Walter Bahr

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Walt Bahr
Personal information
Full name Walter Alfred Bahr
Date of birth (1927-04-01) April 1, 1927 (age 89)
Place of birth Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Playing position Defender
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
Philadelphia Nationals
Uhrik Truckers
Philadelphia United German-Hungarians
National team
1948–1957 United States 19 (1)
Teams managed
1958–1963 Philadelphia Spartans
1964–1969 Philadelphia Ukrainians
1970–1973 Temple Owls
1974–1988 Penn State Nittany Lions
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Walter Alfred Bahr (born April 1, 1927 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is a retired American soccer player, considered one of the greatest ever in his country.[1] He was the long-time captain of the U.S. national team and played in the 1950 FIFA World Cup when the U.S. defeated England 1–0, in what is considered one of the greatest upsets in sports history. As of February 2, 2015, Bahr is the sole surviving member of the 1950 squad.

Playing career[edit]

Bahr, a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, began playing soccer at the age of 11 and joined the Philadelphia Nationals of the professional American Soccer League as an amateur player. His talent was obvious and he was paid a great compliment during the Scottish national team tour of the U.S. in 1949 by former Scottish international Tommy Muirhead, who wrote in the Glasgow Daily Mail, "Bahr is good enough to play for any First Division team in the United Kingdom."[2]

After participating in the 1948 Summer Olympics, Bahr turned professional and helped his club win ASL titles in 1950, 1951, 1953, and 1955. He then switched to the Uhrik Truckers, another team in the Philadelphia area, and won the ASL title in 1956. However, "professional" soccer players at that time made little money and Bahr also was a high school teacher during his playing years. In the late 1960s and through the 70's Bahr was a Physical Education teacher at Frankford High School in Philadelphia. He also coached the soccer team.

National team[edit]

Additionally, he was selected to the U.S. national team in 1949 and appeared in 19 games, with one goal. over his international career during a time when the team played only a few games a year. In the 1950 upset of the English team, Bahr supplied the pass that Joe Gaetjens headed in for the winning goal.[3] The entire team was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1976.

In January 2004, Bahr and the four other living members of the 1950 World Cup Team (Frank Borghi, Harry Keough, Gino Pariani and John Souza) were recognized as Honorary All-Americans by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America at its annual convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.


Walter Bahr, with Vice-president Joe Biden in 2010

After his retirement as a player, Bahr became a successful soccer coach, leading the Philadelphia Spartans and the Philadelphia Ukrainians of the American Soccer League (ASL). As a teacher at Frankford High School, in Philadelphia, he coached the soccer team. When legendary soccer coach Pete Leaness retired from Temple University, Walt Bahr was named Temple's new coach. From Temple, he moved to Penn State. During his 14-year tenure at Penn State, the team was selected to the NCAA Tournament 12 times. He was NSCAA Coach of the Year in 1979 and elected to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Hall of Fame in 1995. His overall coaching record is 448 wins, 137 losses, and 70 draws.

Bahr's three sons Casey, Chris, and Matt, all played professional soccer in the defunct North American Soccer League. Casey and Chris also played for the U.S. Olympic team, and Chris and Matt later became field goal placekickers in the National Football League,each earning two Super Bowl rings. Bahr's daughter Davies Ann was an All-American gymnast. Bahr is retired and lives in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, near Penn State, occasionally appearing as a sports commentator for Penn State soccer matches.

Bahr was portrayed by Wes Bentley in the 2005 movie The Game of Their Lives, which has been distributed in DVD under the title "Miracle Match."


Bahr was featured in the 2009 soccer documentary A Time for Champions discussing the U.S. upset victory over England in the 1950 World Cup.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]