Walter Bahr

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Walter Bahr
Walter Bahr Joe Biden at Lincoln Financial Field for Philadelphia Union match (cropped).jpg
Bahr (left) with Joe Biden at a Philadelphia Union match
Personal information
Full name Walter Alfred Bahr
Date of birth (1927-04-01)April 1, 1927
Place of birth Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Date of death June 18, 2018(2018-06-18) (aged 91)
Place of death Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Playing position Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
Philadelphia Nationals
1953 → Montréal Hakoah
Uhrik Truckers
Montréal Sparta
Philadelphia United German-Hungarians
National team
1948–1957 United States 19 (1)
Teams managed
1969–1970 Philadelphia Spartans
1970–1973 Temple Owls
1974–1988 Penn State Nittany Lions
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Walter Alfred Bahr (April 1, 1927 – June 18, 2018) was an American professional 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. 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 placekickers in the National Football League, each earning two Super Bowl rings.

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. 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. In the summer of 1953, he helped Montréal Hakoah FC reach the Canadian final.[3] He then switched to the Uhrik Truckers, another team in the Philadelphia area, and won the ASL title in 1956. He then joined Montreal Sparta in late August where he won the 1956 Quebec Cup.[4]

Professional soccer players at that time made little money, however, and Bahr also was a high school teacher during his playing years. He coached the Philadelphia Spartans of the American Soccer League from 1969-70. He moved to the college ranks to coach Temple University from 1970-73. He then coached Penn State to 12 NCAA tournament appearances from 1974–88, including taking the Nittany Lions to the 1979 semifinals, when he was named College Coach of the Year.[5] He coached two of his sons early in his tenure at Penn State.

National team[edit]

Bahr was selected to the U.S. national team in 1949 and appeared in 19 games, with one goal. In the 1950 FIFA World Cup, the U.S. upset the English team 1–0, with the goal scored by Joe Gaetjens off a pass by Bahr. The entire team was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1976.[6] 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. 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."

Personal life[edit]

Bahr's three sons, Casey, Chris and Matt, played professional soccer in the original North American Soccer League. Casey and Chris also played for the U.S. Olympic team, while Chris and Matt became placekickers for the NFL and won Super Bowl titles. The last living member of the 1950 U.S. World Cup team, Bahr died on June 18, 2018, in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, from complications related to a broken hip.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Walter Bahr in the National Soccer Hall of Fame
  2. ^ "Walter Bahr". National Soccer Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2005-11-07.
  3. ^ Norm Gillespie (August 19, 1953). "Draw with Hakoah". Google. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  4. ^ Montreal Gazette (August 31, 1956). "Favor Sparta". Google. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Bahr, last living member of team that upset England, is dead". Tampa Bay Times. June 18, 2018. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  6. ^ Longman, Jere (December 10, 2009). "How a 'Band of No-Hopers' Forged U.S. Soccer's Finest Day". The New York Times.

External links[edit]