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Philly Soccer Show: Len Oliver

(Len Oliver, then and now.  Photos provided)

(Len Oliver, then and now. Photos provided)

Gregg Orlandini Greg Orlandini
“At the editor’s desk, Greg Orlandini.” Greg Orlandini is the...
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By Greg Orlandini

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — He was born on the tough streets of Kensington, ended up with a career in the CIA, and in between he put together a Hall of Fame soccer career.

Len Oliver is our guest on this special edition of the KYW Philly Soccer Show, a look at the history of soccer in the Delaware Valley.

KYW’s Greg Orlandini and Philly Soccer Page editor Ed Farnsworth talk about a number of subjects with Oliver.

In part one, Oliver tells us he learned the game from his Scottish-immigrant father, and honed his skills with other kids of Irish, English, and German descent on the streets of Philadelphia.

Oliver won two youth national titles with Lighthouse Boys Club in 1948 and 1949 before moving on to Temple University (left photo).   Oliver would pick up silverware at Temple, winning two national titles with the Owls in 1951 and 1953.

He then turned pro, playing for the Philadelphia Nationals and Uhrik Truckers before being drafted into the Army.

Listen to or download Part 1 (runs 21:10)…

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In part two, Oliver talks about the game today.

After completing his PhD, Oliver began coaching in the Washington, DC area while working at the Central Intelligence Agency.   (We didn’t ask.)

He is still working with young players and coaches in DC, and is a fixture at DC United games.

We also discuss the US National team, and the need for US Soccer to do more to engage and energize inner city youth about the game of soccer.

Listen to or download Part 2 (runs 22:13)…

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