The leading goalscorer in the history of the North American Soccer League. In his eight-year career with the New York Cosmos, Chinaglia scored 242 NASL goals, second among first-division goalscorers in the United States only to Archie Stark and his 260 ASL goals. Chinaglia scored 397 goals in all games for the Cosmos, including many on their off-season tours of Europe, South American and Asia.
Chinaglia, who had played 14 games for the Italian national team, including two at the 1974 World Cup, joined the Cosmos at the start of the 1976 NASL season, as the Cosmos attempted to surround Pele with a better supporting cast than he had had in his first Cosmos season. Chinaglia had been playing for Lazio since 1969, and had led the Rome team to the Italian first-division championship in 1974 .
Chinaglia was a star of the Cosmos’ NASL champion teams in 1977, 1978, 1980 and 1982, and scored goals in the NASL title game in all of those four years. Those championship years were part of a string in which he scored at least 24 goals in six consecutive seasons. Probably his greatest year with the Cosmos was 1980, when he followed a regular season in which he had scored 32 goals in 32 games with a playoff run in which he scored 18 more goals in seven games. Those 18 included seven goals in a first-round playoff game against the Tulsa Roughnecks.
Although there were a number of others in the Cosmos lineup who were more famous internationally, Chinaglia was the team’s most effective player, year after year. He was chosen as a first-team NASL all-star in 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1982, and was the league’s most valuable player in 1981. He led the NASL in goalscoring in 1978, 1979 and 1982. While he was most famous for his finishing talents, Chinaglia also assisted on a number of his teammates’ goals. During his NASL career, he had 124 assists, including 37 in his 50-goal season of 1980.
Following his playing career, Chinaglia got involved in team management, often controversially, in both the United States and Italy.
Inducted in 2000.