Walter Bowman

Football, Football player

1870 – 1948


Who was Walter Bowman?

Walter Wells Bowman was the first non-British player to play in the Football League.

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 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 and three at inside right. When the tour was over he returned to Berlin 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 three goals in five games. The next season he signed for Second Division team Ardwick, a team known today as 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. Like many families living in the area known today as Kitchener-Waterloo, the Bowman's traced their roots back a movement of families from Pennsylvania to southern Ontario, families that years earlier had moved to the U.S. from Switzerland.

We need you!

Help us build the largest biographies collection on the web!

Aug 11, 1870
Also known as
  • Walter Wells Bowman
  • Canada
Lived in
  • Waterloo
Mar 7, 1948

on July 23, 2013


Use the citation below to add to a bibliography:


"Walter Bowman." STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 4 Dec. 2021. <>.

Discuss this Walter Bowman biography with the community: