Giorgio Chinaglia, the most feared striker in the history of American professional soccer, died on April 1.
Significant deaths in American soccer during 2012.
Former New York Cosmos star striker Giorgio Chinaglia, key performer and controversial personality on one of the most famous soccer teams of his generation, passed away on April 1. He was 65.
Chinaglia died of a heart attack in his Naples, Fla. home.
The former Italian international player helped the Cosmos to four North American Soccer League titles and scored a league-record 242 goals in 254 league matches.
Chinaglia was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2000.
“I am a finisher," he once said. "That means when I finish with the ball, it is in the back of the net." And that is just what he did 193 times for the Cosmos. He closed out his eight-year career with the Cosmos as the NASL's all-time leader in goals. He once scored seven goals in a playoff game as the Cosmos earned championships in 1977, 1978, 1980 and 1982. He scored the game-winning goals in the first and last title encounters.
Born in Carrara, Tuscany in 1947, Chinaglia moved with his family to Cardiff, Wales in 1955. He started his pro career with Swansea Town and eventually moved to Massesse and Internapoli in Serie C, and eventually to Lazio. He enjoyed his greatest Italian success with the Rome-based club, connecting 98 times in 209 matches. He helped Lazio move into Serie A, winning the league title in 1974.
He also represented Italy 14 times, scoring four goals.
Chinaglia endured some problems off the field.
In October, 2006, Chinaglia was sought by Italian authorities, who issued an arrest warrant for him and eight others on charges of extortion and insider trading at Lazio. He remained in the United States since then.
Soccer legend Harry Keough, a member of the U.S. National Team that stunned England and the rest of the world at the 1950 World Cup, died on February 7. He was 84.
A native of St. Louis, Keough made 84 appearances for the United States, scoring one goal. But his most famous game was against heavily favored England in the World Cup, a game that the Americans won, 1-0.
A member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, Keough was one of the stalwarts of the U.S. National Team during the 1940s and 1950s. He earned 19 caps, scoring once for the USA in a 5-1 World Cup qualifying loss to Canada in 1957.
Like it or not, Keough was best remembered for helping anchor a backline against the heavily favored English in the 1950 World Cup. It was England's first participation in a World Cup after years of ignoring the grand event. But he also had a soccer career beyond that game. He represented the U.S. at the Olympics and also performed for St. Louis Kutis, who captured the 1957 U.S. Open Cup crown and the National Amateur Cup six successive times between 1956 and 1961.
Moreover, he also forged a career as a successful college coach, first with Florissant Valley Community College. He then took over as head coach of the St. Louis University soccer team in 1967, where he posted a 213-50-23 record before retiring in 1982.
In his first season, the Billikens shared NCAA championship honors with Michigan State. Keough guided St. Louis to four crowns during the next five years. Those national titles came in 1969 (4-0 win against San Francisco), 1970 (1-0 win against UCLA), 1972 (4-2 victory against UCLA) and 1973 (2-1 overtime win against UCLA). The Billikens also advanced to the 1971 and 1974 championship games. Keough’s six consecutive appearances in the championship final from 1969 to 1974 remains a men’s soccer record to this date.
Keough was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1976, along with his other U.S. teammates from the 1950 World Cup team. Keough’s other honors included an induction into the St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame (1972), the St. Louis University Athletic Hall of Fame (1995) and the NSCAA Hall of Fame (1996).
Keough is survived by wife Alma and his three children, Ty, Colleen and Peggy.
Former Newark Star-Ledger sportswriter Ike Kuhns passed away on April 26. Kuhns was the recipient of the 2008 Colin Jose Media Award from the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
Kuhns served the Northern New Jersey region as a soccer writer from the 1960s, and is perhaps best remembered for his coverage of the North American Soccer League’s Cosmos. His reporting on soccer pre-dated the NASL and included coverage of international soccer at a time when it was virtually unreported in American newspapers.
Kuhns began his reporting career in 1958 as the sports director of the American Forces Korea Network while serving in the U.S. Army. On leave, he attended the 1958 Asian Games in Tokyo, including an exciting soccer final that sparked his interest in a game about which he knew little. Once out of service and in New York City, he attended the international matches at the Polo Grounds promoted by Bill Cox. These continued to build Ike’s growing interest in soccer. While he started with some smaller New Jersey papers, by the time he joined the Star-Ledger in 1965, it was almost World Cup time and Kuhns covered the tournament.
He retired from the Star-Ledger in 2001 and continued to attend Red Bulls games until last year.
Kuhns was a founding member of the Professional Soccer Reporters Association, the organization's first vice president and later president. He was also a life member of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
In addition to soccer, Kuhns served as the Star-Ledger beat writer for the Knicks and Jets for part of his 37-year career. He also was the back-up writer for the Yankees, Mets, Rangers, Devils, and Nets at various times. He covered numerous World Series, Super Bowls, two Ali-Frazier championship fights, Stanley Cup finals, and college football bowl games and college basketball games in the NCAA and NIT tournaments and numerous track and field events, including the Millrose Games and AAU outdoor and indoor championships.
Kuhns was an avid collector of sports memorabilia and at one time his collection included programs from every World Series and Super Bowl.
Longtime soccer promoter Noel Lemon passed away on November 24. He was 68.
A native of Northern Ireland, Lemon came to the United States in 1968 to play for the Philadelphia Spartans in the American Soccer League.
Lemon spent eight years with the Tulsa Roughnecks in the North American Soccer League. During his tenure as General Manager of the club, the team made the playoffs seven times.
He later was President of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the American Soccer League. He andwith former New York Cosmos General Manager Clive Toye partnered to form Mundial Sports Group, and promoted soccer events across the country in the late 80s and early 90s, often featuring the U.S. National Team and top international teams.
Former U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Alketas “Alkis” Panagoulias passed away June 18 in Vienna, Va., at the age of 78.
The native of Thessaloniki, Greece, led the U.S. MNT from 1983-85, and also guided the 1984 Olympic team. He later managed Greece from 1992-94 and lead his country to its first FIFA World Cup appearance in 1994.
Panagoulias coached the U.S. Men’s National Team to a 6-5-7 record. At the time of his tenure, Panagoulis’ six wins were the second-highest total for a U.S. head coach, behind only Walter Chyzowych’s eight-win total from 1976-80.
During the 1984 Olympics, Panagoulias’s U.S. team defeated Costa Rica 3-0 in their opening match on July 29 at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, Calif.
Though born in Greece, Panagoulias emigrated to the United States to continue his education. He became coach of the New York Greek Americans and led the team to three consecutive U.S. Open Cup championships (1967-68-69). He returned to Greece to become an assistant coach with the National Team, then became the head coach in 1973, the first of his three terms coaching the National Squad, taking the team over again from 1977-81 and 1992-94. He led them to the final eight of the 1980 European Nations Cup.
Panagoulias also coached Olimpiakos, twice, Aris twice and Iraklis. He led Olimpiakos to the first division championship in 1982.
He became coach of the U.S. National Team in 1983, a term that included coaching Team America in the North American Soccer League during the 1983 season, when the National Team competed for one season as a Washington DC-based franchise in the league.
After coaching the U.S. he returned to Greece and coached there for another 15 years, then later served as President of Aris Thessaloniki F.C. in 2002 and served as soccer venue manager for the 2004 Olympics Games in Athens.
Longtime Detroit area soccer promoter Gordon Preston died on August 11 from complications following heart surgery. He was 85 years old. A former player in his native England with Bolton Wanderers, Preston moved to the United States in 1956.
He was the Director of Public Relations for the Detroit Cougars, an original franchise in the North American Soccer League, working with them for two seasons, 1967 and 1968, when they played their home games at Tiger Stadium.
Along with Roger Faulkner, he brought the New York Cosmos to play two exhibition games in Detroit, one in 1976 and another in 1977, leading to the formation of the Detroit Express and their admission to the NASL in 1978. As Director of Operations for the club, he engineered the deal to bring Trevor Francis to the Express on loan from Birmingham City for the 1978 and 1979 seasons.
He later was involved in promoting games in Detroit, and was part of the World Cup 1994 bid committee that convinced FIFA to hold World Cup games indoors at the Pontiac Silverdome.
JOHN "CLARKIE" SOUZA
John "Clarkie" Souza, a member of the U.S. National Team that stunned England in the 1950 World Cup, passed away in a Dover, Pa. nursing home on March 11 at the age of 91.
Souza's death leaves only two surviving members of the legendary team that secured that 1-0 victory in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, midfielder Walter Bahr and Frank Borghi.
Souza, who was named to the 1950 World Cup all-star team by Brazilian sports newspaper Mundo Esportivo, also played in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics.
While he was not related to another departed member of that team, Ed Souza, "Clarkie" played on several teams, including the Fall River Ponta Delgada team that won the National Challenge Cup in 1947 and the National Amateur Cup for three consecutive years, from 1946 to 1948.
Souza joined to the New York German-Hungarians in 1951 and was a member of the National Challenge Cup and the National Amateur Cup championship sides that year. Souza played many games at the Met Oval in Maspeth, Queens, which still stands today as the home of the Met Oval youth and Academy teams and the Brooklyn Knights in the Premier Development League.
He was born in Fall River, Mass. on July 12, 1920.
Souza scored three goals in 14 international appearances for the U.S. during a time in which a National Team game was a big deal.