Thomas Swords

The captain of the first U.S. national soccer team, in 1916, and also of the great Fall River Rovers team of pre-1920 years.

With Swords as captain, the Fall River Rovers reached the U.S. Open Cup final in three consecutive years, in 1916, 1917 and 1918. They won that title in 1917 and lost to Bethlehem Steel in the other two years. And in the first of those three years, Swords also led the All-American Football Club, the national team gathered by the U.S. Football Association to make a tour of Sweden and Norway. He was the only Fall River player on that team.

The All-American Football Club is regarded by the U.S. Soccer Federation, and most others, as having been the first true U.S. national soccer team. Its only rival for that designation is the regional team, chosen from a small area of New Jersey, that played games against an equally regional Canadian team in 1885 and 1886.

Swords played the largest part of his career for the Fall River Rovers, from 1904 to 1909 and 1914 to 1920. He scored the only goal of Fall River’s 1-0 victory over Bethlehem Steel in the 1917 U.S. Open Cup final.

Inducted in 1951.