Philly Redux

We got some excellent reader feedback after yesterday’s post on the expansion Philadelphia Union and soccer’s roots in Philly, so we’re posting again to address the comments:

Reader Dave L brought up the Philadelphia Fury, the NASL successor to the Atoms. We did not include them in our capsule history and they probably deserved a mention—not only for the fact that three of their primary investors were Peter Frampton, Rick Wakeman and Paul Simon (what, no Elton John, footie fan and singer of “Philadelphia Freedom?”).

Their ill-advised color scheme of mustard and raspberry, which they wore for their three years of existence (1978-80), and some of the stars on their roster—including ex-Atoms keeper Bob Rigby and former England international Alan Ball—were also noteworthy.

Ball was the youngest member of England’s 1966 World Cup–winning* squad. He had a huge game in the final against West Germany, and also played in the 1970 World Cup.

DL also hunted down the above photo of the Fury in action against the Houston Hurricane’s Kai Haaskivi. Note Houston’s colors—identical to the current Dynamo kit. No word on whether the Gulden family of products was a Fury investor.

Commenter The Fenestrator opened a window on the local flavor of that Atoms NASL team, mentioning Stan Startzell, an All-America at U Penn who was drafted by the Cosmos and played on the Atoms’ 1973 title team. Startzell was joined on that team by local boys Charlie Duccilli, Lew Meehl and Bobby Ludwig—all of whom starred in the Philly-area United Soccer League before signing with the Atoms. Startzell, according to the Fenestrator, still plays in regional over-50 (60?) tournaments these days.

And Old 27 wondered if Chris Bahr was the same guy who went on to a successful field-goal-kicking career in the NFL. It is the same guy, son of National Soccer Hall of Famer Walter Bahr; his brothers Casey and Matt also played pro soccer—and Matt joined Chris in the NFL as a placekicker.

So there you have it—more Philly Phodder; and their soccer-specific stadium, PPL Park—a $115-million, 18,500-seat venue—is scheduled to open on the Chester, Pa., waterfront on June 27.

Enjoy the game tonight.

*Victory not recognized in Germany.

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3 comments on “Philly Redux

  1. Feni says:

    Nice follow up!!

  2. Chris says:

    I love this site and like checking in regularly, but I don’ think I can revisit until I’m confident that the above picture with the mom-looking person dribbling the ball with the ace bandage on her/his knee will no longer be the first thing I see.
    Otherwise, great posts. Keep ’em coming!

  3. chinaglia says:

    Hey BP- philly soccer was also heavily influenced by an influx of ukrainians to the region. Walt and Gene Chyzowych played enormous roles coaching and guiding some of those philly sides you mentioned. Walt later went on to coach wake forest, and gene (after briefly coaching the national team) is now one of the top 5 or 10 winningest high school coaches of all time.

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