Written by David Litterer
The USFA continued to work closely with its state associations with an eye toward oversight without direct management. Remaining wrinkles in the structural relationship were worked out while associations brought their associated leagues in to conformity with the national standard rules and procedures. More than one state director commented that there had little awareness of soccer activities outside of their own area until they joined the USFA. Virtually all of the remaining state and local organizations were accepted as members of the organization before year's end. Overall, the lack of rancor and divisiveness was welcomed, and the major problem in fact was the tendency of organizations to correspond directly with the national headquarters rather than their state associations to deal with problems. A gentle reminder went out from the national secretary in an attempt to alleviate this problem.
Following on its successful debut, the National Challenge Cup nearly doubled its field this year, with over 80 teams taking part. New leagues and state associations continued to sprout in all regions of the country, and a second intercollegiate conference was launched. In a welcome sign, the last remaining major dispute was resolved with the re-unification of the St. Louis professional league. Although the St. Louis teams would not participate in the National Challenge Cup until 1918, the end of this mini-war was a significant accomplishment. Eventually, the nascent efforts to create a national team would bear fruit, with the first national side set to be formed in 1916.
The NAFBL shrank back to 9 teams this season, and there was quite a bit of flux in team fortunes during the season. West Hudson A. A. continued its excellent play and remained in a battle with the greatly improved Jersey Athletic Club for much of the season before finally winning the season by a single point. Coming in a distant third was a similarly improved Kearney Scots team, while Brooklyn F. C., the defending champs, fell down to 6th place. Both West Hudson and Kearney Scots made impressive showings in the American Cup, with Kearney winning their first AFA Cup, and West Hudson losing to them in the semi-final. Good news was received when Babcock & Wilcox announced their intentions to join the league for the next season.
Final NAFBL League Standings, 1914-15 GP W L T Pts West Hudson A.A. 16 14 2 0 28 Jersey A.C. 16 13 2 1 27 Kearny Scots 16 8 3 5 21 Bronx United 14 7 7 0 14 New York Clan MacDonald 14 5 5 4 14 Brooklyn F.C. 14 5 6 3 13 Paterson Rangers 14 4 6 4 12 Newark F.C. 16 2 13 1 5 Paterson True Blues 16 0 14 2 2 Newark Caledonians withdrew before the start of the season. After the season, Bronx United, Paterson Rangers, Paterson True Blues and Newark F.C. withdrew.
Soccer took off in a big way in New England following the establishment of the Southern New England Football Association, with the establishment of several leagues on sound footing, the most prominent of which was the semi-pro Southern New England Soccer League which launched this season. Within a couple seasons it would have several of the strongest teams in the region. In its first season, the New Bedford Club won the league title, with the Young Men's Christian Total Abstinence Society coming in second, and J&P Coates finishing third. J&P Coates made a respectable run in the National Challenge Cup and Y.M.C.T.A.S. defeated New Bedford for the Southern New England Times Cup.
1914/15 GP W L T PTS New Bedford 16 10 1 5 25 YMCTAS [New Bedf. Temps] 14 9 3 2 20 J & P Coats (Pawtucket) 14 7 2 5 19 Pawtucket 16 2 11 3 7 Taunton City 16 2 13 1 5
The League cut back to ten teams this season, but the season overall was the most successful in its history both on the field and in the coffers. Brooklyn Celtic won the league title again, cruising to a 16-2-0 record as they simultaneously pursued their fortune through the rounds of the American and National Challenge Cups. The Continentals made good on their promotion to the first division, finishing 2 points behind the Celtics for an impressive 2nd place showing. In All-Star action, the NYSAFBL won a tie against the select players of the new Southern New England Soccer League, and split a pair of games with the National Association Foot Ball League. Brooklyn Celtic made the finals of both the American and National Challenge Cups, but fell to defeat in both matches.
Final League Standings first division, 1914-1915 GP W L T GF GA Pts Brooklyn Celtic 18 16 2 0 38 10 32 Continentals 18 14 2 2 62 23 30 Yonkers F. C. 18 11 6 1 43 24 23 Columbia Oval 18 7 5 6 39 24 20 New York Celtic 18 9 8 1 32 25 19 Camerons 18 6 7 5 30 34 17 Clan MacDuff 18 6 10 2 26 26 14 Clan Chisholm Rangers 18 6 10 2 17 35 14 Hollywood Inn 18 5 12 1 16 30 11 Clan MacKenzie 18 0 18 0 9 82 0 Note: Columbia v. Greenpoint game unfinished at 1-1, but referee awarded the game to Columbia.
The Robison League held two series, with Innisfails and Columbus F. C. winning the fall/winter and spring sessions respectively. Combining the two gave Innisfails a narrow victory in overall standings. Teresa and Manewal were well behind in the pack. Over at the Federal Park Soccer League, the Ben Millers got off to a flying start and St. Leo's had to play an arduous game of catch-up, not pulling ahead until near the end of the season.
As the season wore down, the two leagues finally reconciled their differences and agreed to merge. The first step to that end was a championship match pitting the league champions against each other to determine the city title. St. Leo's and Innisfails had fought long and hard league races in recent seasons, with St. Leo's always prevailing previously. But this time they were off their game, possibly because of their exhausting league race against Ben Miller. At any rate, the two teams battled to a 2-2 draw, and continued the fight to a replay where Innisfails prevailed 4-2, albeit with St. Leo's fighting on right to the last kick.
The reconciliation of the two leagues was as quick as it was unexpected. Both sides clearly recognized they had nothing to gain on their own. The reformed St. Louis Soccer League would remain a four-team circuit consisting of St. Leo's, Ben Millers, Innisfails and Columbus Club. The other teams were folded and their players dispersed to the remaining teams.
Final St. Louis League Standings, 1914-1915 Federal Park League Before the season, Compton Hills was added. GP W L T Pts St.Leo's 13 10 1 2 22 Ben Millers 13 8 3 2 18 Columbia Athletic Club 10 3 7 3 9 Compton Hills 13 1 10 2 4 Robison Field League - First Series Before the season, Manewals was added. GP W L T Pts Innisfails 9 6 2 1 13 Columbus Club 9 4 4 1 9 St. Teresa 9 2 3 4 8 Manewals 9 2 5 2 6 - Second Series GP W L T Pts Columbus Club 5 4 0 1 9 Innisfails 5 3 1 1 7 St. Teresa 5 1 3 1 3 Manewals 5 0 4 1 1 CHAMPIONSHIP: Innisfails defeated St. Leo's After the season, the two leagues merged. Columbia, Compton Hills, St. Teresa and Manewals folded. Municipal League Champion: Christian Brothers College defeated Leacocks 4-2 before 15,000 people.
Back up to ten clubs this season, the ALFC welcomed one of the major regional powers to its ranks - the Bricklayers, who gave Pullman a run for the league title, finally settling for a close 2nd place finish. Pullman continued their impressive string of league titles, and added to it a victory in the Peel Challenge Cup. Campbell Rovers and Hyde Park Blues both took major dives this year, finishing in the middle of the pack. Washington Heights finished last, despite having the best stadium in the league. Mason Park failed to show for a game and were fined and then suspended for the remainder of the season. Six teams entered the National Challenge Cup competition with Pullman making it to the 4th round. The Chicago and District Association Football league was established as an umbrella organization encompassing all of the organized leagues in the area.
Final AFLC League standings, 1914-1915 GP W L T GF GA Pts Pullman 17 15 2 0 78 17 32* Bricklayers and Masons 18 13 2 2 54 16 30 Joliet Steel Works 18 13 4 1 54 17 27 McDuff 18 10 6 2 52 37 22 Calumet 18 9 8 1 37 30 19 Campbell Rovers 17 4 8 5 21 39 15* Hyde Park Blues 18 7 9 3 33 41 14** Hibernians 18 4 12 2 23 70 10 Mason Park 15 4 9 3 24 34 8** Washington Heights 18 0 18 0 15 90 0 * - awarded points due to Mason Park forfeits. ** - deducted points for ineligible player. Peel Cup: Pullman defeated Joliet 5-2.
The initial National Challenge Cup competition had been favorably received across the country. As a result, when invitations went out this year, 82 teams accepted, almost double the number from last year. All regions of the country outside of California and St. Louis were represented (St. Louis would take part starting in 1918, and California soon after). Many familiar teams made good runs this year. In the fourth round, Brooklyn Celtic, last years runner-up, defeated German F. C. of New York 4-2, and Bethlehem Steel, the defending American Cup champions defeated the Kearney Scots 3-0. Out in western Pennsylvania, Homestead S. W. F. C. defeated Peel Cup holders Pullman F. C. of Chicago 2-1, and in New England, J&P Coats of Pawtucket, RI defeated Fore River of Quincy, MA 1-0.
Bethlehem Steel hosted the western semi-final, and Lehigh University graciously made their football stadium available. A large crowd turned out to support the steel men as they made quick work of Homestead 4-1. The Eastern final was moved to New Bedford, MA, where Brooklyn Celtic defeated J&P Coats 2-1, keeping alive the Celtics' hope of avenging last year's loss. But it was not to be.
Before 7,500 fans at Taylor Field, Lehigh University on May 1, 1915, Bethlehem Steel took command from the start and went on to a 3-1 victory to claim their first national championship. Ford scored first for Bethlehem off a great cross. Tommy Fleming nearly scored the second a short time later, but Mather made a great save to keep the score at 1-0. After a couple more great shots (and saves), Bethlehem went up by 2 when Bob Millar took a cross shot from Ford, tripped, got up, and drove hard, beating the goalkeeper. Bethlehem outshot Brooklyn 24-8 in that first half, and Duncan only had to make one serious save for the steelworkers.
In the second half, Ford banked in a cross from Millar and Fleming, but it was not allowed. The two then clashed in a close match with numerous corner kicks going for naught. Finally, Fleming had his chance when his driving corner kick was handled by an opponent, and Tommy made good on the penalty kick. At this point, the Celtics had their best run of the day, taking the ball to scoring range and hitting the post, following up with a couple more near misses. Finally, McQueen took a pass from O'Halloran who had drawn Campbell away, and worked his way behind the two fullbacks, and beat Duncan with a low hard shot and found the corner of the net. But it was too little, too late. The Celts fought bravely and fiercely but did not find the net again, and Bethlehem Steel got a 3-1 victory and the National Challenge Cup.
After fifteen years of spirited competition, the Kearney Scots finally won the American Cup. The Scots had reached the final twice before only to succumb to better opponents. Kearney's starting lineup was dominated by youngsters, with veteran backup. Players such as Eddie Holt, Joe Hemmsley, Archie Stark and his brother Tom, Barry & Joe Knowles quickly jelled into a formidable combination as the tournament progressed.
Some major teams fell early, including Fall River Rovers and Babcock & Wilcox in the 2nd round. In the third round, Bethlehem Steel trounced Farr Alpaca 6-1, West Hudson defeated Disston, Kearney Scots defeated Victor F.C. 3-1, and Brooklyn Celtics defeated Jersey A. C. 1-0. The semi-finals were upset city as Bethlehem Steel was stunned by a determined Brooklyn Celtics side who sent them packing 2-1 (But they would lose to them soon in the National Challenge Cup finals). Kearney ended the dream for the West Hudsons 2-1.
The championship game was played on Sunday April 13 at Bartell's Park in Newark, NJ with over 5,000 in attendance. The Celtics were favored to win based on their performance in earlier rounds, but they failed to hold their form, and their scoring prowess was effectively nullified by strong defense and poor shooting. The game was largely a defensive battle until Archie Stark found the net with a powerful shot which beat Mather, the Celtic goalkeeper all the way. It was not a pretty game, with a lot of wild kicking and little strategy, but it was enough to land the Kearney Scots the American Cup, 1-0 over Brooklyn Celtics.
There was no US National Team during this era.
There were no international tours this year.
College soccer showed significant growth this year with a number of colleges taking up the sport and the formation of the Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Soccer Conference.
Intercollegiate Association Football League champion: Haverford
Penn Intercollegiate Association Football League: Pennsylvania JV
College All Americans: G - Jackson, Princeton RF - Thomas, Cornell LF - Moore, Princeton RH - Hoskins, Princeton CH - Hirst, Pennsylvania LH - Mohr, Pennsylvania OR - Stokes, Haverford IR - Gates, Princeton CF - Baron, Pennsylvania IL - Cary, Haverford OL - Weld, Harvard
Last update: February 27, 2005
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