Inducted to the Hall in 1997, Paul Danilo played for the Morgan Soccer Club of Western Pennsylvania’s Keystone League. He scored the winning goal in the U.S. Amateur Cup final in 1940 when Morgan faced Fall River Firestone. Danilo also played for the Pittsburgh Indians in the North American Professional Soccer League in 1946 and 1947, helping the Indians to the championship in 1947. After retirement, he served as manager for the Morgan Soccer Club, and then was secretary and later president for the West Penn Soccer Association.
Are you still involved with soccer in any way today?
No, I’m 85 years old. I can’t be involved anymore. I was involved in administrative work for a time being. After I quit playing, I ran a team, the Morgan club, for four years, and then I quit that and I went into administration. I was nominated for recording secretary and after that, I was the president for a while. I was also the commissioner for the U.S. Open and the Amateur Cup.
What were some of the best moments from your playing days?
I played for the Pittsburgh Indians and the Morgan Club. With the Morgan Club, we won the U.S. Amateur championship. We won the National Open Cup in Fall River and I scored the winning goal. We won the game 1-0, and after the game, they gave the ball to the referee and he came up to me and gave it to me. I still have it, my wife had it bronzed for my birthday. My shoes are with it, on a plaque. One day I’ll give it to the Hall of Fame. I still want it for a while, to display in my home, but one of these days I’ll run up and give it them, because they want it.
Have your family members been involved in soccer?
I have two brothers, one who played for Kent State and was in the Hall of Fame there, at the college. My other brother ran the junior team up in Morgan. My father-in-law is in the National Soccer Hall of Fame as well, he was inducted in ‘63. His name is Dan Zampini. He went in for administration. He was the president for the West Bend Soccer Association here for five years. Right now, my grandson plays in college, at a college called Goucher in Towson, Maryland.
Can you describe your induction day into the Hall?
When I got the letter, I was very excited. I never thought this would happen to me. I always hoped in my mind that, some day, I would be in the Hall. I was very excited. I was more excited than ever when I got the letter. Thirteen family members attended the banquet. We had a ball. Then, when we came home, they had a big party for me here. At the banquet, I met Steve Sampson, and I thought he was great. It was a lot of excitement for us. People came from all over, came up to you, introduced themselves and talked to us. They could sure put on a nice banquet. Then I had a banquet here at home with 250 people. Our senator wrote letters, and the state senators all came to the banquet, even came to our house. It was really an experience.
What major changes have you seen in the game of soccer since your playing days?
Well, I tell you, today the soccer is played differently than we played. We had one hell of a team, all 13 ballplayers. One guy acted as our trainer and doctor and everything else, in one. I played the outside right position, which is now called the wing. We had two fullbacks and three halfbacks. Today they don’t call them that, they call them defenders, midfielders. Soccer names were more like football. Soccer is where the American football position names came from. When they started playing American football, they used the same terms. So now they call them strikers, wings, and defenders to differentiate.
Anything else you’d like to mention?
One of the biggest thrills was going up to Oneonta the first time to meet everyone. On the way home, there was a girl watching us in the airport. She said, You seem to have a soccer family. I told her, yes. She said, I’ll bet your boys would like to see this. She pulled out a gold medal from her bag. It was Mary Harvey, former goalkeeper, and she had her Olympic gold medal! She actually flew back to Pittsburgh with us. Small world, really.