Jack Greenwell, the only European coach champion of America


He made Peru vibrate, leading the Inca National Team that won the Copa América CONMEBOL title in 1939.

The name of Jack Greenwell may sound unknown to new generations, but it was undoubtedly an important character that positively influenced South American football.

Greenwell was born in the historic city of Crook, northeast of England, on September 12, 1884. Football was the cause of this English footballer and coach will arrive to the South American continent, where he won the CONMEBOL Copa América in 1939, guiding the Peruvian team.

The coach football player

His beginnings as a player were in the Crook Town of the Amateur League of England, then went to Auckland Wanderers before arriving to the Barcelona in 1912. In 1913, he was not only a Barça player, but also became a coach of the Catalan club, combining both functions. He stayed at Barcelona until August 1923 and won three Spanish Championships (1912/13, 1919/20 and 1921/22), five Catalan Championships (1915/16, 1918/19, 1919/20, 1920/21 and 1921/22) and a Cup of the Pyrenees (1912/13).

After passing through other clubs in Spain such as U.E. Girona and U.E. Sants, Castellón, R.C.D. Espanyol and Valencia, Greenwell returned to Barcelona between 1931 and 1933.

Jack Greenwell was the coach who spent more years in that position in the Catalan club, and the third with more titles won, with 10, and is only surpassed by Josep Guardiola (14) and Johan Cruyff (11).

Vibrating in South America

An offer to lead the Peru National Team comes while Greenwell was coach of the Turkish national team. In this way, he arrived in South America in 1938 and not only took over the Peruvian national team, but also directed the Club Universitario de Deportes. With the National Team, he won the Bolivarian Championship that was played in Bogotá (Colombia). With the Club Universitario, he won the Peruvian National Championship in 1939.

It would be that same year, 1939, that would set the whole of Peru to vibrate, leading the National Team to achieve its first Copa América title, a tournament that at that time was called the South American Championship. In this edition of the continental tournament, they participated along with Peru, the National Teams of Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay.

The competition faced all the selected ones and Peru was the best, winning all the matches with 13 goals scored and only 4 against, in five matches.

Lead by Greenwell, the Peruvian team experienced a total change. The entire Inca country vibrated under the command of the British in his national team, coached then for 8 games achieving 8 wins, with 31 goals scored and 8 against. Before Greenwell, Peru had played 11 games and scored only four goals.

In Colombia…

In 1940 he arrived to Colombia, hired to direct the national team that was going to participate in the V Central American and Caribbean Sports Games, which were eventually suspended due to the geopolitical problems that were experienced in the World at that time.

Later, in 1942, he took charge of Independiente Santa Fe, a team that failed to enjoy the fullness of Greenwell’s knowledge, since he died in Bogotá on October 7 of that year.

Undoubtedly, a special chapter in the history of South American football is the British Jack Greenwell, one of the best coaches of the time, and who became the first and only European coach to win the Copa América title, a recognition that holds 80 years ago. It will be Carlos Queiroz, the one who has the possibility of becoming the second European to achieve this recognition, if he gets to win with the Colombian National Team, the title of the Copa América, Brazil 2019 CONMEBOL.