Marquette University Alumni Association Alumni National Awards Weekend
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Robert Gansler, Arts ’64, Grad ’68

Robert GanslerIt’s one thing to study history, another to make it. Robert Gansler did both.

In the 1960s — when he wasn’t busy earning a bachelor’s in history, picking up a master's in German and helping coach the Marquette men’s soccer team — Bob became one of the premier soccer players in the United States. As a student at Marquette, he landed a coveted spot on the U.S. Olympic team, playing 25 games with the Olympic and U.S. National squads from 1964-69 and captaining the Olympic team twice. He also was a two-time selection to the U.S. Pan-American Team, in 1963 and ’67.

Capping his time as a player with a brief stint at the now-defunct professional team the Chicago Mustangs, Bob moved on to a long and illustrious coaching career. First stop was Marquette University High School, where as teacher and coach he launched the school’s soccer program and led the team to its first state title. Next was the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee head coaching job.

From there, Bob stepped back into the national spotlight as a U.S. National Team head coach. He led the under-20 men’s squad to fourth place in the world — the highest-ever finish for a U.S. men’s team. Then, as coach of the full U.S. National team, Bob led the U.S. to its first World Cup appearance in 40 years — only the second time the U.S. had qualified.

Next he joined the professional coaching ranks, first for the now-defunct Milwaukee Rampage, which he led to an A-League title, then for the Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer, where he became the longest-tenured coach in the league’s history. Under Bob’s leadership, the Wizards won the MLS national title in 2000 and made the finals in ’04. He wound up his career at Toronto FC, serving as assistant coach until 2007, when he left the team to spend more time with his family.

Bob is a big believer in a Jesuit education.

“The Jesuits are the premier teaching order,” he says. “They prepare their students educationally, but also, more broadly, for life.”

Bob has received numerous national soccer awards and narrowly missed being inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2008.

All in all, an illustrious history in soccer for this one-time history major.


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