Charles “Charlie” Colombo

A defender who was one of the stars of the United States team at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil. Colombo, among the toughest players in American soccer history, was most famous in the United States’ upset of England for a rugby-style tackle on English forward Stan Mortenson that may have saved a goal late in the game. He also was famed throughout his playing career for always wearing gloves when he played, regardless of the weather.

The game against England was one of 10 full internationals that Colombo played for the United States. Those included all three games at the 1950 World Cup, against Spain, England and Chile, and all four of the United States’ games in World Cup qualifying in 1949. Colombo played his first full international for the United States against Norway in Oslo in 1948 and his last against Scotland in Glasgow in 1952. In addition, he played for the United States in both the 1948 and 1952 Olympic Games.

Colombo, a lifelong resident of St. Louis and one of six St. Louis players on that 1950 team, played the misnamed “center half” position, actually a central defensive role. He starred in several great St. Louis teams in the 1940s and ’50s, and was a member of the Simpkins team that won the U.S. Open Cup in 1948 and 1950.

Inducted in 1976.