Cup connections: Robert Millar (1930)

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.

Today, Union writer Andy Jasner kicks off the series with former U.S. Soccer head coach Robert Millar, a Philly native who led the U.S.A to a third place finish that year.

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Philadelphia soccer has a tremendously rich history.

Need proof?

Rewind back more than a century and you’ll find Robert Millar. In the 1910s, Miller played in Philadelphia for Tacony, Bethlehem Steel FC and Philadelphia Hibernian.

When Millar’s playing career came to an end, he took those skills to the sidelines and coached the United States in the 1930 World Cup.

In today’s era of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, World Cup coaches can download videos of players on their iPhones and iPads.

In the 1930s, it was a little bit different.

Millar and manager Wilfred Cummings had all of three total matches before traveling to Uruguay to check out the competition. That group of U.S. players coached by Millar had never played one match together before the World Cup.

Amazingly, Millar guided the club to 3-0 victories over Belgium and Paraguay in group play.

The U.S. wound up finishing third in the tournament led by Millar.

According to the Philly Soccer Page, Millar had played for St. Mirren in Scotland before landing in the United States. PSP also noted that during the American Soccer Wars Millar broke from the ASL saying, “You have not lived up to the terms of my contract, which call for me to play and manage under the rules and regulations of the United States Football Association, and by forcing me to engage in outlaw soccer, you are breaking my means of gaining a living.”

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