Cup connections: Jimmy Gallagher

Taking a look at Philadelphia ties to the world's greatest event

It’s a known fact among only select soccer circles, but Philadelphia has a rich – and deep – soccer history on the world stage. During the month that is the FIFA World Cup, philadelphiaunion.com in conjunction with Philly Soccer Page will highlight one player from either the Greater Philadelphia region or that has ties to the Union that has been a part of the world’s greatest sporting event. 

This week we kicked off with a pair of local connections in Robert Millar and Bert Patenaude that were instrumental in the United States' third place finish in the 1930 FIFA World Cup. We add one more to the mix, with the introduction of Jimmy Gallagher.

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There were 16 players selected for the United States’ 1930 World Cup team, and the same starting 11 appeared in each of the matches.

Count Jimmy Gallagher among them.

Gallagher, who played with Fleisher Yarn from 1924-25, competed in all three matches in the ’30 World Cup in Uruguay. Gallagher emigrated from Scotland in 1913 at the age of 12 and later performed for the U.S. in the ’34 World Cup as well.

According to USSoccer.com, Gallagher played 12 seasons in the original American Soccer League, appearing in 349 games in that league and winning ASL titles with J&P Coats in 1923 and New York Giants in 1932. He scored a huge goal in New York’s dramatic second leg comeback in the 1932 final.

Gallagher was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1986.

Gallagher earned five caps with the U.S. National Team and helped the U.S. advance to the semifinals in the ’30 World Cup. His last game with the National Team came in the U.S. victory over Mexico on May 24, 1934, which helped the team qualify for the 1934 FIFA World Cup.

He is confused often with another Jimmy Gallagher, who played for the U.S. at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam.

Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at andy.jasner@yahoo.com