Frank Borghi backstopped the 1950 U.S. World Cup team. (FrontRowSoccer.com photo by Michael Lewis)
By Michael Lewis
After goalkeeper Frank Borghi passed away in 2015, Walter Bahr became the lone surviving member of the U.S. 1950 World Cup team that shocked England, 1-0, Belo Horizonte, Brazi.
It should be noted that all players, coach and manager have been inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
Here is what happened to the members of the team (in alphabetical order):
Walter Bahr, left halfback, 90
Bahr lives in Pennsylvania Bahr coached at Penn State from 1974-88, as the Nittany Lions finished third in the NCAA tournament in 1979. He succeeded the late Bill Jeffrey. Bahr, who won American Soccer League titles in 1950, 1951, 1953 and 1955, played in 19 international matches, scoring once. He also participated in the 1948 Olympics. Bahr also is known as the father of two National Football League kickers — Chris Bahr, who played for the Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Raiders and San Diego Chargers for 14 seasons, and Matt Bahr, who has kicked for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles in 1993 Chris was the North American Soccer League rookie of the year in 1975. His son Casey was a member of the U.S. Olympic team.
Frank Borghi, goalkeeper, deceased
Borghi, who passed away Feb. 2, 2015 at 89, had been the executive director of a St. Louis funeral home for more than 25 years. “The guys played hard and just outhustled the English on that day,” Borghi recalled. Borghi made only nine appearances for the U.S. national side during a career that last from 1949 to 1954 in an American soccer era in which international matches were few and far between. During his tenure, Borghi won two of nine games, registering a 2-5-2 record while surrendering 27 goals and earning two shutouts. One of those clean sheets was a scoreless draw with Mexico during World Cup qualifying on Sept. 4, 1949, the other was that historic game in Brazil June 29, 1950.
Charles Colombo, center halfback, deceased
Colombo, who died May 7, 1986 at the age of 65, was a supervisor for Swift and Company, “the biggest meat packer in the country,” Colombo said before he passed away. Nicknamed “Gloves” because he wore gloves during matches, Colombo he won U.S. Open Cup medals while playing for Simpkins-Ford. Colombo called England a “million-dollar team.” In the late seventies and early eighties, he said he still fooled “around with soccer a little,” playing in oldtimers games. Colombo, who played for the Simpkins-Ford amateur team in St. Louis, made 11 appearances for the U.S.
Joe Gaetjens, center forward, presumed dead
There was much intrigue and mystery surrounding the presumed death of the man who scored the U.S’s only goal in that match. Gaetjens went on to play with Racing Club Paris and Ales in France. Later, he returned to his native Haiti, where he arrested by the Haitian secret police on July 8, 1964 and never heard from again. “It’s hearsay,” Harry Keough said. “Members of his family were politically active. Joe was like a child in some respects. He didn’t care who the president was. He was a free soul or free spirit as we say today. From what I understand, they came one night and took him away. He’s never been seen again.” Gaetjens was 40 at the time. He scored only once for the U.S. in three matches, but was a goal that was. Gaetjens also played for Haiti in 1944 and 1953.
Walter Giesler, manager, deceased
Giesler collapsed on the podium during his induction speech to the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame on July 4, 1976. He died the next day at the age of 66. He had been recently released from a St. Louis hospital and he had congestion problems. “He died with soccer on his lips. that was the way Walter wanted to go,” Harry Keough said. Giesler was a former president of the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Bill Jeffrey, coach, deceased
Jeffrey died of a heart attack at the 1966 National Soccer Coaches Association of America convention. Jeffrey was one of the most successful coaches in college history, compiling a 153-24-29 record at Penn State from 1926 to 1952. That include a 65-game unbeaten streak from 1932 to 1941. Keough said Jeffrey allowed the team to play its own game. “He recognized there wasn’t much he could do with strategy,” Keough said. “He could have put us in some ironclad system, but he didn’t.”
Harry Keough, right fullback, deceased
Keough passed away on Feb. 7, 2012 at 77 He was a retired U.S. Post Office employee and coach of the St. Louis University soccer team, directing the Billikens to five national titles and a 213-50-23 record. Keough also made appearances for the USA at the 1952 and 1956 Olympics and played for the famed St. Louis Kutis amateur teams from 1953-61. He played in 19 national team games, scoring once from 1949-57. His son, Ty, played for the San Diego Sockers (NASL) and Cincinnati Kids, St. Louis Steamers and Kansas City Comets (Major Indoor Soccer League) and was a TV commentator. Ty also was a member of the 1980 Olympic that qualified for the Moscow Summer Games, but not participate due to a U.S. boycott.
Joe Maca, left fullback, deceased
Maca, who passed away July 13, 1982 at the age of 61, was an interior decorator in Massapequa, N.Y. for more than 25 years. He was born in Belgium, but became a U.S. citizen. He played three times for the Red, White and Blue, scoring once. “I played in the Belgian Third Division,” Maca said before he died. “There were certainly many players who were better than me. They’re completely forgotten.” Maca wasn’t. When he returned to his native country in the seventies, he received a hero’s welcome, and an entire back page of a newspaper was dedicated to Maca and the 1950 World Cup team. Maca is the father of Alain Maca, who was the very first draft choice in NASL history in 1972.
Ed McIllveny, right halfback, deceased
McIllveny, who was born in Scotland, passed away in Sussex, England at the age of 63 May 19, 1989. After emigrating from Scotland, McIllveny played for the Fairhill Club and Philadelphia Nationals in eastern Pennsylvania. He played with Wrexham in the English League in the 1947-48 season, scoring once in seven matches and then performed twice for Manchester United of the English First Division in 1950. He also made 57 appearances with Waterford from 1953-57. McIllveny represented the U.S. three times with no goals.
Gino Pariani, inside right, St. Louis, deceased
Pariani a retired freight dock worker, died at 79 on May 9, 2007. Pariani, who has several grandchildren, grew up in the same neighborhood in St. Louis with Borghi, Colombo and Wallace. Like Colombo, he won a pair of U.S. Open Cup medals with Simpkins-Ford in 1948 and 1950. He earned five caps with the national team. Pariani began his soccer career at the age of 13. By 15 he was playing in the top division, winning a league championship with Schumackers that year. He won two U.S. Open Cup championships with the Simpkins-Ford team in 1948 and 1950. His career highlights included selection to the St. Louis Municipal League All-Star team every year from 1947 until 1953. “Gino was probably more appreciated by his teammates than the fans,” World Cup teammate and fellow Hall of Famer Walter Bahr said. “Always reliable, always gave a good game — you could depend upon him to do his job well.”
Ed Souza, outside left, deceased
Souza died of natural causes May 19, 1979. Although it was reported they were brothers, the Souzas were not related. Souza played on the 1948 and 1952 Olympic teams. Souza played seven times for the U.S., scoring twice. He played with River Ponta Delgada and New York German-Hungarian SC.
John (Clarkie) Souza, inside left, deceased
Souza, who once lived in Fall River, Mass. was retired machine mechanic living in Pennsylvania. “He took some money earned while working in a mill in New York City and invested in it,” Keough said. 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. Souza played for the 1950 U.S. Open Cup champion New York German-Hungarians (who called the Metropolitan Oval home). He was as skilled a player as I ever played with or against,” Bahr said. “He was a real gentleman. He also was a private person and serious about his soccer. and his physical health. Everything he did. If he had a beer or tea, that was a lot. . . . You have to describe him as a class person.” Souza died on March 11, 2012. He was 91.
Frank (Pee Wee) Wallace, outside right, deceased
Wallace died in November, 1979 in St. Louis at the age of 57. He died after a long bout with a brain tumor. His funeral was held at Borghi’s funeral home. He was a mailman. Wallace, who was a prisoner of war in a German camp for 16 months during World Cup II, played for Simpkins-Ford for 10 years. For the record, Wallace was not small; he was 5-10. “He was an outstanding player, a great man,” Keough said. Wallace made seven appearances with the national team, scoring three times.