Men’s U.S. Soccer: A Timeline  


From Plymouth Rock to World Cup 2022 in Qatar

Throughout their game-changing history, the U.S. Men’s soccer team has always scored big on heart, hustle, and handsome hairstyles.  


According to folklore, the first soccer ever played in the U.S. was the pilgrims of Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts. The Native Americans called it “Pasuckquakkohowog,” which means “they gather to play football.” 

Oneidas Monument in Boston Common, Mass., Flickr

Fun fact: The U.S. soccer team has 2 nicknames – Stars and Stripes and The Yanks 


Formed by Garrett Miller Smith, the Oneidas of Boston was the first organized soccer club in the U.S.  


In the first organized intercollegiate soccer match, Princeton University beat Rutgers 6-4 on November 6th. 


The American Football Association was formed in Newark, N.J. to establish rules and uniformity for U.S. soccer leagues forming in the metropolitan areas of the East. 


In Newark, N.J., Canada defeated the U.S. 1-0 in the first international soccer game outside of the British Isles.  


In their first official soccer match at the Stockholm Olympic Stadium in Sweden, the U.S. gave Sweden a good kick in the grass with a 3-2 victory.  

U.S. Soccer team, Stockholm Olympic Stadium, 1916, Wikimedia Commons


The American professional soccer league was established, with franchises granted in Massachusetts, Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. 


The U.S. qualified for the first FIFA World Cup in Uruguay. Bert Patenaude from Massachusetts was the third-leading scorer in the tournament, making him the first player to score three goals at the World Cup.  

U.S. Soccer team 1930 World Cup, Wikimedia Commons


The U.S. Football Association changed its name to the U.S. Soccer Football Association (USSFA).  


WORLD CUP OFFICIAL POSTER 1950, Wikimedia Commons

Considered the biggest upset in the history of international soccer, the U.S. beat England 1-0 at the World Cup in Brazil. They were eliminated by a loss to Chile in the third game.  


With American football, basketball, and baseball taking prominence as America’s favorite sports, professional soccer faded into obscurity.  


After a two-decades-long hiatus, U.S. soccer entered the spotlight again when it won a bid to host the 1994 World Cup.  

U.S. vs Trinidad & Tobago, Wikimedia Commons


Considered one of the biggest goals in U.S. soccer history, Paul Caligiuri scored a 35-yard dipping shot which was referred to as the “shot heard round the world,” helping clinch a 1-0 victory over Trinidad & Tobago.  


For the first time in 40 years, the U.S. qualified for the World Cup. 


When the U.S. hosted the FIFA World Cup at the Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, California, soccer fever was at an all-time high, with a record-setting 3.5 million fans in attendance. 

1994 FIFA World Cup, Palo Alto, CA., Wikimedia Commons


The U.S. made international headlines by advancing to the seminal finals of the prestigious Copa America tournament. They won the first two games before being eliminated after a loss to Brazil.  

Copa America Poster 1995, Wikimedia Commons


After a disappointing performance at the World Cup, head coach Steve Sampson resigned. 


For the first time, the U.S. clinched a spot in the World Cup with a home qualifier.  

Do you know what law eighteen is? Law eighteen is common sense. That’s the law we definitely violate in every game.

Bruce Arena, U.S. soccer coach


The U.S. won their first-ever match in the World Cup knockout stage. 


The U.S. finished in third place at the CONCACAF Gold Cup. 

Head Coach Bruce Arena, Wikipedia


The U.S. team qualified for the final round of World Cup qualifying games under head coach Bruce Arena. 


For the first time in 71 years, coach Bruce Arena led the U.S. team to a first place finish in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying round.  


At the 2010 World Cup, the U.S. advanced to the third group game for the first time in 80 years. 

U.S. Soccer at the White House, Wikimedia Commons


U.S. soccer celebrated its 100th year anniversary with a 4-3 victory over Germany in Washington, DC. 

U.S. Soccer team 2013, Wikimedia Commons


In November, the U.S. will play England, Iran, and a third TBD team at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.  

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