Bahr Family’s Historic U.S. Soccer Legacy Continues at the University of Delaware
Story by Jeff Taviano
UD Athletics Media Relations Intern
NEWARK, Del. -- University of Delaware rising junior Dieter Bahr is entering his third year with the Blue Hen men’s soccer team in 2014.
Last year Bahr helped lead Delaware to a historic season as the Blue Hens won 14 games, setting program record for most wins in a season and qualifying for the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three seasons.
Bahr, a native of Boalsburg, Pa., comes from a talent-rich soccer family that has represented the United States on the international stage.
Bahr is the grandson of National Soccer Hall of Fame member Walter Bahr, who is also a member of the National Soccer Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Walter played a major part in the 1950 World Cup in which the United States upset heavily favored England, and is considered one of the greatest players to ever wear a USA jersey.
A captain of the U.S. men’s soccer team, Walter fired a 20-yard pass that was headed into the net by teammate Joe Gaetjens, giving the United States a 1-0 lead that ultimately sealed the biggest soccer upset in U.S. history.
The game, later dubbed The Miracle Match, has lived on in television, movies, and literature.
A 2005 feature movie entitled "The Game of Their Lives" followed a book with the same title that highlighted the historic victory.
Continuing the athletic legacy of the Bahr family were Walter’s three sons and daughter - Dieter’s father, Chris, along with Matt, Casey, and Davies Ann Bahr.
Chris was a three time All-American for the men’s soccer team at Penn State. He earned the North American Soccer League Rookie of the Year award and later played 13 seasons as a placekicker in the National Football League while winning two Super Bowls with the Oakland Raiders in 1980 and 1983.
Casey and Matt both played in the North American Soccer league as well, while Matt also spent 10 years in the NFL as a kicker and won a Super Bowl with the 1979 Pittsburgh Steelers. Davies Ann was an All-American gymnast at Penn State.
“We all grew up playing soccer,” Chris Bahr said. “Our father coached and liked good games.”
Chris believes soccer in the U.S. has come a long way following the recently completed 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
“The biggest change is on the national level,” he said, alluding to the United States advancing through the Group of Death before falling in the round 16 to Belgium.
“I thought it was a great World Cup,” said Dieter, a civil engineering major at UD. “There were a lot of goals scored. It tied for the most goals scored in the history of the World Cup.”
The Blue Hen men’s soccer team kicks off its season August 29 at home in newly-named Stuart & Suzanne Grant Stadium with a 7 p.m. start against Sacred Heart. Delaware remains home to host LIU Brooklyn and Iona to begin the campaign, which features 10 regular season home games.
“I think we can be just as good as last year, if not better,” Dieter stated. “I have been working out at my local gym to stay in shape and I’ve been playing a lot of pick-up soccer. I want to win the CAA (Colonial Athletic Association) and make another run in the NCAAs.”