Benny McLaughlin

Bernard “Benny” McLaughlin,
                                     Class of 1946                                          


Benny McLaughlin earned twelve caps with the U.S. national team and was a member of the 1948 U.S. Olympic soccer team.  McLaughlin is considered one of the greatest U.S. soccer players of his era.  He was born in the Kensington section of Philadelphia in 1928.  At North Catholic he was a High School All-American and a 3 year varsity player when the Falcons played a City schedule format against the public league and some college frosh & JV teams.  His North teams went 29-3-3 during those 3 years.   He then attended Temple University where he was a 1946 first team All American soccer player as a freshman. 

            In 1948, McLaughlin became a member of the U.S. Olympic soccer team which competed at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London.  McLaughlin then went on to play for the U.S. national team.  In 1949, he was an integral member of the U.S. team that qualified for the 1950 FIFA World Cup. He was selected to the finals squad, but did not travel to Brazil with the team because he was unable to get time off from work.  Despite that misfortune, McLaughlin continued to play with the national team until 1955. 

            McLaughlin also spent time with several top amateur and professional teams in Philadelphia and New York. He began with the Lighthouse Boys Club, and in 1945, he moved to the Philadelphia Nationals of the American Soccer League (ASL), remaining with that team through the 1954 season. In 1949, he scored ten goals and in 1952 was voted the ASL MVP. The Nationals won the ASL title four times while McLaughlin played for them, 1949, 1950, 1951 and 1953. In 1955, he joined New York Brookhattan and in 1958 he moved to Uhrik Truckers.  He then moved to the German American Soccer League, playing for the New York German-Hungarians from 1961-1963. He then finished his career with the amateur Erzgebirge club of Philadelphia from 1963 to 1965.

            Len Oliver, a veteran of the American Soccer League, wrote, "The smaller McLaughlin inspired us with his finesse, dribbling opponents one-on-one throughout the game, lithe, snaking through defenses, setting up other attackers with deadly through passes, a little guy taking on the biggest defenders, bouncing up from a bruising tackle, and also possessing a devastating shot."

            On December 27, 2012 Benny McLaughlin passed away at the age of 84.  He was survived by 6 children and 12 grandchildren.  Benny was inducted into the US National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1977.  He was inducted into Temple U’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1979.  In addition, Benny was inducted into the North Catholic High School Hall of Fame in 1996 and he has also been a member of the SE Pennsylvania Soccer Hall of Fame since 1986.