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90-Year Anniversary Articles: Soccer Wire Decades (1930-39)

Coming off arguably the most successful year in U.S. Soccer history, the U.S. Soccer Federation will be celebrating their 90-year anniversary throughout 2003 with a number of special projects and events.   As part of the year-long commemoration, the U.S. Soccer Communications Center will produce weekly articles looking back at the organization’s history. Through the Communications Center articles, you will not only revisit some of U.S. Soccer's crowning acheivements, but you will also learn about the people and events that shaped the Federation's first 90 years.

This week's installment of U.S. Soccer's ongoing 90-Year Anniversary Articles Series is a look back at the 1930s via Soccer Wire Decades: 1930-1939. This Special Edition Soccer Wire will give you a glimpse into the state of the game in the U.S. in the 1930s, when the U.S. competed in the World Cup for the first time and played in their first World Cup qualifying game.



USA IS ONE OF 13 NATIONS IN INAUGURAL 1930 FIFA WORLD CUP IN URUGUAY: The U.S. Football Association (USFA) was one of the 13 federations that accepted FIFA’s invitation to the inaugural World Cup in Uruguay in 1930. Joining the U.S. were Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, France, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Romania and Uruguay. U.S. MNT head coach Robert Millar named a 16-man roster for the overseas tournament, which featured players from the American Soccer League (ASL) and the St. Louis Soccer League (SLSL). The Americans sailed on the S.S. Munargo (Commander W.W. Clark) from Hoboken, N.J. on the evening of June 13, 1930, arriving in Montevideo, Uruguay on the afternoon of July 1, giving the team 12 days to train until their opening round match.
1930 USFA World Cup Roster (Club)
GOALKEEPER:  James Douglas (New York Nationals – ASL); DEFENDERS: James Gallagher (New York Nationals – ASL), James Gentile (Philadelphia Field Club – ASL), George Moorhouse (New York Giants – ASL), Ralph Tracey (Ben Miller F.C. – SLSL), Frank Vaughn (Ben Miller F.C. – SLSL), Alexander Wood (Holley Carburetors, Mich.); MIDFIELDERS: Andrew Auld (Providence Gold Bugs – ASL), James Brown (New York Giants – ASL), Billy Gonsalves (Fall River Marksmen – ASL), Arnold Oliver (Providence Gold Bugs – ASL), Philip Slone (New York Giants – ASL); FORWARDS:  Michael Bookie (Cleveland Bruells), Thomas Florie (New Bedford Whalers – ASL), Bart McGhee (New York Nationals – ASL), Bert Patenaude (Fall River Marksmen – ASL)
COACH: Robert Millar

U.S. POSTS BACK-TO-BACK SHUTOUT VICTORIES IN GROUP PLAY: In the first round of the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay, the U.S. MNT posted back-to-back shutout victories and finished atop of Group 4. The U.S. opened group play on July 13, with a 3-0 shutout over Belgium in front of 10,000 spectators at the Parque Central Stadium in Montevideo. Forwards Thomas Florie, Bart McGhee and Bert Patenaude each scored while goalkeeper James Douglas earned the first-ever shutout in World Cup play. With the group title and a berth in the semifinals on the line, the Americans blanked Paraguay 3-0 on July 17, at the Parque Central Stadium.  A crowd of 800 witnessed the historic match as Patenaude posted the first official hat-trick in a FIFA World Cup match, scoring all three goals for the U.S.  Douglas earned a clean slate in goal once again as the USA advanced to the semifinals.

WORLD CUP DREAM ENDS AS ARGENTINA ELIMINATES AMERICANS IN SEMIS: The dream of a 1930 World Cup title ended in the semifinals as Argentina, the 1928 Olympic silver-medallist, handed the U.S. a 6-1 defeat in front of 80,000 spectators at the Centenario Stadium in Montevideo, Uruguay on July 26. With no substitutions at the time, the Americans were hit with injuries during the first half encounter as goalkeeper James Douglas twisted his knee and midfielder Andrew Auld played most of the game with a rag stuffed in his mouth due to a head injury. The U.S. was reduced to 10 men after defender Ralph Tracey suffered a serious leg injury forcing him out of the game at halftime. Midfielder James Brown had the only goal for the USA in the loss. Argentina went on to lose to Uruguay in a thrilling final 4-2, while the Americans were awarded third-place after Yugoslavia, the other semifinal loser, decided not to play. To this day, the third-place finish is the highest by an outdoor U.S. Men’s National Team in a FIFA World Championship.

- U.S. MNT ACTIVITY 1930-1937 -

U.S. DROP CONSECUTIVE MATCHES TO URUGUAYAN CLUBS: After their third place performance at the 1930 FIFA World Cup, the U.S. MNT dropped back-to-back matches to Uruguayan First Division Club Teams on August 2-3. The USA lost a heartbreaking 2-1 decision to Nacional at the Central Park Stadium in Montevideo, Uruguay on Aug. 2. The Americans ended their stay in Montevideo with a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Peñarol at the club’s main stadium the next day.
U.S. MNT Uruguay Tour – July 13 - August 3, 1930
Date        Match-up                        Location

July 13    USA 3, Belgium 0 *    Montevideo, Uruguay
July 17    USA 3, Paraguay 0 *    Montevideo, Uruguay
July 26    Argentina 6, USA 1 *    Montevideo, Uruguay
August 2    Nacional 2, USA 1    Montevideo, Uruguay
August 3    Peñarol 4, USA 1    Montevideo, Uruguay

* 1930 FIFA World Cup

AMERICANS CONTINUE 1930 ROAD-SWING IN BRAZIL: On their way back from Uruguay, the U.S. MNT stopped in Brazil, via ship on Aug. 9, where the boat pulled into port at 3:30 a.m. (local time).  After clearing customs a full six hours later at 9:30 a.m., the team was on the field by mid-afternoon playing against Santos. After trailing at halftime, U.S. midfielder Andy Auld leveled the score 3-3 with a minute left to play. After the restart, the U.S. quickly struck again as midfielder Arnie Oliver scored the eventual game-winner as time was called before the ball could be returned to play. The U.S. walked off with a victory despite protests from Santos' goalkeeper. Later in the dressing room, the referee met with the Americans and explained that he had been "shown the error of his ways,” and that the final U.S. goal would be disallowed, making it a 3-3 draw. The next day the Americans traveled to Sao Paolo to face the host in a sold out stadium. The USA put on a great effort, but could not keep pace, losing 5-3. Media reports of the game indicated the officiating was so one-sided – in favor of Sao Paolo – that even the Sao Paulo fans were disappointed. A week later on Aug. 17, in Rio de Janeiro, the U.S. dropped a heartbreaking 4-3 decision to Brazil in the team’s first-ever international meeting. Bert Patenaude notched two goals and midfielder Billy Gonsalves added one in the loss. The Americans closed out their Brazilian tour two days later, losing 2-1 against Botafogo.
U.S. MNT Brazil Tour – August 9-18, 1930
Date            Match-up                        Location

August 9    USA 3, Santos 3    Santos, Brazil
August 10    Sao Paolo 5, USA 3    Sao Paolo, Brazil
August 17    Brazil 4, USA 3    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
August 19    Botafogo 2, USA 1    Botafogo, Brazil

USA NAMES 18-PLAYER ROSTER FOR 1934 WORLD CUP IN ITALY: In 1934, the U.S. MNT competed in their second consecutive FIFA World Cup in Italy. The USFA almost missed out on the competition after submitting their entry to FIFA late. The Americans entry was accepted only with the condition that they would play a qualifying match in Rome against the winner of the North American qualifying competition (Mexico). USFA President Elmer Schroeder appointed David Gould as head coach and he named an 18-player roster that traveled to Italy to meet Mexico on May 24 in Rome, just three days prior to the start of the tournament. Of the 18 players on the team, only four were from the 1930 U.S. squad that finished third at the World Cup in Uruguay (Thomas Florie, James Gallagher, Billy Gonsalves and George Moorhouse).
1934 USFA World Cup Roster (Club)
GOALKEEPER: Julius Hjulian (Chicago Wonder Bolts); DEFENDERS: Thomas Amrhein (Baltimore Canton), Edward Czerkiewicz (Pawtucket Rangers – ASL), James Gallagher (Cleveland Slavia), Al Harker (Philadelphia German-Americans), Joseph Martinelli (Pawtucket Rangers – ASL), George Moorhouse (New York Americans – ASL), Peter Pietras (Philadelphia German-Americans), Herman Rapp (Philadelphia German-Americans); MIDFIELDERS: Bill Fiedler (Philadelphia German-Americans), Billy Gonsalves (St. Louis Stix, Baer & Fuller – SLSL), William Lehman (St. Louis Stix, Baer & Fuller – SLSL), Tom Lynch (Brooklyn Celtics), Werner Nilsen (St. Louis Stix, Baer & Fuller – SLSL), Francis Ryan (Philadelphia German-Americans); FORWARDS: Walter Dick (Pawtucket Rangers – ASL), Thomas Florie (Pawtucket Rangers – ASL), Bill McLean (St. Louis Stix, Baer & Fuller – SLSL), Aldo Donelli (Curry Silver Tops)
COACH: David Gould

U.S. TOPS MEXICO IN FIRST-EVER WC QUALIFIER: In the first-ever World Cup qualifying match for the USA, the squad topped Mexico 4-2 at the Nazionale PNF Stadium in Rome, Italy on May 24, 1934. A crowd of 10,000 saw forward Aldo “Buff” Donelli score all four goals for the Americans as they earned the 16th and final spot in the 1934 World Cup. Donelli almost had five goals in the match – which would have been a U.S. record – but he missed a penalty kick. Unlike the 1930 edition, the 1934 World Cup would feature 16 teams in straight single-elimination format.

ITALIANS CRUSH AMERICANS IN WORLD CUP OPENER: The U.S. MNT dropped a 7-1 decision to host Italy in the opening round of the 1934 World Cup on May 27. The crowd of 30,000 at the Nazionale PNF Stadium in Rome saw Italy jump out to a 3-0 halftime lead over the USA. Forward Aldo “Buff” Donelli cut the lead to 3-1 in the 57th minute of the second stanza with a shot from just outside the penalty that screamed into the corner of the net. That was the only bright spot for the Americans in the match as the Italians went on to score four unanswered goals in the final 27 minutes of the game. Italy went on to win the 1934 World Cup with a 2-1 overtime victory against Czechoslovakia at the finals in Rome on June 10. Before returning to the U.S., the Americans played four games in Germany, beating Wurtemberg 1-0, and battling to three consecutive 2-2 draws against Ulm (once) and Lower Saxony (twice).

USFA PICKS 17-PLAYERS FOR 1936 OLYMPICS ROSTER IN BERLIN: USFA President Elmer Schroeder named Francis Cavanaugh as the U.S. Men’s Olympic Team Head Coach for the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin, Germany. Cavanaugh named a 17-man roster that consisted mostly of players from the Philadelphia German-Americans who were the U.S. Open Cup Champions at the time.
1936 USFA Olympic Roster (Club)
GOALKEEPER: Francis Bartkus (Brooklyn’s German Sports Club); DEFENDERS: James Crockett (Philadelphia German-Americans), Frank Greinert (Brooklyn’s Germany Sports Club), Peter Petras (Philadelphia German-Americans), Fred Zbilowski (Kearny Irish American – ASL), John Zywan (Pittsburgh Castle Shannon); MIDFIELDERS: John Altemose (Brooklyn’s German Sports Club), Edward Begley (St. Louis Irish Village), Robert Denton (Philadelphia German-Americans), Andrew Gajda (Boston F.C.), Frank Lutkefedder (Philadelphia German-Americans), George Nemchik (Philadelphia German-Americans), Fred Stoll (Philadelphia German-Americans); FORWARDS: Julius Chimielewski (Trenton Highlanders), William Fiedler (Philadelphia German-Americans), Francis Ryan (Philadelphia German-Americans)
COACH: Francis Cavanaugh

USA FALLS 1-0 TO DEFENDING WORLD CHAMPIONS ITALY: After getting crushed two years earlier at the World Cup, the U.S. Olympic Team dropped a heartbreaking 1-0 decision to Italy in the first round of the single-elimination soccer tournament at Post Stadion in Berlin on Aug. 3, 1936. The Americans held Italy scoreless in the first half, but the Italians notched the game-winner midway through the second half and advanced to the quarterfinals, while the Americans were sent back home. Italy would go onto to capture their first Olympic Gold Medal with a 2-1 overtime victory over Austria in the finals at the Olympia Stadium in Berlin, on Aug. 13, 1936.

AMERICANS LOSE THREE STRAIGHT TO MEXICO AT CASTILLO NAJERA CUP: After defeating Mexico in their first-ever World Cup Qualifying match three years earlier, the USA lost three consecutive international matches to the host Mexico at the Castillo Najera Cup in 1937, getting outscored 19-6. Under head coach Bill Lloyd, the Americans opened the three-game Mexico City tour on Sept. 12, losing 7-2 to the Tri-Colores. After dropping a 7-3 decision three days later, the USA closed out the tour on Sept. 26, with a 5-1 defeat. The only bright spot for the U.S. on the tour was forward Alexander Rae, who scored in each of the three games, a USFA record (at the time).


With the threat of World War II looming in Europe, the USFA decided to not take part in the North American qualifying round for the 1938 World Cup in France. Due to the withdrawal of the Americans and most of the nations from the North American region, Cuba became the first Caribbean squad to advance a FIFA tournament. Italy would go on to win their second consecutive FIFA World Cup, defeating Hungary in the finals, 4-2, in front of 45,000 spectators at the Olympique Stadium in Paris on June 19. The victory was Italy’s third overall soccer title in the decade (World Cup in 1934, 1938; Olympic Games in 1936).


ASL FORMS NEW ENGLAND DIVISION: The American Soccer League (ASL) established a New England-based division, which operated from 1933-1941. During that time, teams in the league played in the Metropolitan Division and were based in New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia. The New England Division folded during World War II, but was briefly re-established in 1951 and then ceased operations in 1953.


PATENAUDE NOTCHES A RECORD FIVE GOALS IN 1931 OPEN CUP FINAL: U.S. MNT forward Bert Patenaude scored a tournament record five goals for the Fall River Marksmen (Mass.) of the American Soccer League (ASL) in a 6-2 victory over the Chicago Bricklayers. The game was played on April 5 at the Polo Grounds in New York City, and was the first match of the three-game 1931 U.S. Open Cup final. The Marksmen would go on to win the series 9-3 on aggregate, taking their fourth overall Open Cup title.

NEW BEDFORD WHALERS (A.K.A. FALL RIVER MARKSMEN) EARN THIRD CONSECUTIVE CROWN: After winning four U.S. Open Cup Championships – including the last two in 1930 and 1931 – the Fall River Marksmen (ASL), moved to New Bedford, Mass. Renamed the New Beford Whalers (ASL), the team won the 1932 title by defeating the St. Louis Soccer League Stix, Baer & Fuller 8-5 on aggregate score. After battling to a 3-3 tie in the first game on March 27, 1932, the Whalers won the second match 5-2 on April 3.  The victory marked the first time since the tournament’s inception in 1914 that a team had won three consecutive Open Cup titles (1930-1932). Overall, the Marksmen/Whalers would compile an 18-game unbeaten streak in tournament play from 1930-1932.
GONSALVES WINS SIX CONSECUTIVE OPEN CUP TITLES: U.S. MNT midfielder Billy Gonsalves, who played in two FIFA World Cups (Uruguay 1930, Italy 1934), won six consecutive Open Cup titles with three club teams in the 1930s.  Gonsalves captured three championships from 1930 to 1932 with the Fall River Marksmen / New Bedford Whalers (ASL), then in the next three years captured titles with the St. Louis Soccer League’s Stix, Baer & Fuller in 1933 and 1934, and the St. Louis Central Breweries in 1935.


ORIGIN OF FIVE-A-SIDE: Juan Carlos Ceriani of Montevideo, Uruguay devised the first set of rules for Five-A-Side (now Futsal) in 1930. The sport would be played on a basketball court with five players per side, but it wasn’t until 55 years later that the first international match took place in the U.S.  In 1986, a U.S. Five-A-Side National Team was formed and has since competed internationally, capturing a bronze medal at the FIFA World Championship in Holland in 1989 and then a silver at the 1992 edition in Hong Kong.

NCAA RELEASE OFFICIAL RULEBOOK IN 1933: The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the governing body of college athletics in the USA, released their official rulebook in 1933 that covers all intercollegiate soccer in the country.

PHILADELPHIA GERMAN-AMERICAN TAKE TWO STRAIGHT NATIONAL AMATEUR CUPS: The Philadelphia German-American became the first team since the inception of the competition in 1924, to win back-to-back National Amateur Cups (1933-1934). After topping the Pittsburgh McKnight 5-1 for the 1933 title, Philadelphia successfully defended their crown with a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Heidelberg in the 1934 final. The Philadelphia German-American would go onto win their first U.S. Open Cup Championship in 1936.


THREE-TIME U.S. WC GOALKEEPER COACH SOSKIC IS BORN: Current U.S. MNT goalkeeper coach Milutin Soskic was born on Dec. 31, 1937, in Pec, Yugoslavia. An eight-year member of the U.S. MNT full-time coaching staff, Soskic has been a part of the last three U.S. World Cup teams, serving under three head coaches (Bora Milutinovic – USA 1994, Steve Sampson – France 1998, and Bruce Arena – Korea/Japan 2002). Soskic was the goalkeeper in more than 50 full-international matches for Yugoslavia, including the 1962 FIFA World Cup in Chile. Prior to joining the U.S. team, Soskic worked as the goalkeeping coach for Partizan Belgrade of the Yugoslavian first division. His accomplishments as a keeper rank among the best of all time. While playing with the Yugoslavian National Team (1959-1966), he was in goal for the 1960 gold-medal Olympic squad in Rome, and was named the best goalkeeper of the 1962 World Cup after leading Yugoslavia to a fourth-place finish.


Peak Performer: Forward Bert Patenaude scored six goals in only four international matches with the U.S. MNT in 1930. The Fall River, Mass., native was credited for the first official hat-trick in a FIFA World Cup match in the 3-0 U.S. victory over Paraguay on July 17, 1930. The Americans would go on to finish third at the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay. Patenaude would set another record a year later in the U.S. Open Cup, notching five goals for the Fall River Marksmen (Mass.) in a 6-2 victory over the Chicago Bricklayers on April 5.

Marquee Match-up: After being crushed in their last encounter two years earlier at the World Cup, the U.S. Olympic Team dropped a heartbreaking 1-0 decision to Italy in the first round of the single-elimination soccer tournament in Berlin, Germany on Aug. 3, 1936. The USA actually held Italy scoreless in the first half, but the Italians notched the game-winner midway through the second half and advanced to the quarterfinals, while the Americans were sent back home.

Soccer Shocker: After eliminating Mexico from the 1934 World Cup during a qualifying match in Rome, Italy, the Americans dropped three straight games to the Tri-Colores at the Castillo Najera Cup in Mexico City in 1937. Mexico outscored the USA 19-6 in three matches from Sept. 12-26, 1937.

Quote: “A bed of wet, sticky clay with pools of water too numerous to count.” – 1930 U.S. MNT Manager Wilfred Cummings describing the wet field at the Parque Central Stadium in Montevideo, Uruguay on the opening day of the World Cup, where the USA blanked Belgium 3-0.

National Soccer Hall of Fame (
Historical articles and publications by Roger Allaway, Colin Jose, Dave Litterer

A complete collection of historical articles will be featured in a limited-edition 90-Year Anniversary Publication, a coffee-table book which will be published for fans and U.S. Soccer constituencies around the time of the organization’s 87th Annual General Meeting in Chicago from Aug. 13-16, 2003.

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