Thomas Cahill (soccer)

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This article is about the Irish American athlete. For other uses, see Tom Cahill.

Thomas W. Cahill (December 25, 1864 - September 29, 1951) was an Irish American athlete, coach and businessman who was one of the founding fathers of soccer in the United States.[1]

Early life[edit]

Thomas Cahill was born in New York City, but moved to St. Louis, Missouri in 1871. He attended St. Louis University and built a reputation as one of the pre-eminent amateur athletes in the country. Originally favoring running and baseball, he became interested in soccer after witnessing a game involving a team visiting from Toronto. In 1897, Cahill founded St. Louis Shamrocks which competed in the St. Louis Association Foot Ball League. They won the league title in 1899 and 1900. Although he owned Shamrocks, he also managed several other team including St. Louis Spalding's in 1903-04 and Diel F.C. during the 1904-05 season.[2]

Establishing soccer in the United States[edit]

Cahill returned to the East Coast and settled in Newark, New Jersey in 1910. It was there that he decided to establish a national governing body for soccer. He traveled to Stockholm in 1912 to attend the FIFA annual congress with the intention of gaining recognition for the American Amateur Football Association, a group he co-founded. This attempt failed, though he ultimately achieved his goal when he formed the United States Football Association,[3][4] which would later become the United States Soccer Federation. He served three separate terms as the Executive Secretary of the USFA; 1913-1921, 1923-1924 and a final term in 1928.[5] In 1921 Cahill was instrumental in forming the American Soccer League, which was the first serious attempt to establish a professional league in the United States. He served as the organization's secretary in its early years.

National team coach[edit]

In 1916 he became the first coach of the United States men's national soccer team, taking a team for a tour of Scandinavia.

Later life[edit]

Cahill was enshrined in the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1950. He died the next year in South Orange, New Jersey.


  • Spalding's Official "Soccer" Football Guide 1914-15, American Sports Publishing (PDF, 21 MB)
  • Spalding's Official "Soccer" Football Guide 1915-16, American Sports Publishing (PDF, 21 MB)
  • Spalding's Official "Soccer" Football Guide 1916-17, American Sports Publishing (PDF, 23 MB)
  • Spalding's Official "Soccer" Football Guide 1917-18, American Sports Publishing (PDF, 17 MB)
  • Spalding's Official "Soccer" Football Guide 1918-19, American Sports Publishing (PDF, 13 MB)
  • Spalding's Official "Soccer" Football Guide 1921-22, American Sports Publishing (PDF, 16 MB)
  • Spalding's Official "Soccer" Football Guide 1922-23, American Sports Publishing (PDF, 20 MB)


  1. ^ Wangerin, Dave (2006). Soccer in a Football World: The Story of America's Forgotten Game. WSC Books. p. 176. ISBN 0-9540134-7-6. 
  2. ^ 1904-05 Spalding Soccer Foot Ball Guide, see pp. 42, 52, 77
  3. ^ Dumaux, Sally A. (2002). King Baggot: A Biography and Filmography of the First King of the Movies. McFarland & Company. p. 136. ISBN 0-7864-1350-6. 
  4. ^ Kirsch, George B. (2000). Encyclopedia of Ethnicity and Sports in the United States. Greenwood Press. p. 25. ISBN 0-313-29911-0. 
  5. ^ Allaway, Roger (2001). The Encyclopedia of American Soccer History. Scarecrow Press. p. 411. ISBN 0-8108-3980-6. 

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