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Jimmy Douglas

Sport: Soccer

Born: January 12, 1898

Died: March 5, 1972

Town: East Newark

James Edward Douglas was born January 12, 1898 in East Newark. Jimmy came from a soccer family. His grandfather was a player on the famed ONT club in Kearny. Jimmy began his career in the thriving youth leagues of the early 1900s that played in and around Newark. He started with the Central Juniors at age 9 and played with a number of clubs as a teenager.

At age 24, Jimmy’s goalkeeping skills earned him a contract offer with Harrison FC of the American Soccer League. Hoping to compete in the Olympics, he joined the pro league as an amateur, refusing a paycheck, and posting 14 victories in 23 games. In 1923–24, Jimmy played for Newark FC and was selected for the national team.

At the 1924 Olympics in Paris, Jimmy started in the team’s opening match against Estonia. He was perfect in goal, making several good saves in a 1–0 victory and was named MVP of the game. Andy Straden scored the only goal of the match, which drew a crowd of 10,000. Four days later twice as many fans showed up to watch the U.S. take on Uruguay. They eventual gold medalists disposed of the Americans 3–0. After the tournament the team traveled to Poland and Ireland for friendly matches, winning the first 3–2 and losing the second 3–1 I Dublin. In 1925, he sparkled in anotherinternational match, shutting out Canada in Montreal.

In 1925–26, Jimmy triggered a controversy when he moved over to the New York Giants soccer club. The ASL maintained he was still property of Newark. The Giants forfeited several victories because of the decision. Jimmy moved north to play for the Falll River Marksmen in 1926–27. Over the next few years he also suited up for the Philadelphia, Brooklyn and New York entries in the ASL.

Jimmy competed for the U.S. in the first World Cup in Uruguay. He held Belgium and Paraguay scoreless in the first two matches, leading the team into the semifinals. His shutout of Belgium was the first in World Cup history. Four minutes into the semifinal, Jimmy twisted his knee. No subs were allowed at the time, and as more American players were hobbled by injury, Argentine took advantage to score a 6–1 win. His final game for the U.S. team came on the way home, in Brazil.

Jimmy played one more year of pro soccer in New York before retiring. In 1953, Jimmy was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. He passed away in Pt. Pleasant at the age of 74.


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