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90-Year Anniversary Articles: Soccer Wire Decades (1920-1929)

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, we take you back to the second decade of U.S. Soccer with Soccer Wire Decades: 1920-1929.  This Special Edition Soccer Wire will give you a glimpse into the state of the game in the U.S. in the 1920s, when the U.S. hosted their first international friendly, the National Soccer League of Chicago (NSL) and American Soccer League (ASL) formed and the U.S. played in two Olympics.

Part of U.S. Soccer's On-going 90-Year Anniversary Articles


U.S. MNT COMPETES IN 1924, 1928 OLYMPICS: After playing their first international matches eight years earlier, the U.S. Football Association (now U.S. Soccer) sent their Men’s National Team to the 1924 Olympics in Paris and the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam.  U.S. Head Coach George Burford assembled a team of amateur and non-college players in 1924 that split two matches at the Olympic Games in Paris, France, and then four years later Burford once again led the Americans to Olympic Games this time in Amsterdam.

USA TOPS ESTONIA IN PARIS, THEN LOSE TO URUGUAY: The U.S. MNT opened the preliminary round of the 1924 Olympics in Paris with a 1-0 victory over Estonia in front of 10,000 spectators at Pershing Park on May 25. U.S. forward Andy Straden notched the only goal of the match against a strong Estonian squad, while netminder James Douglas made several key saves to earn the shutout in goal.  The Olympic run ended for the Americans four days later at the same venue as a crowd of 20,000 saw the eventual gold medalist Uruguay blank the USA 3-0.  After the Olympics, the U.S. left France and headed to Poland and Ireland for two international friendlies.  Two tallies by Straden and an own goal by Poland lifted the Americans to a 3-2 victory over the host in Warsaw on June 10, 1924.  Six days later, forward James Rhody scored the only USA goal in a 3-1 loss to Ireland in Dublin.
Paris, France – 1924
GOALKEEPER – James Douglas (Newark F.C.); DEFENDERS – Irving Davis (Fairhill F.C.), Williams Demko (Fleischer Yarn, Pa.), Raymond Hornberger (Disston F.C.), James Mullholland (Scott A.A.), Carl Johnson (Chicago Swedish-American), Arthur Rudd (Fleischer Yarn, Pa.); MIDFIELDERS – Aage Brix (Los Angeles A.C.), William Findlay (New York Galicia), F. Burke Jones (Bridgeville F.C.), Fred O’Connor (Lynn G.E.), Herbert Wells (Fleischer Yarn, Pa.); FORWARDS – Sam Dalrymple (Disston F.C.), Harry Farrell (Fairhill F.C.), Edward Hart (St. Matthews F.C.), James Rhody (Erie A.A.), Andy Straden (Fleischer Yarn, Pa.)
COACH – George Burford

U.S. DROPS 1928 OLYMPIC OPENER TO ARGENTINA: In their second consecutive Olympic appearance, the U.S. dropped an 11-2 decision to Argentina in the first round of the single-elimination tournament in Amsterdam on May 30, 1928.  Midfielder James Gallagher and forward Rudolf Kuntner notched the only goals in the loss for the USA.  Before returning to the states, the Americans traveled to Warsaw, Poland and battled the host to a 3-3 draw in an international friendly on June 10, 1928.  Gallagher, Kuntner and defender Francis Ryan scored for the USA.
Amsterdam, Netherlands – 1928
GOALKEEPER – Albert Cooper (Trenton F.C.); DEFENDERS – Robert Aitken (Caledonian F.C.), John Duffy (Independent F.C.), Raymond Littley (Centennial A.C.), John Lyons (Fore Rivers Shamrocks), Francis Ryan (Lighthouse F.C.), Harry Smith (Lighthouse F.C.); MIDFIELDERS – R. Allen Jr. (Municipal League), John Deal (Wolfenden Shore F.C.), William Findlay (New York Galicia), James Gallagher (Ryerson Juniors), John Kane (Municipal League), Joseph Murphy (Municipal League); FORWARDS – James Cronin (Municipal League), Rudolf Kuntner (New York Giants – ASL), Henry O’Carroll (Bayonne Rovers), John Rudge (Municipal League)
COACH – George Burford

STARK SCORES FOUR TIMES FOR USA IN FIRST-EVER MATCH ON HOME-SOIL: Forward Archie Stark scored a record four goals to pace the U.S. MNT to a 6-1 victory over Canada in Brooklyn, N.Y., on November 8, 1925.  After dropping a heartbreaking 1-0 decision to host Canada on June 27, 1925 in Montreal, the crowd of 8,000 saw teammate David Brown added two more goals for the U.S. MNT in their first-ever international friendly played on U.S. soil.  A year later both teams met again in Brooklyn, N.Y. and the USA trounced Canada by the identical 6-1 scoreline on Nov. 6, 1926.  Brown and forward Andrew Auld both scored twice, while midfielder Thomas Florie and defender Jack Marshall each added a tally for the U.S.


NATIONAL SOCCER LEAGUE OF CHICAGO FOUNDED IN 1920: The National Soccer League of Chicago (NSL) was a semi-professional league founded in 1920 that became one of the country’s best regional leagues, producing many prominent teams and players.  The NSL was at its peak from the 1950s to the 1970s as it produced a number of outstanding players who would go on to the play for the U.S. MNT such as Adolph Bachmeier, Rudy Getzinger, Ed Murphy and Willy Roy.

BIRTH OF THE AMERICAN SOCCER LEAGUE IN 1921: The American Soccer League (ASL) was the first viable professional soccer league in the U.S., with teams operating mainly in the northeastern United States, particularly the Philadelphia-New Jersey-New York area.  The ASL operated from 1921-1926, and then after reorganization and the defection of three teams to the Eastern Soccer League in 1929, the league reformed as the Atlantic Coast Soccer League.  The name reverted the next year back to the ASL, and it continued to play until 1933.  In 1934, the ASL II was re-formed and continued league play until 1983.

ORIGIN OF THE COSMOPOLITAN SOCCER LEAGUE: Originally founded as the German-American Soccer League (GASL) in 1923, the league was renamed the Cosmopolitan Soccer League (CSL) in 1977. Since then the league has provided a high level of competitive soccer in the New York City metropolitan area.  With Teddy Leuthauser as the first president, the GASL has been home to many formidable soccer teams, including several that have gone on to earn state and national honors. 


BEN MILLER FC FIRST NON-EAST COAST SQUAD TO CAPTURE OPEN CUP IN 1920: The St. Louis Soccer League’s Ben Miller FC became the first squad not from the East Coast to win the National Challenge Cup (now Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup) after a hard-fought 2-1 victory over the visiting Boston Fore River Shipyard on May 9, 1920, in front of 12,000 spectators at the Federal League Park.

PATERSON FC WINS 1923 TITLE VIA FORFEIT: Paterson FC (N.J.) of the American Soccer League won the 1923 National Challenge Cup via forfeit after the defending champion St. Louis Soccer League’s Scullin Steel decided to pass up a replay game following a 2-2 draw in the final in Harrison, N.J. on April 1. Scullin would have had to field a very diluted team in the replay because of injuries and the departure of several players to fulfill baseball contracts.

STARK’S HAT-TRICK EARNS BETHLEHEM STEEL FIFTH CHAMPIONSHIP IN 1926: Bethlehem Steel (Pa.) of the American Soccer League won their fifth Open Cup Championship with a convincing 7-2 victory over the St. Louis Soccer League’s Ben Miller FC at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, N.Y., on April 11, 1926.  Forward Archie Stark, who scored four times in only two international matches with the U.S. MNT in 1925, registered the first hat-trick in an Open Cup Final to the delight of the 18,000 in attendance.

RECORD 20,000 WATCH NEW YORK HAKOAH SC CAPTURE 1929 CROWN: After 13,937 spectators saw the teams’ first encounter at the Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis on March 21, 1929, a record-crowd of 20,000 showed up at Dexter Park in Brooklyn, N.Y., on April 7 to watch the second leg of the 1929 Open Cup between New York Hakoah SC and the St. Louis Madison Kennels.  The New York Hakoah SC swept the two-game final 5-0 on aggregate.


FIRST SOCCER LEAGUE PLAYING INDOORS BEGINS IN 1923: The world's first soccer league playing indoors with 11 a-side teams playing on a full-sized field opened at the Commonwealth Calvary Armory in Boston, Mass., in  the winter of 1923.  In the mid-1920s an indoor league forms in New York City, with games taking place at Madison Square Garden.

FLEISCHER YARN CAPTURES INAUGURAL NATIONAL AMATEUR CUP IN 1924: Fleischer Yarn (Pa.) captured the inaugural National Amateur Cup in 1924 after posting a 3-0 victory over the Chicago Swedish Americans.

ENGLAND’S DICK-KERR’S LADIES TEAM TOURS USA IN 1924: Dick-Kerr's Ladies Professional Team (from Liverpool, England) became the first women’s club team to tour the USA in late 1922.  After Canada Football Association did not allow them to play in Canada, the Dick-Kerr’s squad played against the top U.S. male professional teams from the East Coast and surprisingly posted a 3-3-2 record while outscoring their opponents 35-34. 


MEMBERS OF THE 1950 U.S. WORLD CUP ROSTER: The following members of the 1950 U.S. World Cup Roster were born in this decade: Robert Annis (1 cap) – Sept. 5, 1928 in St. Louis, Mo. … Walter Bahr (1 goal, 18 caps) – April 1, 1927 in Philadelphia, Pa.  Bahr assisted on the game-winning goal for the USA over England … Frank Borghi (9 caps) – April 9, 1925 in St. Louis, Mo. - Borghi was in goal in U.S. victory over England … Charlie Colombo (11 caps) – July 20, 1920 in St. Louis, Mo. … Robert Craddock (1 cap) – Sept. 5, 1923 in Lawrenceville, Pa … Nicolas DiOrio (0 caps) – Feb. 4, 1921 in Morgan, Pa. … Joseph Gaetjens (1 goal, 3 caps) – March 29, 1924 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti - Gaetjens scored the winning goal in the USA win over England … Gino Gardassanich (0 caps) – Nov. 26, 1922 in Fiume, Italy (now Rijeka, Croatia) … Harry Keough (1 goal, 17 caps) – Nov. 15, 1927 in St. Louis, Mo. … Joseph Maca (1 goal, 3 caps) – Sept. 28, 1920 in Brussels, Belgium - Maca had one of the two U.S. tallies in the 5-2 defeat at the hands of Chile … Edward Mcllvenny (3 caps) – Oct. 21, 1924 in Greenock, Scotland … Gino Pariani (1 goal, 5 caps) – Feb. 21, 1928 in St. Louis, Mo. – Gino Pariani notched the only American goal in the 3-1 loss to Spain … Edward Souza (1 goal, 6 caps) – Sept. 22, 1921 in Fall River, Mass. … John Souza (2 goals, 14 caps) – July 12, 1920 in Fall River, Mass. … Frank Wallace (3 goals, 7 caps) – July 15, 1922 in St. Louis, Mo. - Wallace scored one of the two U.S. goals in the 5-2 defeat against Chile.  


Peak Performer: Forward Archie Stark became one of the most prolific goal scorers in American soccer history after notching four goals in only two international matches for the U.S. MNT in 1925.  Stark would also notch the first-ever hat-trick in the U.S. Open Cup Final after leading Bethlehem Steel to their first title since 1919 with a 7-2 victory over the St. Louis Ben Miller FC in 1926.

Marquee Match-up: The U.S. MNT posted their first shutout victory in only their third international match since becoming a FIFA Member, blanking Estonia 1-0 in the preliminary round of the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, France on May 25.

Soccer Shocker: Dick-Kerr's English Ladies Professional Team posted a 3-3-2 overall record, while competing against male clubs in late 1922.  They outscored U.S. professional teams by a slim 35-34 margin. 

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

This article, along with a collection of the Communications Center 90th anniversary 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.