Chinaglia was one of the brightest stars in the North American Soccer League. His goals and flamboyant personality brought him into the consciousness of the America sports fan during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The Italian striker worked his way up from the lower ranks of the professional game. He started his career in Wales with Swansea Town, before moving to the world of Italian soccer.
Chinaglia played three seasons in Serie C (third division) from 1966-69 before earning a move to Lazio. He would go on to become a club icon, scoring 98 goals in 209 games. His 24 goals in 1974 helped Lazio win its first-ever Scudetto (championship). His exploits also earned him a call-up to the Italian national team, and he would represent his country at the 1970 and 1974 FIFA World Cups.
In 1976, the towering front-man took his show to New York City. He joined a galaxy of stars, including Pele and Franz Beckenbauer, and outshined them all. He became an American soccer legend with a mythical 193 goals in 213 games for the Cosmos, and played a key role on championship-winning teams in 1977, 1978, 1980 and 1982.
In 2000, he was inducted into the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame and named Lazio’s greatest-ever player.
Chinaglia suffered a heart attack on March 23, and was hospitalized in Florida. He did not recover and passed away on Sunday.
Thumbnail Photo via Flickr/The New York Cosmos
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