Written by David Litterer
The United States of America Foot Ball Association (USFA) continued to bring together the nation's disparate leagues and state associations under its umbrella. By the midyear annual USFA meeting in 1914, 21 state associations and independent leagues had joined, as well as the American Football Association. The USFA, now legally incorporated, was a full member of FIFA, the world governing organization. They had secured recognition by the US Olympic Committee and established working relationships with the Amateur Athletic Union and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The USFA had also established the first truly national championship competition, the National Challenge Cup, which came to a successful conclusion as the Brooklyn Field Club defeated Brooklyn Celtic before a crowd of 10,000 in Pawtucket, RI.
The USFA largely competed the work of establishing a standardized set of rules and governance procedures and secured their implementation among its associated members. With its structure largely completed, the USFA then turned to the task of working with individual associations to develop their own infrastructure and strengthen the various leagues, many of whom were still facing challenges, particularly at the semi-pro ranks. Many semi-pro clubs were such in name only, as the salaries were scarcely adequate to sustain the livelihood of the average soccer player. Crowds at games were frequently rowdy and unpleasant, thereby driving away many potential paying spectators. An overriding concern was the tendency of many club owners and managers looking out primarily for their own interests, rather than working to improve the game as a whole. Until this changed, the game of soccer would have little success in advancing in any meaningful way.
Another major priority was to work to promote the game at the collegiate and high school level. Although scattered schoolboy programs did well, college soccer was still in its infancy, with only a handful of active programs. Expanding these programs would be essential to facilitate the development of the next generation of soccer players. At the association level, considerable progress was being made however. By mid-year, 122 clubs, representing 1,909 registered players (1,682 amateurs and 227 professionals) were in full compliance with the rules of the Association, with many more soon to follow. The member institutions, although primarily from the northeast, also included representation in the Midwest and the west coast, including all of the major centers of soccer activity in the country.
A record twelve teams started the 1913-1914 season, one which was marred by inclement weather to the point that no team was able to complete its schedule. Brooklyn Field Club, the eventual National Challenge Cup champions, won the league title, going undefeated with 12 wins and 2 draws. It was close however, as West Hudson stayed in the race until the final week, falling short by 1 point. Clan MacDonald finished a distant third. The Paterson True Blues took a dive, finishing in 8th.
The real story was with Brooklyn however; they had finished dead last the previous season, and carried off one of the greatest turnarounds in recent memory to win the league title. Paterson Wilberforce dropped out ten games into the season and it was announced that the league would shrink to 10 clubs next season, as this year's lineup had proved too unwieldy. The Interstate Cup game of December 1913 was a highlight of the season, with the NAFBL defeating the New York Amateur Association League 3-1.
Final NAFBL League Standings, 1913-14 Before the season, St. George was added, and New York Clan MacDonald rejoined the league. GP W L T Pts Brooklyn F.C. 14 12 0 2 26 West Hudson A.A. 16 11 2 3 25 New York Clan McDonald 16 9 5 2 20 Newark F.C. 15 5 5 5 15 Paterson Rangers 14 5 5 4 14 Jersey A.C. 10 3 2 5 11 Kearny Scots 11 3 5 3 9 Paterson True Blues 8 3 3 2 8 Newark Caledonians 13 1 9 3 5 Bronx United 12 2 9 1 5 St.George F.C. (S.I.) 13 1 11 1 3 Paterson Wilberforce 11 2 8 1 5 Paterson Wilberforce withdrew in January. After the season, St. George withdrew.
The league race went down to the wire as Brooklyn Celtic, finalists in the National Challenge Cup, fought off a spirited attack by Yonkers F. C. to win the first division title by 2 points. New York Celtic came in a distant third, having fought off a challenge for that spot put on by Columbia Oval. Yonkers had started the season with an almost entirely new squad, but the players jelled quickly, and their sole loss and tie came at the hands of Celtic. At the end of the season, the league dropped its amateur status to become a semi-pro league. The fourth annual Intercity game saw New York defeat Brooklyn 4-1.
Final League Standings first division, 1913-1914 GP W L T GF GA Pts Brooklyn Celtic 16 15 0 1 46 7 31 Yonkers F. C. 16 14 1 1 44 12 29 New York Celtic 16 9 5 2 26 11 20 Columbia Oval 16 7 6 3 31 20 18* Rangers 16 6 8 2 11 35 14 Hollywood Inn 16 5 8 3 17 17 13 Clan MacKenzie 16 2 10 4 14 51 8 Camerons 16 3 12 1 21 37 7 Greenpoint 16 2 13 1 12 23 3** *-Columbia Oval awarded 1 point. *-Greenpoint deducted 2 points for using ineligible players.
The AAFBA of Philadelphia conducted its most successful season yet, having expanded to 35 teams. Growth was so rapid in fact that several clubs formed after the start of league play, forcing them to play as provisional members. Bethlehem Steel, which had distinguished itself by winning the American Cup in the first season that AAFA teams took part, cruised to an undefeated season, easily winning the first division title. West Philadelphia finished 2nd, 5 points behind, with Falls taking 3rd place. Bethlehem Steel won the Allied Amateur Cup on a forfeit after an unusual confluence of events. The final had originally been scheduled for May 3. But Bethlehem was forced to replay an American Cup game on that date, so the AAC final was rescheduled. West Philadelphia refused to play on the rescheduled date, saying the game should not have been moved. The Association then awarded the title to Bethlehem Steel by forfeit. Five league teams participated in the inaugural National Challenge Cup. Bethlehem Steel fell in he third round, but Peabody got as far as the fourth, before losing to New Bedford.
Final League Standings first division, 1913-1914 GP W L T GF GA Pts Bethlehem Steel 13 13 0 0 68 8 26 West Philadelphia 13 10 2 1 41 19 21 Falls 13 8 4 1 28 18 17 Disston 14 6 7 1 28 36 13 Reading 13 4 8 2 11 22 10 Smith 14 4 10 0 16 45 8 Peabody 14 3 10 1 11 36 7 Kensington 13 3 10 0 19 38 6 Allied Amateur Cup: Bethlehem Steel defeated West Philadelphia by forfeit.
During the 1912-1913 season, a dispute flared over administrative and philosophical differences, which resulted in the St. Louis League splitting into two separate circuits. The core of the dispute was disagreements over professionalism. Teams had despaired of ever catching up to St. Leo's who had won several consecutive league championships and were reaping the benefits of their strong commitment to professionalism. In fact, St. Leo's had a league title in whatever league they happened to be in, each year since their founding in 1903. Meanwhile a faction of individuals started working to eliminate professionalism entirely from the league, pointing to the great success enjoyed by the Municipal League which frequently drew crowds of thousands of non-paying individuals to their games, compared to the relatively paltry crowds who had to pay admission for SLSL games. St. Leo's manager, William J. Klosterman then worked to eliminate that element.
The result was a split of the league, with St. Leo's setting up shop at Federal Park, home of the St. Louis Terriers of Baseball's new Federal League. Innisfails and Columbus Club meanwhile moved to Robison Field, home of the St. Louis Cardinals in Baseball's National League. The new Robison League invited St. Teresa's and Athletics Club to round out their circuit, while St. Leo's brought in the Ben Millers, along with Columbia Athletic Club and Rock Church F. C. Klosterman may have later regretted bringing in the Ben Millers, as the Hatters, as they were known, would go on to become the new dynasty in St. Louis Football, while the St. Leo's were to start on their decline into oblivion.
For now, St. Leo's never looked better. They won the Federal Park League title easily, going undefeated, finishing 8 points ahead of the Ben Millers. They also anointed themselves the champions of the Western United States by defeating the Hyde Park Blues of Chicago and the Advertisers of East St. Louis. St. Leo's also played the American Cup champions, the Hyde Park Blues of New jersey in an exhibition; the best the Blues could manage was a 4-4 draw.
In the Robison Field League, Innisfails, the runners up the previous season, fell short as Columbus Club surged ahead to win the league title by a comfortable margin. St. Teresa's and Athletics Club provided playing dates but not much competition, and were mired in the cellar, fighting for last place. The league had taken the amateur route, and their success was middling, but the quarrel with the professionals in the Federal Park League would continue into the following season.
The Municipal League had enjoyed a very successful first season (1912-1913), and did even better in its second, expanding to 28 teams in four divisions, with St. Matthew's defeating Claxton 2-1 in the playoffs to win the league title. Crowds of 8,000 to 10,000 were frequent in major games, and the league championship was witnessed by an estimated 20,000 patrons. The major challenge facing the Municipal League was the propensity for clubs from the professional league to raid teams for their star players. At least rules against team-hopping prevented teams within the league from loading up on players as the end of the season drew near. The Missouri Soccer Foot Ball Association was founded in 1914. Across the river, East St. Louis, IL, became perhaps the first municipality in the country to build on speculation anfully equipped soccer field complete with facilities (to the tune of $25,000) before their was a demand for it. Fortunately, the East St. Louis Park League was founded in quick order, completing their first season in 1913-14, with the Advertizers winning the league title bu a landslide (12-0-0 vs. 6-6-0 for the runner-ups, the Libersteins).
Final St. Louis League Standings, 1913-1914 Federal Park League Before the season, Columbia and Rock Church were added. GP W L T GF GA Pts St.Leo's 13 11 0 2 32 1 24 Ben Millers 13 7 4 2 21 13 16 Columbia Athletic Club 13 4 8 1 11 35 9 Rock Church FC 13 1 11 1 9 27 3 Champion: St. Leo's After the season, Rock Church withdrew. Robison League Before the season, Athletics was added. GP W L T GF GA Pts Columbus Club 20 14 6 0 40 24 28 Innisfails 20 9 6 5 36 27 23 St. Teresas 20 6 10 4 20 35 16 Athletics 20 5 12 3 23 33 13 After the season, Athletics withdrew. Municipal league Champion: St. Matthews defeated Claxton 2-1. East St. Louis Park League: Advertizers (12-0-0).
The AFLC consolidated to 8 teams this season, but the same three perennials again vied for the league championship. Pullman ultimately won with 2 points to spare, over the Campbell Rovers, with the Hyde Park Blues finishing another 3 points back. Pullman and Campbell continued their rivalry in the Jackson Cup and the Peel Challenge Cup, with Pullman prevailing by shutout in both events, after several grueling rounds of preliminary competition. They went on to reach the 4th round of the inaugural National Challenge Cup before falling to the Niagara Falls Rangers 2-1.
Final AFLC League standings, 1913-1914 GP W L T GF GA Pts Pullman 15 12 2 1 73 17 25 Campbell Rovers 15 11 3 1 52 12 23 Hyde Park Blues 14 10 4 0 57 19 20 Calumet 14 6 7 1 29 25 13 MacDuff 13 5 6 2 24 35 12 Gary 12 5 6 1 28 26 14 Mason Park 14 3 11 0 17 68 6 West Side Rangers 14 1 13 0 15 73 2 Peel Cup: Pullman defeated Campbell Rovers 1-0 Jackson/Spalding Cup: Pullman defeated Campbell Rovers 2-0
The United States finally got its first true national championship tournament with the inauguration of the National Challenge Cup. Unlike the AAFA Cup Tie Competition (amateurs only) and the American Cup (only the northeast region), this was a true nationwide competition open to both amateurs and professionals. It marked the capstone of the new soccer structure established by the USFA, and would provide the building blocks for the re-establishment of the National Team.
The Dewar Challenge Trophy, which had been donated in 1913 for the AAFA Cup Tie Competition was transferred to the National Challenge Cup committee. Invitations were sent out to 287 clubs of which 40 agreed to participate. Given the rapid flurry of events, most of the participants were from Northeast, as well as Pittsburgh and Chicago. Overall, the competition was a great success, with enthusiastic crowds and spirited play. The early rounds of the competition were regionalized, with many favored teams advancing and a few surprise early departures. The third round reduced the field to eight teams, and included a showdown in Chicago between Pullman F. C. and Hyde Park Blues, with Pullman prevailing 4-2. Back in the New York District, Babcock & Wilcox was eliminated by Brooklyn Celtic 5-0. The defending holders of the Dewar Trophy, Yonkers F. C. defeated New York Celtic 3-1.
In the fourth round, Yonkers took to the field against Brooklyn Field Club, succumbing to the Brooklynites 4-1, and leaving the Cup up for grabs. Meanwhile, Brooklyn Celtic dispatched Columbia Oval F. C. 2-0. Up in New England, New Bedford F. C. eliminated Peabody F. C. 4-1, and Niagara Falls Rangers upset the powerful Pullman F. C. side 2-1. Brooklyn Field Club then defeated New Bedford F. C. 2-1 in the semifinal. The Celtics made quick work of the Rangers, leaving these two intramural rivals to duke it out for the Cup, although not in their home city.
The championship match was played on May 16, 1914 at Coates Field in Pawtucket, RI. Although only a couple hundred Brooklyn fans made the trip to see the match between Brooklyn Celtic and Brooklyn Field Club, over 10,000 locals turned out for the spectacle. Brooklyn Field Club was at full strength for the match, but the Celtics were missing King, one of their top forwards. This severely weakened their scoring line, as a high score would be expected otherwise. Field Club won the coin toss, and within three minutes had found the net. Their scoring line advanced down poised to strike, forcing Goalkeeper Mather to make two quick saves. On the second, he threw the ball toward midfield, where it was picked up by F. C. Captain Adamson, who fired a hard drive for the score.
Twenty five minutes later, referee Charles Creighton caught the F. C.'s Clarke as he pulled down Celtics' O'Halloran in the penalty area. Campton took the resulting penalty kick and evened the score. This inflamed the Field Club's scoring line and they launched furious drives without respite. But the Celtics' defensive line, headed by Mather, Hugh Kelly and Dave Robertson rose to the task, frustrating their moves, and particularly breaking up the work of Millar and Adamson, raising the risk of more penalty calls.
Field Club had the offensive upper hand in the second half, controlling the game at will, but the Celtics' defensive wall was just as resolute, and it was not until the final three minutes of the game that Millar was able to break the tie. Millar had made two beautiful back kicks, both of which were deflected. On his third opportunity, Miller passed to Ford whose kick found the net, giving the first National Challenge Cup to the Brooklyn Field Club in a 2-1 victory over the Brooklyn Celtics.
The 1914 AFA Cup competition was not a financial success, due to the prevalence of bad weather for many of the matches. But it was a success on the field with many exciting games. Bethlehem Steel, champions of the Allied Amateur league of Philadelphia won the cup in an exciting 1-0 victory over Tacony of Philadelphia. This came in a replay, the two clubs having battled to a scoreless draw in the first match. Donaghy was the scorer, who found the net during a spirited scrimmage near the Tacony goal.
Forty one clubs were entered into the competition, with the first rounds divided into four districts. The Fall River Rovers, who had received a bye in the first round, met the defending Cup holders, Paterson True Blues and defeated them 2-0. However, Paterson protested claiming a technical violation of player eligibility rules. the AFA sustained the protest and ordered a relay. When the Rovers refused, Paterson advanced on a forfeit. Bethlehem Steel had a long road in the third round. Having traveled to Holyoke to defeat Farr & Alpaca F. C. 3-0, they then returned to Bethlehem to face West Hudson in a game which ended a 1-1 draw. A replay ended with an identical score. The clubs then traveled to Harrison NJ where they fought a long and intensive battle. Even an extra half hour of added time could not break the tie which stood, once again, at 1-1.
The fourth match was conducted by the A.F.A. at neutral turf in Tacony, PA, where Bethlehem prevailed 4-1. The Victors of Philadelphia and Jersey A. C. also had a "battle Royale", meeting three times before Jersey managed a 4-3 win. Brooklyn Field Club, who would go on to win the National Challenge Cup, were downed by Tacony F. C. 3-1, and Paterson True Blues were downed by Philadelphia Hibernians 2-1. In the semi-finals, Jersey A. C. and Bethlehem Steel fought to a 2-2 draw, but Bethlehem won the replay a week later 2-1. Tacony had little trouble with the Hibernians, and sent them packing 4-1. This lead to the championship match where Bethlehem Steel prevailed 1-0 over Tacony.
There was no US National Team during this era.
There were no international tours this year.
The college soccer season was moved to the fall which was seen as a good development despite its being up against gridiron football. Harvard won the IAFL championship in a disputed championship. Pennsylvania had finished unbeaten, with 2 ties and the same number of points as Harvard, ands had given Harvard its only loss, but Harvard won the title due to its slightly better goal average. This resulted in a rules change declaring that future ties would be broklen in a playoff.
The number of schools playing soccer nearly doubled this year, with nine new teams, primarily from the kidwest taking up the game. Teams such as Ohio Weslayen, Minnesota St. Olaf, and Baldwin-Wallace established teams, primarily fielding foreign collegians. One problem that cropped up was the tendency for new teams to be the brainchild of a single dedicated individual. Without a broader foundation, these teams often died when the individual moved on. This was the fate of the informal league housing Minnesota, St. Thomas and St. Olaf, which folded after a single season.
Intercollegiate Association Football League champion (Spring 1914): Harvard
Intercollegiate Association Football League champion (Fall 1914): Pennsylvania
College All Americans, Spring 1914: G - Jackson, Princeton RF - Shepard, Yale LF - Webster, Pennsylvania RH - Franke, Harvard CH - Elkinton, Harvard LH - Grant, Harvard OR - Tripp, Yale IR - Bell, Pennsylvania CF - Shanholt, Columbia IL - E. Stokes, Harvard OL - Weld, Harvard College All Americans, Fall 1914: G - Hopkins, Pennsylvania RF - Webster, Pennsylvania LF - Gates, Princeton RH - Mohr, Pennsylvania CH - Lynch, Cornell LH - Dyer, Cornell OR - Baron, Pennsylvania IR - Jennings, Harvard CF - Shanholt, Columbia IL - Cary, Haverford OL - Weld, Harvard
Tidbit of the Year: Edgar Pomeroy, in writing the annual report of the California Foot Ball Association (Headquartered in San Francisco) had commented on the matches in the California Foot Ball Association Cup competition being every bit as exciting as the Giants-Athletics World Series championship of the same year. Little did he realize that 73 years later, the Athletics and Giants would again play the world series, only this time representing his Association's hometown cities of Oakland and San Francisco!
Last update: March 4, 2005
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