John “Clarkie” Souza

A forward who ranked among the best players in American soccer in the middle of the 20th century, playing in the U.S. Open Cup final four times, the National Amateur Cup final five times, the 1950 World Cup and two Olympic Games.

Souza was yet another product of Fall River, Mass., and first attracted national attention as a star of the Ponta Delgada team from Fall River that won the National Amateur Cup in 1946, 1947, 1948 and 1950. In three of those years, Ponta Delgada also reached the final of the U.S. Open Cup, winning the title in 1947 to become the first team to win both the Open Cup and Amateur Cup in the same year. In 1951, Souza joined German-Hungarians of Brooklyn and was instrumental in taking that team to a matching double victory in the U.S. Open Cup and the National Amateur Cup. Joining John Souza in that move to Brooklyn was another Ponta Delgada star, Ed Souza, who was often referred to as being John’s brother. Actually, the two were not related.

John Souza played 16 full internationals for the United States during these years, including playing in the United States team that upset England in the 1950 World Cup. He broke into the national squad in 1947, when Ponta Delgada was chosen as a unit to represent the United States in the North American Championships against Cuba and Mexico in Havana. In 1949, he played all four of the United States’ games at the second North American Championships in Mexico City, which that year also served as a qualifying round of the 1950 World Cup.  Souza’s only two full international goals came in that tournament, one against Mexico and one against Cuba in the 5-2 victory that boosted the United States into the 1950 World Cup.

In 1950, he played in all three of the United States’ games in the World Cup in Brazil. His final full international was a World Cup qualifier against Mexico on Jan. 14, 1954.

Inducted in 1976