20, 1916 – Thomas Swords first captain of U.S. national team. Sweden 2:3 U.S., Rasunda Stadium (Att.: 15,000).
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The U.S. joined FIFA in 1913 and played its first international as the “All-American” soccer team. Thomas “Tommy” Swords also has been listed as the first goal-scorer for the U.S. national team, though U.S. Soccer credits C.H. Spalding as first. A story in Aug. 21, 1916 editions of the Boston Globe names Spalding and C.H. Ellis as scorers, but does not credit the other goal to an individual: “The third goal for the Americans was won by free kicking.”
Swords, who captained the team in a 1-1 tie with Norway in Oslo on Sept. 3, 1916, played for Whittenton AC (Taunton, Mass.), Fall River Rovers, Philadelphia Hibernians and New Bedford Whalers. Swords, born in Fall River, Mass., was inducted in the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1951, and died in Fall River in 1953.
The Rovers set standards for the game from the 1890s on, Swords joining the team in 1904.
Swords scored the goal as the Rovers defeated Bethlehem Steel, 1-0, in the 1917 National Challenge Cup (U.S. Open Cup) final in Pawtucket, R.I.
TODAY IN NEW ENGLAND SOCCER HISTORY