Thomas W. Cahill

One of the dominant figures in pre-World War II American soccer, involved with a variety of teams, leagues, associations and publications. Cahill was among the founders of the United States Football Association, was the manager of several of the first American teams to make European tours, served as the first secretary of the USFA and organized the original American Soccer League.

Cahill, who grew up in St. Louis and was among the leading organizers of various sports there in the late 19th century, moved to New Jersey in 1910, when he was in his 40s. He was elected secretary of the American Amateur Football Association in 1912, and subsequently to the same position when the USFA was founded a year later.

In 1912, Cahill was the AAFA’s representative to the FIFA Congress in Sweden as the AAFA made its initial attempt to gain recognition as the official governing body of the sport in the United States. He was USFA secretary from 1913 to 1921, and later in the 1920s served several more brief terms in that position, one one occasion being called back to the job on an emergency basis after one of his successors was charged with embezzling $1,200 from the USFA. It was during Cahill’s original period as USFA secretary that he was team manager of Scandinavia tours by the U.S. national team in 1916, the U.S. Open Cup champion Bethlehem Steel team in 1919 and a St. Louis all-star team in 1920.

Cahill left the USFA in the spring of 1921 to put together the original American Soccer League, which began play in the fall of 1921. Cahill became the first secretary of that league, and stayed in that position until 1926.

Cahill was also one of the primary organizers of the Pilgrims tours of 1905 and 1909 and was editor of Spalding’s Official Soccer Football Guide for a number of years.

In his latter years, he believed that soccer’s chance to become a major American sport had come and gone, and despaired over what he viewed as his own failure in that effort.

Inducted in 1950.

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