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Remembering Cosmos and Hota defender Robert Neubauer

3:25 PMGoalChatter

by Aleks V |

Robert Neubauer in action for New York Hota Bavarians.
Among the many names etched into U.S. soccer's storied past is that of German-American League All-Star Robert Neubauer.

His son Michael is on a journey to learn more about his late father, who “didn't say much about his soccer career.” Michael only recently began to piece together his father's story, turning to former teammates and his mother in Germany to gather old photographs and newspaper clippings.

Born in Germany in 1940, Robert Neubauer played as a defender, leaving his mark, as many other immigrants did, in the German-American Soccer League.

He returned to his home country for an international tour with New York Hota in August 1959, tallying a 3-4-1 (WDL) record.

New York Hota Bavarians. Robert Neubauer is in the bottom right.
Neubauer scored the New York Americans (New Yorkers)' lone goal against Polonia Bytom in the second leg of the International Soccer League final on August 4, 1965, a game his team lost 1:2 to the eventual winners of the North American Challenge Cup. “The New Yorkers went ahead as Neubauer eluded the Poles' defense and hit from close up on a pass from Robert Howfield,” wrote William J. Briordy, the late New York Times sports reporter, of the 28th minute goal.

In the early '70s, Neubauer came to a fork in the road, one in which he opted to play for another New York team. “I heard he was a one-time on the German national team, was going to play in Italy but  didn’t want to there, so he played for the [New York] Cosmos,” his son says. Donning the number 5 for the Cosmos, Neubauer made four appearances in the club's Championship-winning 1972 NASL season.
The New York Cosmos in 1972. Robert Neubauer in the front row (number 5).
Robert Neubauer with Pele.

He played for numerous other teams, including Inter Guiliana SC, New York Generals, and a KLM Dutch airline team that was made up of old Cosmos and All-Star players, before ending his career due to injuries. He “had to stop playing because the union he worked for was not going to cover his family,” explains David Kilpatrick, New York Cosmos historian and professor at Mercy College.

Robert Neubauer in the All-Star team (top row, second from right).
Neubauer's work ethic extended off the pitch, where he helped the less fortunate with flooring, his son recalls. “I was lucky that he made a man out of me and a lot of other people at work.”

Robert Neubauer passed away on February 25, 2016. His last game was in the stands, cheering on his beloved Cosmos in the U.S. Open Cup fourth round match against NYCFC on June 17, 2015. He witnessed the Cosmos win 4-3 on penalties, donning a Zum Stammtisch World Cup shirt. Zum Stammtisch, a German restaurant in Glendale, New York, was Neubauer's favorite place, his son tweeted. It was a staple of Cosmos players back in the day, no doubt a hub for many a story shared round the table, including that of Robert Neubauer.

His son continues to search for more chapters of his career, sharing his findings one photo at a time.

“[My father] never spoke about soccer to me, though I wish he would have,” Michael says. “Everywhere we went, someone would know him. He was always joking.”

Robert Neubauer (right) with New York Cosmos historian David Kilpatrick.

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  1. Interesting story about a footballer I never knew about. Stumbled on this blog via Twitter and have followed -- be great to get some perspective of the game across the pond. :)

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! Great to hear from a fellow blogger, and one that also began in 2011!




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