USA

Former NASL commissioner dies

Soccer West Ham Phil Woosnam 1960
Phil Woosnam back in his West Ham playing days.
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TRAGIC SPORTS DEATHS

Remembering the many athletes sports lost way too soon.

The North American Soccer League says former commissioner Phil Woosnam has died. He was 80.

Woosnam, who was living in suburban Atlanta, led the league from 1968-1982 after finishing his playing career with English teams Aston Villa, West Ham and Leyton Orient. The Welshman won the NASL's first coach of the year award, for the Atlanta Chiefs in 1968, before taking over as commissioner for the next season.

He ran the league until 1982, and the league folded after the 1984 season.

Woosnam helped raise the NASL's profile as North America's top soccer league. He secured its first network TV contract, and Pele joined the New York Cosmos during his tenure. The league also expanded to West Coast cities such as Seattle and Los Angeles.

Phil Woosnam is cousin to professional golfer Ian Woosnam.

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