Written by David Litterer
The major event for 1913 was the establishment of the United States of America Foot Ball Association (USFA), which brought for the first time, all of the major American soccer organizations under one jurisdictional umbrella.
The American Football Association and the newer American Amateur Football Association had made competing bids to FIFA in 1912 for international sanctioning, but FIFA had referred their requests to the Emergency Committee after telling the rivals to work out their differences first. Efforts to arrange a merger failed, but late in 1912, several key organizations defected from the AFA to the AAFA. With a clear hold on the balance of power, the organizations loyal to the AAFA held a meeting at the Astor Hotel in New York on April 5, 1913 and there the USFA was established. G. Randalf Manning was the leader in the founding of the USFA and became its first president. Thomas W. Cahill, the prime organizer of soccer in the St. Louis region since the late 1890's, had served as the secretary to the AAFA and represented them at the 1912 meeting with FIFA, was elected its first general secretary.
The establishment of such an organization was long overdue - with a disparate group of state associations using loose and indiscriminate methods for promoting and advancing their leagues and competitions, the disagreements on rules and interpretations, the wave of new leagues springing up and large influxes of young football talent through the great European migration, it was essential to have a central coordinating organization to bring some order to the chaos.
At its inception, the USFA had 7 state associations under its umbrella. It immediately implemented a program to standardize game rules and establish protocols for communication and governance, and to establish a system for player transfers. Later in the year, The American Football Association, under the prodding of it's president, Andrew M. Brown, joined the USFA. As this work progressed, more and more state associations and leagues joined the USFA which before long included the majority of organized soccer in the US under its roof. The USFA also signed articles of alliance with the Amateur Athletic Union and received recognition by the U. S. Olympic Committee. They also established a relationship with the National Collegiate Athletic Association. With the jurisdictional rivalries settled, and the amateurs and pros finally under one roof, relative peace was at hand, and the new organization again pressed its case for membership with FIFA, and was granted provisional admission and became an official member of the international soccer community.
The USFA resolved to work through the state associations, and not directly with leagues or teams. Association tournaments would be set so that all financial and promotional aspects of the events would be controlled by the officers and not by individual promoters or other schemers. Rules would be standardized throughout the country, and protocols for player transfers and the conducting of interstate competition were established. Finally, the USFA began to lay the groundwork for the establishment of a national championship competition. This competition, along with other major cups was seen as a method for selecting players to represent the country in international competition, with the first two major events being the Pan-American games of 1915, and the Olympic Games of Berlin, to be held in 1916. With the vast size of the country, the different geographic, economic and climatic situations and the diversity of nationalities represented by its players, this would be a major task. But progress was swift and in the fall of 1913, the National Challenge Cup was established, which would be open to all clubs, both professional and amateur. The Dewar Challenge Trophy, which had been domnated in 1913 for the championship of the American Amateur Football Association, would henceforth be awarded to the winner of the National Challenge Cup. The early rounds of this inaugural competition were well under way by the end of the year.
Ten teams took to the field for the 1912-13 season which ended as the most successful in the league's history. Brooklyn Wanderers disbanded after six games, but Newark F. C. took their place. The West Hudsons took the league title for the second year in a row, with the American Cup champion, Paterson True Blues taking second spot, and their cross-town rivals, Paterson Wilberforce taking third. It was a close race, with all three teams in the thick of it right to the final weekend. But West Hudson was determined to keep their title and they prevailed in the end.
Jersey A. C. was the most improved team. Coming off a dismal exhibition loss to the West Hudsons, they opened the season with a bang, setting a league record by scoring ten goals in a 10-1 romp against the Brooklyn Wanderers. They followed up by trouncing Bronx United 6-1 and walloping Brooklyn F. C. 9-1. Their scoring sensation, center-forward Jimmy Hayes, landed most of the goals in these three games, and would go on to score 50 for the season despite sitting out the last few games with injuries. Jersey's good fortunes were doused after defender Ronson fell victim to injuries, and they finished in 4th place, displacing Paterson Rangers who fell to the lower ranks. Kearney Scots also made great strides, finishing just ahead of the new Newark Caledonians, who finished 6-9-3.
The Paterson True Blues accepted an invitation to play an exhibition series against clubs of the St. Louis Soccer League. Expecting to open Christmas Day against Harry Ratican's Ben Millers, the Blues were surprised to find themselves facing a Select team instead, and the venue was Athletic Park, covered with 4 inches of snow. This made for some heavy going, and the True Blues, having just come off a 1,000 mile train rise were easily defeated 5-0. They rebounded quickly though, and on December 27 defeated the powerful Columbian Athletic Club 5-0. They finished up with a match against the famed St. Leo's club, winner of numerous consecutive league titles, and managed a 4-4 draw.
Final NAFBL League Standings, 1912-13 Before the season, Newark Caledonians were added. GP W L T Pts West Hudson A.A. 18 13 3 2 28 Paterson True Blues 19 13 3 3 29 Paterson Wilberforce 19 2 4 3 27 Jersey A.C. 18 10 5 3 23 Kearny Scots 17 7 8 2 16 Newark Caledonians 18 6 9 3 15 Bronx United 17 7 10 0 14 Paterson Rangers 17 5 10 2 12 Newark F.C. 13 3 8 2 8 Brooklyn F.C. 16 2 14 0 4 Newark F.C. replaced the Brooklyn Wanderers, who disbanded and merged into Brooklyn F.C. on 12/23/1912 after 6 games
St. Leo's won their sixth consecutive league title; again besting Innisfails; but this time it was a much closer race. Innisfails was in the race right up to the last weekend, but St. Leo's squeaked out a league title by 2 points. Columbus Club pulled up to third, just edging out the new team, the Business Men's Athletic Club. This helped St. Leo's to cement their status as one of the premier soccer teams in the country. They were primed for competition when the proposed national championship cup was finally established.
Major issues which had been long simmering between the clubs came to a head late in the campaign, with the result that the league suspended the season before completion. The feud would result in the league splitting into two separate leagues, the Robison League and the Federal Park League for the 1913-1914 season. On a more positive note, a new league sprang into existence, the Municipal League, which was comprised of amateur clubs. This league did not charge admission for their matches, and soon attracted large crowds, and a large number of teams divided into multiple divisions. The Muny League would play until 1957.
Final SLSL League Standings, 1912-1913 Before the season, Business Men's A.C. was added. GP W L T GF GA Pts St. Leo's 10 7 2 1 19 10 15 Innisfails 11 6 3 2 15 10 13 Columbus Club 10 3 6 1 10 15 7 Business Men's A.C. 10 2 7 1 12 21 5 Champion: St. Leo's The Fall season was not completed. After the season, Columbus Club and Business Men's A.C. withdrew. Municipal league Champion: Aldines Club.
The AFLC rebounded considerably in 1912-13, both in quality of play and fan support. Lockport, Mason Park and Gary joined the league, replacing Hibernians. Overseas F. C. was now known as St. George. Pullman was again the class of the league, surging through almost the entire season without yielding a point. Two late season draws marred their record, but they still won the league title by four points, despite playing 1 fewer games than second-place Hyde Park Blues. Hyde Park finished well ahead of Campbell Rovers and the McDuffs who finished tied for third. Gary led the newcomers with a 4-8-3 record.
Final AFLC League standings, 1912-1913 GP W L T GF GA Pts Pullman 15 13 0 2 80 17 30 Hyde Park Blues 16 11 1 4 73 17 26 Campbell Rovers 16 7 6 3 43 36 17 McDuffs 16 7 6 3 35 39 17 Lockport 12 6 4 2 21 20 14 Gary 13 4 8 3 32 55 13 Mason Park 16 4 9 3 20 52 11 West Side Rangers 14 2 9 3 20 46 9 St. George 14 1 12 1 16 56 5 (Lockport's retirement on April 12 game 2 points each to Gary, West Side and St. George) Peel Cup: Pullman defeated Hyde Park Blues 6-1 Jackson Cup: Pullman Spalding Cup: Pullman
The second "AAFA Cup Tie Competition" saw 24 teams take part, and there was a noted improvement in the quality of play. This was borne out by the results of the pro-am exhibitions, both won by the amateur teams. All-New York State League defeated the All-NAFBL side 3-1, and the Brooklyn Celtics defeated the West Hudsons 4-0. This year, the winner would be presented with the new Dewar Challenge Trophy, which was to be awarded to the top amateur team in the United States.
The first two rounds reduced the field to eight teams. In the third round, Hollywood Inn F. C. defeated Clan MacDuff 3-1, Yonkers F. C. defeated Anglo-Saxon F. C. 10-2, St. George F. C. defeated German F. C. 3-3, 5-4, and Clan MacDonald defeated Critchley F. C. 2-0. Yonkers F. C. continued their success at the semi-finals defeating St. George 4-0, and Hollywood Inn F. C. dispatched Clan MacDonald 3-1.
The final was played at Lenox Oval, NYC, on April 12, 1913, before 1,500 fans. Hollywood Inn was seen as the favorite, partly through their impressive showing in the later rounds, and the recent fortification of their forward line. Yonkers was somewhat of a surprise; they had gotten off to a poor start during the season; however they had also added some fresh talent, and benefited in a major way. In the 7th minute, Yonkers' Lawrie sent a "rasper" which Raitt saved, although he was lucky to have been in the direct path of the ball. Each side then had some good scoring chances; Hollywood Inn's McNeill took a timely middle shot by McLeod and was preparing for a shot at goal only to be robbed by Stewart. First score came 40 minutes into play, off a Yonkers corner kick, nicely placed by Whitehouse to Waldron who fooled Martin before taking an oblique shot which found the net. The game had just re-started when McLeod and Compton broke away McLeod, passing Stewart, took a hard shot which struck the far right post, back into play. Halftime came quickly, giving Hollywood inn a breather.
Yonkers continued the attack in the second half, and found the net ten minutes in when King took a pass from Kerr, and feinted Taylor, which afforded him a clear shot that he could not miss. Late in the 2nd half, King and Whitehouse did some skillful passing, with King finishing the job to give Yonkers their final goal and a 3-0 shutout victory. They not only won the AAFA Cup tie, but also the newly minted Dewar Challenge Trophy which was to be awarded to the top amateur team in the United States.
As it turned out, this would be the only time the Dewar trophy was awarded for such a purpose. In 1914, the Dewar Trophy became the award for the newly inaugurated National Challenge Cup.
There was no US National Team during this era.
The AFA Cup competition was reformulated this year, by conducting the first two rounds of competition in districts, which greatly reduced traveling time and expenses. This, combined with extraordinarily good weather, led to a very pleasant competition. Another major effort of the AFA this year was sponsorship of a tour by St. Louis's Innisfails club to tour the east. They played the cream of the professional clubs and acquitted themselves well, managing draws against West Hudson (2-2), Fall River Rovers (101), Philadelphia Hibernians (1-1), and Paterson True blues (4-4). Their lone defeat was against Tacony (4-0). Their partisans, feeling very confident their team was the best in the country, considered this a sub-par performance, attributing the showing to the rigors of a 2,000 mile round trip, and the acceptance of invites to numerous social occasions where the team was feted.
The first two rounds served mainly to separate the strong teams from the minnows before business would really begin. The third round started off with a surprise as the Cup holders, West Hudson, were upset by the up and coming Fall River Rovers in a 3-0 shutout. West Hudson had just returned from a trip to Chicago and St. Louis and were in poor shape for a major competition. The Paterson True Blues defeated Bridgeport FC 2-0, Tacony upset Jersey A. C. with some clever play, 1-0, and the Philadelphia Hibernians shut out Newark Caledonians with an emphatic 4-0 score.
The Hibernians' fortunes changed in the semifinals, as they went to defeat at the hands of Tacony F. C. 2-1, and the True Blues of Paterson defeated Fall River Rovers 3-0 in another surprising result.
The Hibernians' fall was a big shock to the Philadelphia soccer community, given that the Cup final would finally be played in their city after many years in the New York/New Jersey region. The Hibernians' field was the venue for the final between Tacony F. C. and the Paterson True Blues. The Philadelphians had promised a record breaking crowd for the match, but it was pouring rain and only 1,500 hardy denizens showed up, including over 250 hard core fans who had made the train ride from northern New Jersey. After several hours of afternoon rain, Referee Alexander Burnside deemed the field playable, and the teams played to a tough and soggy 2-2 draw. Tacony had dominated the first half, but Paterson put on a spirited show in the second half, with a great finish, salvaging a draw in the last minutes, courtesy of center half Neil Clark.
The following Saturday (April 19), the weather was sunny, but the wind was high, and the quality of play was subpar. Tacony was again the better team in a largely defensive battle, taking the lead in the first half. Paterson took many long shots, which mostly went wide, and as the minutes wound down they looked to be goners. But once again, Neil Clark saved the day. In the final minute of play, he won a scrimmage near the Tacony goal and sent in a low grounder, to salvage a 1-1 draw.
A second replay was scheduled, this time in Morris, New Jersey on April 27, with Referee Burnside again at the whistle. Over 5,000 spectators turned out on another perfect-weather day. Paterson was in much better shape this time, and showed prowess on the field despite letting Paterson's forward Kemp score early on with a corner kick. The True Blues came into their own during the second half, and with the wind behind them, Lowe sent a long arcing shot into the net to tie the game. Paterson continued to press hard, but the Tacony defensive lines held tight. Late in the game, Tacony's right back Small struck the ball with his hand while attempting to clear. Burnside promptly awarded Paterson a penalty kick, which Jack Nielsen, their outside left, sent into the net, giving Paterson True Blues a 2-1 victory over Tacony F. C.
There were no international tours this year.
Intercollegiate Association Football League champion: Harvard
College All Americans: G - Nichols, Harvard RF - Barron, Harvard LF - Dickey, Yale RH - McCall, Harvard CH - Elkinton, Haverford LH - Davis, Cornell OR - Needham, Harvard IR - Watson, Pennsylvania CF - Shanholt, Columbia IL - Stokes, Haverford OL - Zoller, Columbia
Last update: April 10, 2005
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