A midfielder who ranks behind only Archie Stark and Billy Gonsalves among the greatest players in pre-World War II American soccer. McNab, who ended up winning the U.S. Open Cup six times, filled somewhat the same role with the original ASL that Pele did 50 years later with the NASL, that of the established foreign star whose arrival greatly boosted the league’s credibility.
When McNab, who was a regular in the Scottish national team, arrived in the United States in 1924, it was for a different reason than Pele did in 1975. Pele came, at least in part, to help promote the sport. McNab came because soccer players were very poorly paid in Britain, and he was able to triple his salary by signing with the ASL’s Boston Wonder Workers.
McNab played four seasons with Boston, and won an ASL championship in the last of those seasons. He played outside right, and in that 1927-28 season, he was joined by a rookie inside right, Gonsalves, with whom he formed a devastating partnership over the next decade. The older McNab played a major role in the development of the eventually more famous Gonsalves.
In the summer of 1928, McNab was transferred to the Fall River Marksmen, and shortly was joined there by Boston teammates Gonsalves and Werner Nilsen. With Fall River, he won two more ASL titles, and it was there that he and Gonsalves began their remarkable run of U.S. Open Cup championships.
McNab won six U.S. Open Cups in a row. In 1930, he won with Fall River. In 1931, he won with the New York Yankees after the Fall River team had moved to New York. In 1932, he won with a New Bedford Whalers team that had absorbed the New York franchise. In 1933 and 1934, he won with Stix, Baer & Fuller of St. Louis after he and several New Bedford teammates had moved west. In 1935, he won with a St. Louis Central Breweries team that was largely the same team as Stix, Baer & Fuller, but with a new sponsor.
During his eight years in the ASL before moving to St. Louis, McNab played 283 league games, and scored 63 league goals. He never played in the U.S. national team, because he had played for Scotland and because he didn’t become an American citizen until after his playing days.
Inducted in 2005.