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Phil Woosnam (born December 22, 1932 in Caersws, Montgomeryshire) is a Welsh former football (soccer) player and manager. He went on to become commissioner of the North American Soccer League. He played as an inside-right.


Playing career

Woosnam played football with Montgomeryshire Schoolboys and gained youth international honours with Wales. He also gained eight amateur caps, the first against England in 1951. While reading Physics, he captained the Bangor University varsity team at the Welsh Universities' Championship.

Woosnam completed his national service with the Royal Artillery. He featured for the Army XI alongside Maurice Setters of West Bromwich Albion, and Eddie Colman and Duncan Edwards of Manchester United.

He played club football at Wrexham, Peritus, Manchester City, Caersws, Aberystwyth Town, amateur club Sutton United and Middlesex Wanderers, before joining Leyton Orient. He made his senior international debut for Wales against Scotland in 1959 whilst still an amateur. He represented the London XI against Lausanne Sports while with the Brisbane Road club. Woosnam was named amateur footballer of the year for 1955.

In November 1958, Woosnam, then aged 26, was signed by West Ham United for £30,000 and left his job as a physics teacher at Leyton County High School for Boys to turn professional. He made his debut against Arsenal that month and went on to make 138 League appearances for the club, scoring 26 goals. He also made 15 cup appearances, scoring three goals. While at Upton Park, he added 15 full international caps to the one he'd gained while at Orient. He also represented the Football League.

Woosnam moved to Aston Villa in 1962, where he scored 23 goals in 111 League games, and gained a further two international caps.

Coaching career

He emigrated to the United States in 1966 and took on the role of player-coach at the Atlanta Chiefs. He was named 'Coach of the Year' in 1968.

Woosnam became head coach of the United States national team in 1968, and was later appointed commissioner of the NASL. He is credited as an important factor in the development of the NASL throughout the league's heyday, but it also viewed as the one who pushed for too much expansion to the league's ultimate demise. Removed from his duties as commissioner of the NASL in 1982 he became managing director of the marketing arm of US Soccer. Woosnam is now a naturalised American citizen. He is an inductee of the country's National Soccer Hall of Fame.


Woosnam is a cousin to golfer Ian Woosnam and a nephew of the English footballer, Max Woosnam.[1]


  1. ^ Davies, Gareth; Garland, Ian (1991). Who's Who of Welsh International Soccer Players. Bridge Books. pp. 221–222. ISBN 1-8724-2411-2.  
  • Hogg, Tony (2005). Who's Who of West Ham United. Profile Sports Media. pp. 217–218. ISBN 1 903135 50 8.  
  • Parry, Peter (1987). The Old Black and Green. Aberystwyth Town FC. pp. 106. ISBN 0 9512172 0 8.  


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