Captain of the United States team that upset England in the 1950 World Cup.
McIlvenny’s career in the United States was quite brief. At the time of the 1950 World Cup, he had taken out his first papers, thus declaring his intention of becoming a citizen of the United States, but he subsequently returned to Britain and never did become an American citizen.
The Scottish-born McIlvenny came to the United States in early 1949, after having been cut by Wrexham, a Welsh team in the English third division. He starred alongside Walter Bahr and Benny McLaughlin as a right-side midfielder in the Philadelphia Nationals team that won American Soccer League titles in 1949 and 1950.
The three games that he played in the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, against Spain in Curitiba, England in Belo Horizonte and Chile in Recife, were the only three that he ever played for the United States. Three different captains were chosen for those three games, and McIlvenny was picked as captain against England because of his British background. The fame that he gained in England from the game in Belo Horizonte enabled him to sign with Manchester United and play in England and Ireland though most of the 1950s.
Inducted in 1976.