Jim Brown (footballer, born 1908)

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Jim Brown
USA team line up 13 July.jpg
Personal information
Date of birth (1908-12-31)December 31, 1908
Place of birth Kilmarnock, Scotland
Date of death November 9, 1994(1994-11-09) (aged 85)
Place of death Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, U.S.
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Playing position Wing forward
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1927 Bayonne Rovers
1928-1929 Newark Skeeters 17 (7)
1929 New York Nationals 1 (0)
1929-1930 New York Giants 14 (10)
Fall 1930 New York Soccer Club 24 (6)
Spring 1931 Brooklyn Wanderers 16 (6)
Fall 1931 Newark Americans 1 (0)
1932-1934 Manchester United 40 (17)
1935-1936 Brentford 1 (0)
1936-1937 Tottenham Hotspur 4 (0)
1937-1939 Guildford City 150 (148)
1939 Clyde
1950-1952 Greenport United
National team
1930 United States 4 (1)
Teams managed
1948-1950 Greenwich High School
1950-1952 Greenport United
1952-1974 Brunswick School
1956-1958 Elizabeth Falcons

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

James "Jim" Brown (December 31, 1908 – November 9, 1994) was a Scottish American association football player who played for the United States men's national soccer team at the 1930 FIFA World Cup, scoring the only goal of the American team in their 6-1 semi-final loss to Argentina. He began his career in the American Soccer League before moving to England and then Scotland. After retiring from playing, he coached at the youth, senior amateur, and professional levels. He was inducted into the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1986.


While born in Kilmarnock, Brown grew up in Troon, the oldest of four brothers, two who played professionally as goalkeepers. His brother, Jock also earned a cap with Scotland, while youngest brother Tom player professionally in England. Brown became an apprentice riveter at the Troon Shipyard when he was 13. At some point, his father deserted the family and moved to the United States. In 1927, Brown left Scotland to search for his father, settling in Westfield, New Jersey and finding work as a riveter in a factory.

Amateur career[edit]

Brown never played organized football in Scotland as a youth. When he arrived in the United States, he joined the Bayonne Rovers, a local amateur team in 1927. In 1928, he signed as an amateur with the Newark Skeeters of the American Soccer League. However, the league suspended the Skeeters in September 1928 as part of the "Soccer War". Newark then joined two other suspended ASL teams and several others from the Southern New York Soccer Association to form the Eastern Professional Soccer League. Brown played seven games with Newark in the ASL and an unknown number in the EPSL, or ESL as it was better known. However, at the end of the season, he returned to the ASL when he signed with the New York Nationals.

National team[edit]

In 1930, Brown was called up to the U.S.national team as it prepared for the 1930 FIFA World Cup. At the time, national team requirements were less stringent and Brown was selected based on his father’s, not his own, citizenship. Brown played all three U.S. games in the cup as the team went to the semifinals, scoring the only goal for the US in the 89th minute. Following their elimination, the U.S. played a series of exhibition games throughout South America against professional and regional teams in Uruguay and Brazil. Brown scored one goal in the last exhibition game against Botafogo F.C. in Brazil. Only one, a 4–3 loss to Brazil counted as a full international. That was Brown’s last of his four caps with the U.S. national team.[1]

International goals[edit]

United States' goal tally first

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 26 July 1930 Estadio Centenario, Montevideo, Uruguay  Argentina 1–6 1–6 1930 FIFA World Cup

Professional career[edit]

United States[edit]

In 1930, Brown became a professional with the New York Giants. Soon after, he was called into the U.S. national team for the 1930 World Cup. On his return from Uruguay, he rejoined his team, now under new ownership and known as the New York Soccer Club. He played the fall 1930 season with New York S.C. then moved to the Brooklyn Wanderers for the 1931 spring season. Brown moved to the Newark Americans for the fall 1931 season, but by this time the ASL was collapsing. Therefore, he decided to return to Scotland in 1932.[2]

James Brown lifespanwikiuse.jpg


Based on his success in the U.S. both professionally and with the national team, several teams from both England and Scotland expressed an interest in signing Brown. As the ship he was on neared the dock, representatives from these teams awaited him. However, Scott Duncan, manager of Manchester United, took a tugboat out to the liner and signed Brown on board. Brown played from 1932 to 1934 with United, scoring seventeen goals in forty games, second highest on the team. Notably, he scored directly from a free kick in his first game with them. While Brown scored regularly with United, he alienated the team management with his outspoken support for a players’ union. In May 1935, United transferred Brown to Brentford, but his union activities quickly soured his relationship with the team ownership. He made only one appearance for the first team,[3] but scored 53 goals in 73 games for the reserves and won the 1934/35 London Challenge Cup with the side.[4]

In September 1936, Brentford sent Brown to Tottenham Hotspur. In his one season there, he played only four first team games, but scored twenty-one goals in thirty games for the reserves. In July of 1937, Brown moved to the semi-professional Guildford City of the Southern Football League.[5] Over his two seasons with Guildford City, Brown scored 148 goals in 150 games and helped the club win the Southern League title during the 1937-38 season.[5] During the 1938-'39 season, Brown recorded 5 Hat-Tricks and scored 7 goals (6 of them headers) in one Game Vs Exeter City. He then moved north to finish his career with Scottish First Division club Clyde, where he played in at least one game with his brother John against Queen's Park. Just like his debut with Manchester United, he scored directly from a corner kick. He retired due to injuries soon after.

Coaching career[edit]

In 1948, he returned to the United States where he became the head coach of the Greenwich High School soccer team. Two years later, he joined several other men in forming the Connecticut State Amateur League as well as Greenport United. When his son, George began playing for Greenport, Brown joined him for two seasons as a player-coach. He then coached the Brunswick School soccer team for twenty-two years and the Elizabeth Falcons of the American Soccer League from 1956 to 1958. Brown was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Connecticut State Hall of Fame in 2000. His son George was inducted in 1995.

Personal life[edit]

Having retired from playing professionally in 1939, Brown resumed his trade as a riveter in the Troon Shipyard.


FIFA World Cup, US National Team, 3rd Place: 1930

Brentford Reserves

Guildford City


  1. ^ Courtney, Barrie (29 June 2003). "USA - Details of International Matches 1885-1969". RSSSF. 
  2. ^ Jose, Colin (1998). American Soccer League, 1921-1931: The Golden Years of American Soccer.  (Hardback). American Sports History Series #9. . Scarecrow Press. . pp. 544. . ISBN 0-8108-3429-4. 
  3. ^ Brentford Football Club History
  4. ^ a b Haynes, Graham (1998). A-Z Of Bees: Brentford Encyclopaedia. Yore Publications. p. 82. ISBN 1 874427 57 7. 
  5. ^ a b c Brentford F.C. Griffin Gazette versus Cambridge United 28/01/95. Quay Design of Poole. 1995. p. 26. 

External links[edit]