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Global Jun 19, 2012

Former U.S. midfielder, CONCACAF legend Andy Mate dies

Former United States national team midfielder Andrew “Andy” Mate died last month (May 13, 2012) in his native Hungary at the age of 72, CONCACAF reported Monday on its website.

The Hungarian-American standout played most of career with New York Hungaria SC of the USA’s German American Soccer League (renamed Cosmopolitan Soccer League in 1977), leading it to five league titles, plus one USA National Challenge Cup (now U.S. Open Cup) in 1962.That national crown led to a place in the 1963 CONCACAF Champions’ Cup, where Hungaria faced two Mexican clubs — eliminating CD Oro, but losing to CD Guadalajara.

During the CONCACAF tournament run, Mate became the first American to net a hat-trick on Mexican soil, when he scored all of NY Hungaria’s goals in a 3-2 opening-match victory against CD Oro (March 18). It was also the first win by a U.S. club over a Mexican side in a CONCACAF event.

With five total goals, Mate completed that competition as joint top scorer with Salomón Santvil, who played with eventual tournament winner Racing Club Haitien of Haiti. No other player from the U.S. would finish as the Champions’ Cup scoring champion until Roy Lassiter of D.C. United accomplished the feat with six tallies in 1998.

“It was natural for me to score,” Mate said to CONCACAF.com in his final interview earlier this year.”Our coach (Geza) Henni always told the team, ‘Give the ball to Andy, he’ll score, and we’ll win’.”

After earning an international appearance for the United States national team in 1964 (vs. England), Mate continued his club career playing with West Germany’s Hamburger SV, Deportivo Cali of Colombia and the New York Cosmos during its inaugural season (1971) in the North American Soccer League.De

Mate returned to the Cosmopolitan Soccer League, suiting up once again for NY Hungaria, before closing out his career with the New York Greek American AA at the age of 41.

New York Hungaria's Andrew Mate (left) is shown scoring against CD Oro of Mexico in a 1963 CONCACAF Champions' Cup game. (Photo courtesy Gyulia Geyenis)

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