Former USMNT coach Panagoulias dies

Panagoulias (Getty Images)

Alketas Panagoulias, a former U.S. men's national team, Greece national team and three-time U.S. Open Cup-winning coach died on Monday at his home in Virginia. He was 78 years old.

Panagoulias was the coach of the U.S. men's national team from 1983-1985, which included leading the men's Olympic team in the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. Born in Greece, he led his homeland to two of the biggest moments in its national team's history, guiding the Greeks to their first major tournament, the 1980 European championship; and their first World Cup, the 1994 tournament that was held in the United States.

Prior to that he was coach of the Greek American Atlas club team in New York, guiding the club to three consecutive U.S. Open Cup titles from 1967-1969. His coaching career also included a stop in the defunct NASL as head of the D.C.-based Team America in addition to a number of stops at clubs in Greece, including Olympiakos and Aris, for whom he played as a defender in the 1950s.

According to the Greek federation, Greece players will wear black armbands in Panagoulias' honor during their Euro 2012 quarterfinal match against Germany.

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9 Responses to Former USMNT coach Panagoulias dies

  1. Old School says:

    This was before my time but RIP.

  2. SilverRey says:

    Just as a side note, check out Team America’s jerseys:

    link to nasljerseys.com

    (scroll down far enough and you get a Mr. T cameo as well)

  3. Elladara says:

    this is a clip of a classic locker room rant that Panagoulias unloaded on his Greek team at USA 94. He is basically saying, “We dribble and we dribble and we try to pass one guy and the next — JUST SHOOT THE F’IN BALL! If you don’t shoot, it can’t go in.”

    link to youtube.com

  4. biff says:

    i took the bait and checked it out–and I’ll be gosh-darned. Those 1983 jerseys do look eerily similar to the current goofy-looking USMNT jersey, but with one big difference: The 1983 jersey with the blue numbers and blue collars and slightly thinner red and white stripes looks about a hundred times better. And I see the 1983 jersey was designed by Adidas, who, I think, usually has better looking club and national team jerseys than Nike.

  5. Kosh says:

    RIP coach. Thoughts and prayers are with his family.

  6. yankiboy says:

    RIP.

    I gotta admit that I had forgotten all about his contributions until reading this. After the Diplomats folded, the Team America experiment replaced them here in DC. A lot of times when we think about DC soccer, of course you think of DC United and the Washington Dips. Even around here, Team America isn’t just an afterthought, it’s almost completely forgotten.

    Thanks for educating me…

  7. Courey says:

    Panagoulias is the first USMNT coach that I can remember. Unfortnate loss for US and Greek soccer. That era of the US national team was publicised through KICK magazine and some in Soccer Digest. Players like Rick Davis, and Kevin Crow, and *maybe* Hugo Perez may have played for him (Perez was on the 1994 US World Cup squad).

    I remember an old article in KICK or Soccer Digest where he was quoted as being astounded at that fact that American Baseball players could chew and actually take part in athletics. He sorta ripped them, and I loved reading about that as a 13 year old American soccer player.

    Panagoulious had some pretty talented teams with American NASL veterans during that era. It was a big dissapointment for US soccer when we couldn’t qualify then. He got his rewards with Greece though. RIP A.P.

  8. met alkis several times,funny charming approachable and a damn good coach old school through and through!
    when europeans say we have no football culture tell them to google alkis
    he helped prove yhe us could compete
    rip and thanks alkis you earn vip access in soccer heaven

  9. nick mariolis says:

    I KNEW COACH PANAGOULIAS FROM THE OLD DAYS IN N.A.S.L. WHEN HE COACHED D.C. WHEN IS TEAM PLAYED THE NEW YORK COSMOS AT OLD GIANTS STADIUM IN RUTHERFORD, N.J. HE USE TO TEACH ME TO COACH AND PLAYED SOCCER GROWING UP, HE IS A WINNER FOR GREECE AS A COACH BUT I ALWAYS LOVED LIKE A FATHER TO ME, WHEN GREECE PLAY THE EURO CUP OR THE OYLMPICS OR N.A.S.L. TEAM C/O D.C. TEAM R.I.P.