Meisl was an internationally famous coach, referee, official, and journalist in the 1920s and 1930s. The Austrian coach at the 1934 World Cup, he was considered one of the greatest soccer experts of all time, and possibly the most influential Jew in the history of the game. A master strategist, Meisl built Austria into a soccer power in the 1920s and 1930s with an intricate passing scheme and development of outstanding players. He is a member of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. Nov. 16, 1881- d. Feb. 17, 1937
The older brother of Willy Meisl, Hugo is considered the father of Austrian football. Born into a wealthy family, Meisl was a frail but talented inside-forward in the 1900s (he played for the Criquet Club of Vienna) before his father interfered and sent him to Trieste in Italy (part of the Austrian Empire prior to World War I). Although his father hoped Meisl would concentrate on a business career while in Italy, Hugo's passion for soccer could not be denied and upon his return to Vienna, Hugo became an important member of the Austrian Soccer Federation.
In the 1920s and 1930s, Meisl was the Secretary General of the ASF. From 1912-1937, he also managed the Austrian National team, registering the longest tenure in the country's history. Meisl turned his squad into famed Austrian 'Wunder Team' (miracle team); they won 14 international matches in a row in 1931-32. At the 1934 World Cup, only the fifth time the Austrians competed in the event, Meisl led his squad to a fourth-place finish. In fact, it was Meisl who inspired the formation of the World Cup. In 1927, he founded the Mitropa Cup, which was the first international club competition and paved the way for future international events.
Use links below to navigate through the soccer section of Jews In Sports.
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)