Walter Bowman

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Walter Bowman
Personal information
Full name Walter Wells Bowman
Date of birth (1870-08-11)August 11, 1870
Place of birth Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Date of death March 7, 1948(1948-03-07) (aged 77)
Place of death Seattle, Washington, USA
Playing position Outside Right
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1887–1889 Berlin (Ontario) Rangers
1892–1893 Accrington 5 (3)
1893–1899 Manchester City 47 (3)
National team
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Walter Wells Bowman (born August 11, 1870) was a Canadian soccer player who played as an outside right. He was the first non-British player to play in the Football League.[1][2]

Born in Waterloo, Ontario, Walter Bowman began his soccer career playing for the Berlin Rangers and was a member of the team that won the championship of the Western Football (soccer) Association of Ontario in 1887, 1888 and 1889. In 1886, he played for Canada against the United States in East Newark, New Jersey, and in 1888 was selected to go on tour to Britain with a team made up of players from southern Ontario. It was a notable year for the now famous Football League was formed in 1888 and the Canadians played against teams such as West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers and Notts County in England, plus Glasgow Rangers and Hearts in Scotland.

This was a highly successful tour and Bowman played in 15 of the games at outside right (right wing) and three at inside right. When the tour was over he returned to Berlin (now known as Kitchener) and continued to play for the local Rangers team.

A second British tour was undertaken in 1891, only this time the team included some players recruited from the American Football Association of New Jersey. It was a much more ambitious tour and the team played 58 games from August 22, 1891 to January 4, 1892. Bowman played in an incredible 51 of those games, appearing in all five forward positions, and scored eleven goals. When it was over he remained in England, where he married, and signed for Accrington in 1892 scoring on 23 January 1892 on his debut against West Bromwich Albion and scored three goals in five games. The next season, he signed for Second Division team Ardwick, a team known today as Manchester City. He made 47 appearances between 1892 and 1900 for Ardwick and Manchester City.

His sojourn in England over, he returned not to Canada but to the United States where he had a brother living in Chicago. After remaining there for a while he moved to Montana working at first rafting logs down a river, and then at the copper smelter in Anaconda. One year he played ice hockey for Anaconda. From Montana he moved with his family to the west coast where he worked at the docks in Seattle, and then at a logging camp in Portland, Oregon. He died in Seattle in 1948.


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  2. ^ Paul Simpson; Uli Hesse (7 November 2013). Who Invented the Stepover?: and other crucial football conundrums. Profile Books. pp. 102–. ISBN 978-1-84765-842-5.