When discussing the history of soccer in the United States, it is impossible to overlook the contributions of Werner Roth. As a former player for the New York Cosmos and captain of the team, Roth played a pivotal role in shaping the sport's landscape in the country. His achievements on and off the field have left a lasting mark on the game.
Werner Roth was born in the former Yugoslavia, now known as Serbia, and migrated to the United States as a child. His passion for soccer was evident from a young age, and he quickly made a name for himself in the local soccer scene. Roth's talent and dedication caught the attention of scouts, and he soon found himself on a path to professional soccer.
In 1972, Werner Roth joined the New York Cosmos, a team that would soon become synonymous with the growth of soccer in the United States. Roth's skills as a defender and his leadership qualities quickly made him an integral part of the team. With the Cosmos, Roth experienced tremendous success, winning three championships in 1972, 1977, and 1978.
During Roth's time with the New York Cosmos, the team was part of the North American Soccer League (NASL), a league that sought to bring soccer to the forefront of American sports. The NASL attracted global talent, including legendary players like Pele, Carlos Alberto, and Franz Beckenbauer. Roth had the privilege of playing alongside these soccer icons, further elevating the profile of the Cosmos and the league.
Werner Roth's impact extended beyond club soccer. He also had the honor of representing the United States National Team, wearing the national jersey in international competitions. Despite limited resources and support at the time, Roth and his teammates fought hard to represent their country on the global stage.
While the New York Cosmos were known for their success on the field, they were also renowned for their off-the-field camaraderie and antics. Roth and his teammates, including the likes of Pele and Franz Beckenbauer, formed a tight-knit group that enjoyed their time together both on and off the pitch. Pranks and practical jokes were a regular occurrence, adding to the unique spirit of the team.
After retiring from professional soccer, Werner Roth transitioned into various roles within the sport. He utilized his knowledge and experience to contribute to the growth of soccer in the United States. Roth worked as a coach, mentor, and ambassador for the sport, inspiring young athletes and promoting the values of teamwork and perseverance. Also, Roth took on acting and appeared in the soccer-themed movie “Victory” alongside Sylvester Stallone and Pelé.
Werner Roth's contributions to US soccer did not go unnoticed. In 1989, he was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame, solidifying his status as one of the sport's pioneers in the country. The induction served as a testament to his achievements as a player, captain, and leader.