Harry Keough, American soccer player and coach died he was 84
Harry Joseph Keough was an American soccer defender who played on the United States national team in their 1–0 upset of England at the 1950 FIFA World Cup died he was 84. He spent most of his club career in his native St. Louis, winning a national junior championship, two National Challenge Cup and seven National Amateur Cup titles. He coached the Saint Louis University men’s soccer team to five NCAA Men’s Soccer Championships. The Keough Award, named after him and his son Ty Keough, is presented each year to the outstanding St. Louis-based male and female professional or college soccer player.
Keough was born to Patrick John and Elizabeth (née Costley) Keough, and grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, attending Cleveland High School.
As a youth he played several sports, including track, swimming, and
fast-pitch softball, particularly excelling at soccer. His soccer career
began in 1945 as a member of the “St. Louis Schumachers”, who won the
1946 National Junior Challenge Cup. In 1946, he joined the U.S. Navy. He was assigned to a naval base in San Francisco, California
where he played for the “San Francisco Barbarians”, which had dominated
west coast soccer in the first half of the 20th century. Keough was
eventually sent to San Diego as part of a destroyer crew. After his discharge from the Navy, Keough returned to St. Louis.
In 1948, he played for Paul Schulte Motors.
The next year the team came under the sponsorship of McMahon Pontiac
and which played in the lower division St. Louis Municipal League. He
was with McMahon when selected for the U.S. national team as it entered
qualification for the 1950 World Cup. When he returned home from the
cup, Keough rejoined his team, now known as the St. Louis Raiders of the first division St. Louis Major League. The Raiders won both the league and National Amateur Cup
championships in 1952, giving Keough his first “double”. Following the
1952 season, Tom Kutis took over sponsorship of the team, renaming it St. Louis Kutis S.C.
The team continued its winning ways under its new name, winning the
1953 and 1954 league titles, and went to the 1954 National Challenge Cup
final where it fell to New York Americans of the American Soccer League.
The St. Louis Major League had folded in 1954 and Kutis continued to
play both as an independent team and as a member of various lower
division city leagues over the next decade. Despite this turbulence, it
continued to dominate both the city and national soccer scene. Kutis
would win the National Amateur Cup each year from 1956 to 1961. In 1957,
it won the National Challenge Cup, giving Keough another double.
National and Olympic teams
In 1949, Keough was called into the national team for the 1949 NAFC Championship,
to be held in Mexico. This was the second time the NAFC had held a
regional championship, but this one served as the qualification
tournament for the World Cup as well. Keough gained his first cap with
the national team in its 1-1 tie with Cuba on September 14, 1949. The
U.S. finished second out of the three teams, giving it a spot in the cup
for the first time since 1937. At the World Cup, Keough served as team
capatin for the game against Spain “because he spoke Spanish.” He also made appearances for the U.S. team in the 1952 and 1956 Summer Olympics, as well as the qualifying matches for the 1954 FIFA World Cup and 1958 FIFA World Cups. His last game with the national team was a 3-2 World Cup qualification loss to Canada on July 6, 1957.
Upon his retirement as a player, he became coach of Florissant Valley Community College.
In 1967, St. Louis University hired him away from Florissant. In his
first year with the Billikens, Keough took his team to an NCAA
co-championship. He then took his team to four additional championships
during his tenure (1969, 1970, 1972, and 1973). When he retired from
coaching in 1982, he had compiled a 213-50-23 record with SLU.
Keough was inducted into the St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame in 1972,
the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1976 (along with his 1950 U.S.
teammates), the St. Louis University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995,
and the NSCAA Hall of Fame in 1996. In January 2004, Keough and the
four other living members of the 1950 World Cup Team (Walter Bahr, Frank
Borghi, Gino Pariani and John Souza) were recognized as Honorary
All-Americans by the NSCAA at its annual convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In 1994, the book “The Game of Their Lives”, was published, covering
the 1950 U.S. World Cup Team’s 1 – 0 victory in Belo Horizonte, Brazil,
versus the highly favored English team, and in 2005 the movie
was released (on DVD under the name “Miracle Match”). Keough was named
as one of the 50 Greatest Athletes of the Century (for Missouri) by
Sports Illustrated. On September 30, 2009, Keough was named to SLU’s Half-Century Team, and on November 18, 2009, Keough was inducted into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame as a member of its inaugural class.
During his playing career, Keough worked for the U.S. Postal Service. Keough’s son Ty Keough was also a professional soccer player who played for the U.S. team and was a sports commentator for soccer broadcasts. His father Patrick appeared on the famous TV program The $64,000 Question in the mid-1950s where he won an automobile for answering questions about baseball. Keough suffered from Alzheimer’s disease in his later life. Harry Keough died on February 7, 2012.
Keough was featured in the 2009 soccer documentary A Time for Champions discussing the U.S. upset victory over England in the 1950 World Cup and his coaching career at St. Louis University.
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