The Year in American Soccer – 1924

American Soccer League

League membership remained at eight for the ASL’s third season. Charter member Harrison dropped out, but was replaced by Newark. Also, defending U.S. Open Cup champs Paterson were purchased by Maurice Vanderweghe. Vanderweghe promptly moved the club to New York, where they played as the National Giants. So successful was the circuit that it increased its schedule to 44 games, the longest organized season in American soccer history at the time.

Brooklyn’s Frederick J. Smith began a term as league President. Thomas W. Cahill ascended to Vice President. Spending freely, Bethlehem Steel continued to mount successful raids of British clubs. Paying a $50-$70 weekly salary to stars accustomed to earning less that the equivalent of $25 a week in Great Britain enabled Bethlehem to sign up both Wattie Jackson and his brother Alex. The latter Jackson was destined to become one of the finest wingers in English history when he returned to England to play for Huddersfield Town; he also starred for the Scottish national team.

Not surprisingly, the league continued to be ruled by the twin titans of American soccer, Fall River and Bethlehem Steel. Fall River completely dominated the league, running up a 19-2-6 record en route to its first ASL crown, finishing 6 points ahead of the Steelers. Center Forward Harold Brittan paced a balanced offensive attack, netting 15 goals. Meanwhile, in an era of high-scoring soccer, Fall River’s defense of Ned Tate, Alex Kemp, and Bill Collier was impenetrable. Findlay Kerr, acquired from Bethlehem prior to the season, recorded an incredible 14 shutouts while posting a miniscule 0.70 average. The Marksmen went on to complete the first “double” of the 1920s as well, taking the U.S. Open Cup, defeating Bethlehem 2-0 on goals by Dougie Campbell and Johnny Reid in the semi-final and thrashing Vesper B. 4-2 in the final. Ironically, Fall River’s success came by way of a number of Bethlehem Steel castoffs; besides Kerr, Collier, Brittan, and winger Campbell, forward Fred Morley, center half Tommy Raeside, and outside half Alec Lorimer had all worn Bethlehem’s colors in previous seasons. The Steelmen completed a “second banana double,” adding the American Cup to its runners-up finish. Now totally eclipsed by the U.S. Open Cup, this would be the last time the American Cup tournament was staged except for a one-shot comeback in 1929.

Elsewhere, Archie Stark grabbed his first league scoring title with 21 goals for New York F.C., one ahead of J&P Coats’ Tommy Fleming.

                 Final League Standings, 1923-24

                       GP   W   D   L  GF  GA  PTS
Fall River Marksmen    27  19   6   2  59  19   14
Bethlehem Steel        27  17   4   6  59  32   38
New York Field Club    26  15   7   4  66  35   37
J & P Coats (Pawtucket)24  10   5   9  54  53   25
Brooklyn Wanderers     27   9   5  13  47  57   23
New York Giants        25   6   6  13  35  59   18
Philadelphia Field Club25   5   2  18  30  62   12
Newark Skeeters        23   3   1  19  20  53    7

CHAMPION:  Fall River Marksmen

Leading Scorers                     GP    G
Archie Stark (New York FC)          25   21
Tommy Fleming (J&P Coats)           23   20
Harold Brittan (Fall River)         20   15
Tommy Duggan (New York FC)          27   14
Alex Jackson (Bethlehem Steel)      28   14
Billy Adam (J&P Coats)              23   13
Daniel McNiven (NY Giants/NY FC)    23   13
Walter Jackson (Bethlehem Steel)    23   13
Billy Hogg (Brooklyn)               23   12
Bart McGhee (New York FC)           27   12
Bill McPherson (Fall River)         26   10
Michael Cosgrove (Brooklyn)         23    9
Malcolm Goldie (Bethlehem Steel)    27    9
Johnny Grainger (Bethlehem Steel)   11    8
Dougie Campbell (Fall River)        25    8
Johnny Reid (Fall River)            26    8
Bob Curtis (Brooklyn)               27    8
Curran (Philadelphia)               14    6
Mike McLeavy (J&P Coats)            15    6
Tommy Nichol (Brooklyn)             21    6
Sammy Rudolph (Philadelphia)         6    5
Cecil Bremmer (New York Giants)     11    5
David Brown (Newark)                12    5
Neil Turner (Bethlehem Steel)       20    5
Fred Morley (Fall River)            20    5
Peter Sweeney (New York Giants)     21    5
Bob Drummond (J&P Coats)            23    5

Leading Goalkeepers 
                                    GP    GA   S    GAA
Findlay Kerr (Fall River)           27    19  14   0.70
Billy Highfield (13)/
Dave Carson (8)(Bethlehem Steel)    28    33   9   1.18
Bobby Geudert (26)(New York FC)     27    39   8   1.44
Jack Sturgenor (18)/
Steve Smith (9)(Brooklyn)           27    56   4   2.07
Tommy Schofield (16)(J&P Coats)     25    52   2   2.08
Jimmy Douglas (19)(Newark)          23    53   3   2.30
Jock Brown (22)(New York Giants)    26    64   1   2.46
Jumbo Chapman (8)/
John Ward (5)(Philadelphia)         25    64   4   2.56

St. Louis Soccer League

The St. Louis League continued its retrenchment this year, cutting the schedule to 13 games. Otherwise, it was pretty much the same; Vesper Buicks continued to dominate, winning the league, and forging through to the final match of the US Open Cup, where they fell to the Fall River Marksmen of the ASL (see below). Scullin fell to 3rd, just ahead of the struggling Ben Millers, while the Hoovers (now Barrett) improved to 2nd place. The league was still near its peak in popularity. There had been a noted influx of “old world” talent to join the many American-born players making up this distinctly American league.

              1923-24 SLSL Final Standings


                       GP   W   L   T   GF  GA  Pts
Vesper Buicks          13   9   2   2   30  15  20
Barrett Hoovers        13   6   4   3   28  20  15
Scullin Steels         13   3   6   4   17  22  10
Ben Millers            13   2   8   4   23  35   7

Champion:  Vesper Buick
St. Louis Municipal League Champ:  Schumacher Undertaker Company

Amateur Leagues & Cups

California Association Senior Challenge Cup: McKinley Park of Sacramento
John O. Belis Perpetual Trophy: Barbarians
Peel Challenge Cup (Illinois): Chicago Bricklayers
New Jersey State Challenge Cup: Crescent SC
West Penn Challenge Cup: Morgan; Junior Cup: Castle Shannon Juniors

The US National Team

The National Team was revived this year to participate in its first Olympic competition since the exhibition series at the 1904 Games. Despite the growth of the sport, the US had not participated in the 1920 Olympics, but was determined to make good this time. The games were also seen as an opportunity for the USSF, the ASL and the amateur leagues to put aside their differences and work toward a promoting the game as a whole.

The team was assembled entirely of amateur, non-college players. Four were from Fleischer Yarn, five were from Pennsylvania and three from New Jersey. Five other states were represented. As in many other series, the team was assembled at the last minute, in poor shape and had never played together before.

Somehow, they managed to win a sloppy opener at Pershing Park, Paris, against Estonia, on May 24, edging out a 1-0 victory against a stronger team. The US employed some rough tactics in pulling this one off. Jimmy Douglas was the MVP, after making many saves to preserve the victory. The second game on May 29 was against a much stronger side, Uruguay, fresh off a 15 game training series. As expected, Uruguay dominated from the start, scoring three times in the first half. The Americans however, regrouped, confounding the Uruguayans with a four halfback – 1 fullback lineup (1-4-5), and the 2nd half was more evenly played, but the US never found the net and the final was 3-0, and the US was out. Ultimately, Uruguay won the gold, Switzerland won the silver and Sweden won the Bronze.

The US surprise lineup shuffle was the first (albeit accidental) innovation in the 2-3-5 formation which had been dominant for the past 30 years, long before the concept of the “sweeper” was developed. Manager Collins in his report to the USSFA, made the first of what would be many pleas over the coming decades to join the rest of the world and select national squads in a way that would allow sufficient training and practice for the team to function effectively as a unit. Sadly, this would not become a reality until the late 1980s.

After the Olympic competition, the team toured Europe. They scored a 3-2 victory against Poland in Warsaw on June 10, on the strength of two Stradan goals and another by Wells. Finally, they were beaten badly by Ireland in Dublin on June 16, 1-3, with the lone US goal coming from Rhody.

                    USA National Team Results, 1924

    1924 Totals:  2W,  0D,  2L
Jun 16 24  L 1-3  Ireland                    Dublin, Ireland
Jun 10 24  W 3-2  Poland              8,000  Warsaw, Poland
               Stradan (2), Wells
May 29 24  L 0-3  Uruguay            20,000  Paris, France (Oly'24)
May 25 24  W 1-0  Estonia            10,000  Paris, France (Oly'24)

National Challenge Cup

The ASL’s Fall River Marksmen won the first of their four cup championships, defeating Vesper Buick of St. Louis, 4-2, in the final game at High School Field in St. Louis on March 20. Fred Morley scored two of he Fall River goals, and Johnny Reid and Harold Brittan had the others.

Fall River had advanced to the final with victories of 6-2 over Crompton (R.I.) FC in the quarterfinals and 2-0 over Bethlehem Steel in the eastern semifinal. Vesper Buick beat Chicago Bricklayers, 5-0, in the western semifinal.

International Tours

September 1-12: The Corinthians (England): September 1, 1924 through September 12, 1924. Results: 3 wins, 2 draws, 0 losses.

Roster: Partridge, Morrison, Ashton, Reid, Hunter, Blaxland, Morgan, Knight, Glenister, Chadder, DeKovan

Sept. 1       Corinthians 8, Penn Freebooters 1 (at Philadelphia)
Sept. 6       Corinthians 1, Philadelphia S.C. 1 (at Philadelphia)
Sept. 8       Corinthians 7, Cricket Clubs 1 (at Philadelphia)
Sept. 10      Corinthians 1, Brooklyn Wanderers 1 (at Brooklyn, NY)
Sept. 12      Corinthians 3, Haverford 0 (at Philadelphia)

U. S. Olympic Team to France: No results available

The College Game

Intercollegiate Association Football League champion: Pennsylvania

Penn Intercollegiate Association Football League Champion: Haverford

College All Americans:

G -  Colebrook, Princeton
RF - Evans, Haverford
LF - Garrett, Haverford
RH - Zantzinger, Yale
CH - Downs, Pennsylvania
LH - Pattinson, Harvard
OR - Stewart, Pennsylvania
IR - Boos, Pennsylvania
CF - Lingelbach, Pennsylvania
IL - Gentile, Pennsylvania
OL - Barnouw, Princeton

Other Action

1924 American Cup Final: Bethlehem Steel defeated the Fall River Marksmen 1-0. This would be the last American Cup competition save for a one-shot revival in 1929.

1924 National Amateur Cup Final: In the inaugural Natural Amateur Cup final, Fleischer Yarn took the cup with a 3-0 victory over the Chicago Swedish Americans.