played together once in the 1-1 draw with Switzerland on Feb. 8, 1985 in Tampa. Angelo (pictured below) started and went the full 90 minutes, collecting the assist on Perry van der Beck’s goal. Paul entered the match in the 85th minute in what was his only USMNT cap.

Angelo represented the USMNT 20 times from 1979-1985, with his last cap coming on May 31, 1985 when the U.S. was knocked out of 1986 World Cup qualifying with a 1-0 home defeat to Costa Rica.

Ken and Steve Snow (1988)

Another set of brothers that grew up in the Chicago suburbs, Ken and Steve Snow are the youngest USMNT brothers to appear in a match together, featuring for about 15 minutes in the second half of a 1-0 friendly win against Costa Rica on June 14, 1988 in San Antonio. 

Ken, who was 18, started the match and departed in the 59thminute, while Steve (pictured above), who was 17, entered the match at the start of the second half. The appearance was Ken’s second and final for the USMNT, while Steve earned one more senior cap the following year in a friendly loss to Korea Republic, before going on to help the U.S. U-23 side qualify for the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.

The only other pair of brothers to represent the USMNT were Pedro and John DeBrito. Born in the African nation of Cape Verde, the two brothers grew up in Waterbury, Conn., with older brother Pedro making his first and only appearance in a 2-0 win at Haiti in a friendly on April 8, 1983.

Eight years later, John made his USMNT debut when he came on as a substitute in a 1-0 friendly loss at Bermuda on Feb. 21, 1991, and would go on to earn six appearances through 1992.