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Former U.S. captain Keough, 84, dies

Keough (ISIphotos)

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The U.S. Soccer community lost a legend Tuesday, as Harry Keough, a national team captain during the memorable 1950 World Cup and a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, died at age 84.

Keough was one of the last surviving members of the 1950 team that beat England, 1-0, in what is considered to be one of the greatest upsets in all of soccer. He started each of the United States' three games during that World Cup, captaining the Americans in their opener against Spain.

Keough died at his home in St. Louis. The defender was a soccer icon in that city, coaching St. Louis University to five national championships between 1967 and 1973 following a standout local club career. His international career spanned from 1949 to 1957 and included appearances at the 1952 and 1956 Olympics in addition to the unforgettable 1950 World Cup. He had 19 caps for the United States and scored one goal, doing so against Canada in a World Cup qualifier in 1957.

"We are all saddened by the loss of such an important man in the history of U.S. Soccer," U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said in a statement. "Harry was a true pioneer, representing the finest of a generation of men and women who built the foundations for soccer in the United States on which we stand today."

Keough is survived by his wife, Alma; his son Ty, who also played for the U.S. national team; and daughters Colleen and Peggy.


  1. As I am someone who lives in St. Louis I would like to thank everyone for their kind words on here. I’m glad to see that he was so well loved and remembered everywhere, not just in St. Louis. Special thanks to Ives for posting this story as well.
    R.I.P. Harry. You’ve earned every bit of it.

  2. Aside from all of his soccer accolades, he was a truly nice guy.

    I was fortunate enough to meet him a few times here in St. Louis, and you’d never know about his accolades, because he never brought them up. But, if you brought it up, he truly loved to talk soccer–past and present. He also LOVED to talk Cardinals baseball.

    Definitely someone who will be missed.

  3. RIP Captain Keough. Thanks for all you did for the sport I love in the country I love.

    I hope the USMNT and US Soccer does something special to honor him.

  4. I remember his St. Louis University team in 1967 dismantling a decent Div. III team with crisp one-touch passing. It was the first time I saw a team that could actually control the ball and advance it through quick-short combination play. I think that his team did well that year, though they probably did not look quite as invincible against more athletic Div. I teams. The discipline his team displayed in keeping the ball on the ground and passing, rather than using their greater athleticism against the Div. III team was inspiring. Since then, I have always seen that as a picture in my mind as to how soccer ought to be played.

  5. Years ago I had the pleasure to meet all the Keough’s while interning one summer at the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta. Harry was an absolute class act as is his whole family. During that summer’s Hall of Fame induction we talked at length about the 1950 WC. I was just mesmerized at his stories. He was so humble and appreciative. Keough was a true pioneer and true hero. The one thing that really struck me was how in-tune he was to the modern game. I don’t know why that surprised me given his background. But it did and I am lucky to have spent a few moments in his presence.

    RIP Harry! You will be missed!!

  6. A real legend in a country with relatively little soccer history. by all accounts, a great guy also. His material was some of the best in the “Game of Our Lives” book. He also learned Spanish, iirc, by playing with a Asturian immigrant team in south St. Louis, called Spanish Society. I believe he continued to follow the National team until the end, what with his son as a broadcaster for some years. Is Ty still coaching at Wash U? Hasn’t been on TV for ages. And wonder who is still alive from that 1950 team? At last count, I think there were just 5 survivors of that team. Maybe Borghi, the undertaker/goalie who also was from St. Louis, from “The Hill” Italian hood. They were true pioneers, many from either old, industrial parts of St. Louis or Northeastern mill towns like Fall River that were the cradles of US soccer.

  7. RIP Harry. Sorry for your loss, Keoughs. The US Soccer community lost a true pioneer. You’ll be missed, Harry.


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