The Year in American Soccer – 1926

American Soccer League

Although Fleisher Yarn had proved a disappointment, the ASL continued to strengthen itself in 1926, adding 1925 National Open Challenge Cup champion Shawsheen (Massachusetts) to its roster for the 1925-26 season. Shawsheen had performed respectably in a number of scrimmages against ASL clubs the previous season, and seemed ready for the majors. Owned by the American Woolen Company and its president, William Madison Wood, the Indians opened the season at 10-4-1, due largely in part to a number of Fall River players loaned to the new team by Wood’s friend, Sam Mark. However, tragedy struck: Wood died suddenly, and the club never recovered. In spite of playing on the ASL’s best pitch at Balmoral Field in Andover, Massachusetts, attendance plummeted, and the team lost money. Unfortunately, Shawsheen would also prove to be a major disappointment, folding 29 games into the 44 games season; they were a respectable 11-15-3 at the time.

More top players entered the circuit: Tom Blair, who had played with Manchester City in the early part of the decade, signed with Boston to provide stability in the net.

Fall River continued to be the class of the league, running up a 30-2-12 record to easily win its third consecutive title. Tec White scored 33 goals for the Marksmen, and Tom Blair was acquired from Boston midway through the season to provide an unbeatable goalkeeper tandem with Findlay Kerr. Although Bethlehem Steel finished an unsatisfactory fourth behind New Bedford and Boston, they were able to salvage their year by winning their fifth National Open Challenge Cup. Riding an Archie Stark hat-trick, the Steelmen defeated the Ben Millar club of St. Louis, 7-2, before a crowd of 18,000 at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York. Stark had an “off-year” otherwise, following his record-setting 1925 season with “only” 43 goals to finish behind New Bedford’s Andy Stevens in the scorers’ table.

By this time, the ASL had easily established itself as the country’s top professional league. Some idea of the strength of the American soccer of this period can be gauged by results against visiting foreign teams. The famous Sparta Club of Prague and the star-studded Hakoah, an all-Jewish side from Vienna, both playing the delicate style of mid-European soccer, were surprised by the high standard of American soccer, and both teams suffered defeats. Hakoah drew the largest crowds ever to watch soccer in America up to that time: three successive games drew 25,000, 30,000, and 36,000 spectators. The highlight of the tour was a May 1, 1926 exhibition game between Hakoah and an ASL all-New York team which drew 46,000 fans to the Polo Grounds in New York. Pete Renzulli of New York Giants, the goalkeeper for the team, made up of players from the Giants and Indiana Flooring, remembered that Hakoah “had the ball for 87 minutes”, but that the ASL scored three times on counterattacks and won, 3-0. In spite of the crowds, the tour was still a financial failure for Hakoah, probably because many of the attendees for their games got in with free tickets; the club reported that it lost over $30,000 and, as a result, the club’s president resigned upon his return to Vienna. Hakoah’s influence on the game here would be considerable, however; professional and semi-professional teams bearing the “Hakoah” name would dot the American soccer landscape for years to come.

                 Final League Standings, 1925-26

                       GP   W   D   L  GF  GA  PTS  PCT
Fall River Marksmen    44  30  12   2 143  52   72  .819
New Bedford Whalers    44  28   5  11 119  70   61  .693
Boston Wonder Workers  43  23   7  13 100  65   53  .634
Bethlehem Steel        35  23   6  12 115  58   52  .616
Providence Clamdiggers 39  21   5  13  90  62   47  .602
Indiana Flooring (N.Y.)42  18   6  18  83  81   42  .500
Brooklyn Wanderers     40  16   7  17  76  71   39  .487
J & P Coats (Pawtucket)40  15   7  17  76  91   37  .474
New York Giants        37  13   6  18  76  90   32  .432
Shawsheen (Ma.)Indians 44  11   3  30  33  89   25  .284
Philadelphia Field Club44   8   3  33  41 150   19  .215
Newark Skeeters        38   5   6  27  30 124   15  .202

*Shawsheen folded after 29 games; last game played was 3/27/26. 
Balance of schedule were forfeits

CHAMPION:  Fall River Marksmen
LEWIS CUP:  New Bedford Whalers defeated New York Giants, 5-1, 0-3

Leading Scorers                     GP    G
Andy Stevens (New Bedford)          39   44
Archie Stark (Bethlehem Steel)      37   43
Bobby Blair (Boston)                33   36
Tec White (Fall River)              39   33
Johnny Nelson (Brooklyn)            27   30
David Brown (New York)              26   28
Bart McGhee (Indiana Flooring)      38   25
Tommy Florie (Providence)           38   22
Jim Purvis (Bethlehem Steel)        22   21
Harold Brittan (Fall River)         32   21
Mike McLeavy (New Bedford)          35   21
Tommy Croft (Fall River)            31   19
Herbert Carlson (Indiana Flooring)  36   19
Dougie Campbell (Fall River)        41   19
Bill Adam (J&P Coats)               30   18
Jerry Best (New Bedford)            41   18
Frank McKenna (Ind. Fl./Fall River) 34   16
Bob Millar (Indiana Flooring)       28   15
Billy Hogg (Providence)             23   14
Neil Turner (New Bedford)           32   14
Bobby Curtis (Brooklyn/Providence)  30   13
Barney Battles (Boston)             20   12
Jack Renfrew (Providence)           26   11
Andy Straden (Shawsheen/N.Y.)       31   11
Malcolm Goldie (Bethlehem Steel)    31   11
Alec Lorimer (Shawsheen/N.B.)       33   11
Billy Westwater (Boston)            20   10
Johnny Reid (Fall River)            21   10
Bob Drummond (J&P Coats)            28   10
Johnny Ballantyne (Boston)          35   10

Leading Goalkeepers
                                     GP    GA   S    GAA
Findlay Kerr (28)/
Tommy Blair (13)(Fall River)         44    51  11    1.16
Dave Carson (25)(Bethlehem Steel)    38    57  12    1.50
Tommy Steel (23)/
Tommy Blair (17)(Boston)             42    66  11    1.57
Charlie Shaw (27)(New Bedford)       43    70  12    1.63
Jack Surgenor (Providence)           38    63   8    1.75
Steve Smith (36)(Brooklyn)           38    71   8    1.87
Pete Renzulli (31)(Indiana Flooring) 40    82   9    2.05
Sandy Parkes (35)(J&P Coats)         37    91   5    2.46
Bobby Geudert (20)/
Jimmy Douglas (16)(New York)         35    90   1    2.57
Tommy Murdoch (23)(Shawsheen)        29    75   3    2.59
William Kucklick (Philadelphia)      37   147   3    3.97
?? (Newark)                          35   127   3    3.63

International Soccer League

During the ASL season, on January 10, 1926, Boston, Brooklyn and New Bedford announced that they would form a league with four top Canadian clubs, to begin play at the conclusion of the ASL season. This circuit, dubbed the International Soccer League (ISL), played a two-part schedule through the summer and early fall of the year. Although the league was primarily an experimental one-all the clubs remained members of their respective leagues-it was not entirely unsuccessful; however, it would not be repeated. Fall River, while not a member of the league, played many of the ISL teams through the season, which was not without some controversy: after the first half, Montreal Scottish were suspended for various rules violations and replaced with another Montreal team, Maroons. The ISL ended with a cup tournament: Toronto Ulster United won the Nathan Strauss Cup over the ASL’s Brooklyn Wanderers. New Bedford’s Andy Stevens completed a unique personal “double,” scoring 12 goals in four games with the Whalers to lead the league in scoring.

                 Final League Standings, 1925-26

                                  GP   W   D   L   GF  GA  Pts
Brooklyn Wanderers                 9   5   3   1   25  10   13
Boston Wonder Workers              4   4   0   0   16   3    8
New Bedford Whalers                4   3   0   1   16   8    7
Toronto Ulster                     5   2   1   2    8   9    6
Montreal Carsteel                  4   0   1   3    5  12    1
Toronto City                       4   0   1   3    7  19    1
Montreal Scottish                  3   0   1   2    1  17    1
Montreal Maroons                   1   0   0   1    0   5    0

NATHAN STRAUSS CUP:  Toronto Ulster defeated Brooklyn Wanderers, 3-1.

During the time the league played, the Fall River Marksmen also played many ISL 1 teams, but not as a member of the league.

Leading Scorers                   GP    G
Andy Stevens (New Bedford)         4   12
Johnny Nelson (Brooklyn)           9    7
Graham (Toronto Ulster)            6    4
Kalman Konrad (Brooklyn)           9    4

St. Louis Soccer League

The St. Louis Soccer League saw some flux as the formerly prospering Scullin Steel gave up the ghost to be replaced by Wellston’s. Ben Millers and Vesper Buicks retained their #1 and #2 spots in the standings, and the fans enjoyed another close race.

                SLSL Final league Standings, 1925-26

                       GP   W   L   T   GF  GA  Pts
Ben Millers            14   8   3   3   42  31  19
Vesper Buicks          14   7   4   3   40  27  17
Ratican’s              14   4   6   4   27  39  12
Wellston’s             14   3   9   2   30  42   8

Champion:  Ben Millers
Municipal League Champion: Fairmount Democrats
City Title:  Ben Millers defeated St. Matthews 5-0 on 3/22/25; attendance: 6,500.

Leading Scorers:            G
Jimmy Dunn, Ben Millers   15
Buddy Brengle, Ratican's    8
Harry Ratican, Ratican's    7
Joe Hand, Vesper-Buick      7
Beano Ballam, Ben Millers   7
Ed Becker, Vesper-Buick     6
Ed Hart, Wellston's         6
Raphael Tracy, VB/BM        5
George Corrigan, Wellston's 5
Ed Hanson, Vesper-Buick     5
Al McHenry, Ratican's       5

Amateur Leagues & Cups

California Association Senior Challenge Cup: Burns
John O. Belis Perepetual Trophy: Olympic
Peel Challenge Cup (Illinois): Pullman
Rowland Cup (Maryland State): Canton
New Jersey State Challenge Cup: Ryerson
West Penn Challenge Cup: Heidelberg; Junior Cup: Cooley Juniors

The US National Team

Only a single full international was played by the US team this year, a 6-2 victory over Canada in Brooklyn, on November 6, 1926, in which Andy Auld scored two goals, as did Brown, with single goals coming from Marshall and Tom Florie. This was the last of a USA-Canada series which had originally been planned as an annual event. But after the lone match in 1926, the series was never renewed.

             USA National team results, 1926

    1926 Totals:  1W,  0D,  0L
Nov 06 26  W 6-2  Canada              2,500  Brooklyn, NY, USA
               Brown (2), Auld (2), Marshall, Florie

National Challenge Cup

Bethlehem Steel of the ASL won its sixth and final National Challenge Cup title, scoring a convincing 7-2 victory over Ben Millers of St. Louis in the final at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn on April 11. Archie Stark scored three of the Bethlehem goals, and the attendance of 18,000 set a record for an American soccer crowd that lasted less than a month.

Bethlehem had reached the final by beating J&P; Coats of Pawtucket, R.I., 3-1, in the eastern semifinal on March 21. A week later, Ben Millers advanced with a 2-0 win over Canadian Club of Chicago in the western semifinal. In the quarterfinals, Bethlehem had beaten New York Giants, 2-1, while Ben Millers beat Vesper Buick of St. Louis, 2-0.

International Tours

The highlight of the international tours was the visit by Hakoah All-Stars, an all-Jewish team from Vienna, Austria. The New York leg of the tour culminated in a game against the New York stars witnessed by 46,000 at the Polo grounds, an attendance record that would last for over 40 years.

Hakoah All-Stars of Vienna April 20 – May 31, 1926. 7 wins, 2 draws, 2 losses

Roster:Leo Drucker, Josef Eissenhoffer, Alexander Fabian, Max Gold, Josef Gruenfeld, Max Gruenwarld, Albert Gutman, Aleis Hess, Moriz Haeusler, Alfred Krausz, Alexander Neufeld, Erwin Pollak, Max Schuer, Heinrich Schoenfeld, Erno Schwarz, Jacob Wegner, Theodore Wegner, Siegfreid Wortmann. Dr. Valentine Rosenfeld, trainer and coach.

4/20  Hakoah 3, Brooklyn Wanderers 1 (New York City)
4/21  Hakoah 0, Lavenders 0 (New York City)
4/25  Hakoah 4, New York 0 (New York City)
5/1   Hakoah 0, New York Stars 3 (New York City)
5/2   Hakoah 2, Providence 2 (Providence, RI)
5/9   Hakoah 6, Sparta 1 (Chicago, IL)
5/15  Hakoah 4, St. Louis Stars 2 (St. Louis)
5/16  Hakoah 2, Chicago Stars 3 (at Chicago)
5/22  Hakoah 6, Brooklyn Wanderers 4 (Brooklyn, NY)
5/23  Hakoah 3, Newark 3 (Newark, NJ)
5/29  Hakoah 2, New York Giants 1 (New York City)
5/31  Hakoah 3, Philadelphia Field Club 0 (Philadelphia)

Sparta F.C. of Prague, September 6 – November 3, 1926. 12 won, 3 draws, 2 losses

Roster:Carvan, Cerveny, Dolejsi, Fleischman, Hajmy, Hochmann, Hojer, Horejs, Janda, Kaliba, Kolenaty, Miclik, Perner, Pesek-Kada, Polacek, Steiner.

9/6   Sparta 4, International League 0 (Brooklyn, NY)
9/11  Sparta 3, Brooklyn Wanderers 3 (Brooklyn, NY)
9/12  Sparta 6, New York Giants 0 (New York City)
9/19  Sparta 2, Fall River F.C. 3 (Fall River)
9/26  Sparta 6, Ohio Stars 2 (Cleveland)
10/4  Sparta 1, Chicago Stars 0 (Chicago, IL)
10/10 Sparta 4, Ulster United 4 (Toronto)
10/17 Sparta 5, St. Louis Stars 3 (St. Louis)
10/23 Sparta 9, Sparta F.C. 0 (Chicago)
10/24 Sparta 2, Detroit Stars 1 (Detroit, MI)
10/30 Sparta 1, Brooklyn Wanderers 3 (Brooklyn, NY)
11/3  Sparta 1, Galicia F.C. 1 (Newark, NJ)

Worcester, Mass. to England & Germany: October 13, 1926 through October 25, 1926. Results: 1 win, 0 draws, 4 losses.

10/13/26  Worcester 2, Stourbridge 5 (in Stourbridge)
10/15/26  Worcester 2, Eversham 4 (in Eversham)
10/20/26  Worcester 3, Worcestershire 2 (in Worcester)
10/22/26  Worcester 1, Kidderminster 5 (in Kidderminster)
10/25/26  Worcester 5, Oxford Centers 6 (in London)

The College Game

By 1926, over twenty colleges were playing soccer, and a continuing source of stress was the desire of many of these colleges to be part of a league. The IAFL would not take in any more members, and in fact there was no way for the League to accommodate all the colleges that wanted membership, especially now that soccer had been established in the Midwest, Colorado and California. The schools met in the spring of 1926, and voted to disband the league, and formed a new league, the Intercollegiate Soccer Football Association of America. The Penn Intercollegiate Association Football league, a smaller association, was also disbanded.

This new Association was open to any college regardless of location, and the primary goals of the association were to promote the game, maintain uniformity of rules and decide a national champion. Two forms of membership were available – active and associate. Active membership required a team to play at least four games a year against other active members. The national champion was decided by a poll of the member institutions. Also, this year, the California Intercollegiate Soccer Conference was formed, but the two powerhouses in the area, soccer pioneers California and Stanford were not allowed to join until 1930 because they were considered too strong. Even after joining, the western colleges did not get the attention they deserved for some years, partially due to the great distances and the distractions of the major eastern institutions.

The year 1926 marks the beginning of Penn State’s rise to become the first true college dynasty, becoming the dominating force from 1926 through 1941.

Intercollegiate Soccer Football Association Champion: Harvard, Princeton, Penn State (co-champs)

California Intercollegiate Soccer Conference Champion: San Mateo Junior College

College All-Americans:

G -  Thomas, Harvard
RF - Lippencutt, Penn State
LF - Logan, Haverford
RH - McDonald, Pennsylvania
CH - Nevins, Lehigh
LH - Shu, Cornell
OR - Pecorl, Penn State
IR - Squires, Princeton
CF - Saunders, Haverford
IL - Packard, Princeton
OL - Barnouw, Princeton

Other Action

1926 National Amateur Cup Final: On June 27th, the New Bedford Defenders defeated Pittsburgh Heidelberg, 1-0.