Walt Chyzowych

The first American to serve as full-time coach of the U.S. national team, and one of the stars of the Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals powerhouse.

The U.S. national team had lost 13 consecutive full-international games before Chyzowych was hired as coach in 1976, including six losses the year before by a total score of 32-1. Chyzowych did not turn the team around into a regular winner, but he did bring it back to a respectable position that it hadn’t had.

In four years under Chyzowych, the national team compiled a record of eight victories, 14 defeats and 10 ties in full internationals. Chyzowych was coach in World Cup qualifying series in both 1976 and 1980. Probably the the national team’s biggest victory while he was coach was a 2-0 upset of Hungary in Budapest in 1979. His last game as national-team coach was a 2-1 victory over Mexico in a World Cup qualifier in 1980. At the time, he was the longest serving U.S. national team coach ever, both in terms of games and years.

During his time as national-team coach, and later as the USSF’s director of coaching, Chyzowych was instrumental in developing the federation’s system of coaching schools and coaching license programs.

Two years before Chyzowych became coach, the U.S. Soccer Federation had hired and then lost German Dettmar Cramer as the United States’ first full-time national-team coach. After Cramer’s departure, the federation went back to part-time coaches before hiring Chyzowych, who was born in the Soviet Union but had grown up in Philadelphia and been an all-American player at Temple University.

At the time that Chyzowych was hired as national-team coach, he was coach at Philadelphia Textile, a small school whose team he had developed into a national power. Years later, he returned to college coaching at Wake Forest.

Chyzowych was an inside forward on the Philadephia Ukrainian Nationals team that won a string of championships in the American Soccer League and the U.S. Open Cup in the early 1960s. He played three games in the U.S. national team in 1964 and 1965.

Inducted in 1997.