The Year in American Soccer – 1931

American Soccer League

The Atlantic Coast league changed its name back to American Soccer League, and continued play with ten teams. Although the league was enjoying the renewed peace after the Soccer War, it also suffered the demise of one of the all-time great US soccer teams: Bethlehem Steel folded after the corporation’s vice president Horace Edgar Lewis, disenchanted with the soccer war, gave up on the sport altogether. This was a startling end to one of the most successful dynasties the US had known to this time. However, Bethlehem had always suffered from low attendance, due to its remote location in a smaller city. In fact, it was difficult for Bethlehem to get involved in exhibition games or host tournaments because officials knew the financial gain would be meager. This was a forewarning of future woes for the league. The depression was ravaging the major industrial corporations which provided the support and players for many teams in the ASL and other local ethnic leagues.

Many of the players from the defunct Bethlehem Steel moved to a new team, the Newark Americans. Meanwhile, in a confusing name switch, the New York Giants became New York Soccer Club, and Charles Stoneham, owner of the New York Nationals and the Giants baseball team, appropriated the name Giants for his soccer club. Fall River, returning home from a European tour, started the season late, but that didn’t stop them from winning the league championship, despite playing only 27 out of 30 games. They won the fall season, which the ASL considered to be the second half of the 1930 “season”, and did not have to endure a playoff to be recognized the official champion.

The New Bedford Whalers and Hakoah All-Stars continued their impressive play, with the Whalers’ Jerry Best topping the goal scoring chart with 35. The Newark Americans, on the strength of the former Bethlehem Steel players finished a respectable 4th, at 11 wins, 11 losses and 6 draws. But New England region didn’t fare so well, with both Providence and Pawtucket languishing near the bottom of the table. On the bright side, Pawtucket’s Bob McIntyre came into his own this season, scoring 23 goals to notch the 2nd spot on the goal scoring chart.

The ASL began the first half of their 1931 season in the spring of 1931, with another significant franchise loss. Sam Mark, owner of the highly successful Fall River Marksmen, moved his team to New York City. Attendances had fallen as a result of the depression, and he gambled that the New York market would be more lucrative. Mark merged his club with the New York Soccer Club, renaming them the Yankees. Meanwhile, he made Mark’s Stadium available to anybody willing to place a team there. A group of Fall River businessmen, led by former star and future Hall of Famer Harold Brittan bought Pawtucket and moved them to Mark’s Stadium as Fall River FC. Meanwhile, a new Boston club, the Bears was formed featuring a squad of relative unknowns.

The ravages of the depression were now increasingly felt, leading to increased instability among teams. Boston folded after 7 games, and New Bedford, unable to carry on, merged into Fall River FC. Despite the merger, Fall River finished in the lower end of the table, and the Yankees could manage only 3rd place, the first time in recent memory that Sam Mark did not take home a league champion. However, the team did win the National Challenge Cup, but not without creating another interesting footnote in the historical record. Even though the ASL now had a spring-fall season, the Challenge Cup did not. Therefore, Sam Mark’s team, which had begun the National Challenge Cup campaign as the Fall River Marksmen, continued under that name right through to the championship and the record books, even though by that time they were firmly ensconced in Gotham City, wearing New York Yankees uniforms!

This would regrettably the last hurrah for this storied franchise. The league was also suffering a loss of talent as several top players retired or saw their performances fall off, and the franchise instability was one factor leading to a dramatically reduced schedule for the spring session. “Wee” Willie Crilley achieved an offbeat feat when he scored 14 goals in seven games, partly thanks to a hat trick and a four goal game. Willey, who had played since the league’s second year, impressed the next season despite playing only ten games, and returned to Scotland after that, to play with Alloa, his former club. In 1921-22, with Alloa, he broke the team season scoring record with 49 goals. Much of his career in the ASL he was known more for his playmaking rather than his scoring – at least until this year.

                 Final American Soccer League Standings, Fall 1930

Before the season, Newark and Boston were added, and the New York Giants 
became the New York Soccer Club.  The New York Nationals were
renamed the New York Giants .

                       GP   W   D   L  GF  GA  PTS  PCT
Fall River Marksmen    27  13   8   6  54  43   34  .630
New Bedford Whalers    30  15   6   9  75  62   36  .600
Hakoah All Stars       27  10   8   9  40  42   28  .519
Newark Americans       28  11   6  11  62  55   28  .500
New York Soccer Club   27  12   3  12  51  55   27  .500
Providence Gold Bugs   29  12   3  14  46  29   27  .466
Brooklyn Wanderers     30  10   7  13  57  58   27  .450
New York Giants        31   9   7  15  64  86   27  .435
Pawtucket Rangers      31   0   8  14  54  26   26  .419

CHAMPION:  Fall River.

Leading Scorers                       GP    G
Jerry Best (New Bedford)             27       35
Bob McIntyre (Pawtucket)             31       23
Bert Patenaude (Fall River/Newark)   23       22
Billy Gonsalves (Fall River)         27       13
Jimmy Baillie (New York SC)          26       13
Archie Stark (Newark)                19       12
Bill Paterson (Providence)           16       11
Pepi Schneider (Brooklyn/Newark)     26       11
Leslie Lyell (Brooklyn)              29       10
Werner Nilsen (Fall River)           27       10
Herbert Carlson (New York Giants)    15       10
Dave Brown (New York SC)             21       10
Jimmy McAuley (Pawtucket)            25       10

                 Final American Soccer League Standings, Spring 1931

Before the season, New York Soccer Club and Fall River Marksmen were 
merged to form the New York Yankees.  Providence moved to Fall River 
and became Fall River Football Club.  

                       GP   W   D   L  GF  GA  PTS  PCT
New York Giants        17  10   2   5  42  28   22  .647
Brooklyn Wanderers     16   9   2   5  32  27   20  .625
New York Yankees       17   9   3   5  40  27   21  .619
Pawtucket Rangers      18   9   3   6  47  33   21  .583
Fall River Football Club16  8   2   6  28  25   18  .558
Hakoah All-Stars       17   5   2  10  25  41   12  .353
Newark Americans       13   4   1   8  18  29    9  .346
New Bedford Whalers    11   3   2   6  18  22    8  .364
Boston Bears            7   1   0   6  10  30    2  .143

Boston suspended play early, but returned for second half of season.
New Bedford was absorbed by Fall River c. 4/19/1931.

Leading Scorers                       GP    G
Bob McIntyre (Pawtucket)            18    23
"Wee" Willy Crilley (Brooklyn)       7    14
Bill Paterson (Fall River)          17    11
Dave Brown (New York Giants)        15    10
Billy Gonsalves (New York Yankees)  17    10

St. Louis Soccer League

Parity reached an all-time high as all four teams finished within two points of each other Unfortunately, this was not due to high competitiveness, but rather due to mediocrity. The St. Louis League had been in decline for a number of years, since the early 1920’s, and at this point no one seemed sure what to do about it. Soon however, Thomas Cahill would be brought in to revive the league, and soon it would be sending teams far into the US Open Cup competition.

                    1930-31 SLSL Final League standings

                       GP   W   L   T   GF  GA  Pts
Coca Colas             17   7   6   4   33  43  18
Tablers                17   7   7   3   40  26  17
Hellrungs              17   7   7   3   42  35  17
Ben Millers            17   6   7   4   29  40  16

Champion:  Coca Colas
Municipal League Champion: Schenberg's Markets

Leading scorers:               G
Tooters Rudge, Hellrungs      11
Eddie Flynn, Tablers          10
Joe Hennessy, Coca Colas       9
Ed Hart, Hellrungs             9
Bud Grennon, Coca Colas        8
Jack O'Reilly, Hellrungs       8
Dinty Moore, Tablers           7
Hop Coughlin, Ben Millers      6
Jim Cronin, Tablers            5
Larry Kickham, Ben Millers     5
Syl Currn, Ben Millers         5
Ben Nash, Ben Millers          5
Bill Lehman, Hellrungs         5

Amateur League & Cup Champions

California Senior Challenge Cup: Burns
John O. Bellis Perpetual Trophy: Olympic
Rowland Cup (Maryland State Open): Canton
New Jersey State Challenge Cup. Bayonne Rovers
New York State Senior Challenge Cup. Prague
New York State Qualifying Cup. Lava
German-American Soccer League (New York): 1. Vienna S. C. (A division); Newark (B Division)
Metropolitan League (New York). Green Point United
Peel Cup (Illinois/National Soccer League): Sparta F. C.
National Soccer League of Chicago: Sparta FC
West Penn Challenge Cup: Dunleavey; Junior Cup: (Not held)

The US National Team

The US National team did not play any games during 1931.

National Challenge Cup

The ASL’s Fall River Marksmen repeated as cup winners, sort of, defeating Chicago Bricklayers in the three-leg final. The Fall River team actually had moved to New York, becoming the Yankees in ASL play, but since it entered the challenge cup when it still was in Fall River, it retained that name for the remainder of the tournament.

The first leg of the final was played on April 5 at the Polo Grounds in New York, where Fall River defeated the Bricklayers, 6-2, and seemingly established clear superiority. Bert Patenaude scored five goals in that game, and Bill McPherson had the other. A week later at Mills Stadium in Chicago, the Bricklayers kept the series alive by forcing a 1-1 draw (Billy Gonsalves scored the Fall River goal). For the deciding game on April 19 at Sparta Stadium in Chicago, Fall River, which had taken only 12 players to Chicago, had to play with only 10 men from the start of the game, but still gained a 2-0 victory on goals by Patenaude and Gordon Burness.

Fall River had reached the final with a 6-1 victory over Newark Americans, a team composed largely of former Bethlehem Steel players, while the Bricklayers won their semifinal, 1-0, from Ben Millers of St. Louis. Fall River had beaten New York Galicia, 6-2, in the quarterfinals.

International Tours

Valez Sarsfield of Buenos Aires February 21 1931 – February 23 1931. Record: 2 wins, 0 draws, 1 losses

Roster: Alvarca, Arianpe, Chividini, Clivedician, Dasoa, Devoto, Diaz, Ferreira, Forrester, Garbibi, Paternoster, Peruch, Quiroga, Saucia, Stanchez, Valante, Varallo

2/21   Velez Sarsfield 3, New York Stars 1 (at Brooklyn, NY)
2/22   Fall River F. C. 5, Verez Sarsfield 2 (at Mark's Stadium, N. Tiverton, RI)
2/23   Velez Sarsfield 3, Hakoah All-Stars 1 (att: 3,500, at Commercial Field, Brooklyn, NY)

Glasgow Celtic F. C. May 23 1931 – June 30 1931. 8 wins, 1 draw, 3 losses

Roster: William Cook, Denis Currie, Charles Geatons, William Hughes, Joe McGhee, James McGrory, Peter McGonigle, James McStay, John Morrison, Charles Napier, Peter Scarff, Hugh Smith, Alex Thompson, John Thompson, Robert Thompson, Robert Whitelaw, Peter Wilson. Manager: William Maley, Trainer William Quinn, Directors Tom White, John McKillop, James Kelly. During the game against Montreal Carsteel, Peter Scarff scored five goals while wearing a green dress shirt (there weren’t enough kits to go around (Thanks to Iain Reynolds for this item!)).

5/23   Glasgow Celtic 6, East Penn & District 1 (at Philadelphia, PA)
5/24   Glasgow Celtic 3, New York Giants 2 (att: 30,000 at Polo Grounds, New York City)
5/30   New York Yankees 4, Glasgow Celtic 3 (att: 8,000 at Fenway Park, Boston, MA)
5/31   Fall River F. C. 1, Glasgow Celtic 0 (att: 7,000 at Mark's Stadium, Tiverton, RI)
6/6    Pawtucket 3, Glasgow Celtic 1 (at Pawtucket, RI)
6/7    Glasgow Celtic 5, Brooklyn Wanderers 0 (att: 10,000, at Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, NY)
6/13   Glasgow Celtic 7, Carsteels 0 (at Montreal, Que., CANADA)
6/14   Glasgow Celtic 1, Hakoah All-Stars 1 (att: 20,000, at Polo Grounds, New York City)
6/21   Glasgow Celtic 6, Bricklayers 3 (at Chicago, IL)
6/27   Glasgow Celtic 3, Ulster United 1 (at Toronto, ON, CANADA)
6/28   Glasgow Celtic 4, New York Yankees 1 (att: 10,000, at Yankee Stadium, New York City)
6/30   Glasgow Celtic 4, Canton S. C. 1 (at Baltimore, MD)

Racing Club of Madrid, Spain October 11 1931 – November 8 1931. 3 wins, 2 draws, 4 losses

Roster: Armengou, Arturo, Bernaben, Cosme, Gomez, Iries, Lolin, Martinez, Monoz, Mondragon, Platko, Rey, Rubio, Tena, Urretavirigi, Valderrana, Vasquez.

10/11   New York Stars 3, Racing Club 1 (at Brooklyn, NY)
11/13   New York Giants 6, Racing Club 2 (att:  2,000, at Polo Grounds, New York City)
10/15   Racing Club 2, Hakoah FC 1 (att: 2,000, at Polo Grounds, New York City)
10/18   Racing Club 3, Prague FC 0 (at Astoria, New York)
10/24   Racing Club 1, German-Hungarians 1 (at Brooklyn, NY)
10/25   Racing Club 3, Newark SC 1 (at Newark, NJ)
11/1    Racing Club 1, 1st German FC 1 (at Newark, NJ)
11/3    Hakoah FC 3, Racing Club 1 (at Commercial Field, Brooklyn, NY)
11/8    Spanish League Stars 1, Racing Club 0 (at Brooklyn, NY)

Bella Vista of Montevideo, Uruguay April 3, 1931. 1 win, 0 losses, 0 draws

Roster: Ballesteron, Nazzasi, Mascheroni, Andrade, Riolfo, Dorado, Haberli, Carbone, Borjas, Lago, Triarte

4/3    Bella Vista 2, Hakoah All-Stars 1 (at Brooklyn, NY)

Hakoah All-Stars, of American Soccer League July 19, 1931 – August 23, 1931. 1 win, 2 draws, 3 losses.

7/19   Hakoah 2, Iberia FC 0 (Havana, Cuba)
7/26   Juventud Asturians 5 (Havana, Cuba)
8/2    Hakoah 2, Centro Gallego 2 (Havana, Cuba)
8/9    Hakoah 1, Orion 1 (San Jose, Costa Rica)
8/16   Herediano 2, Hakoah 1 (San Jose, Costa Rica)
8/23   Alajulense 4, Hakoah 2 (San Jose, Costa Rica)

Gjoa Soccer Club of Brooklyn to Norway: May 3, 1931 through June 28, 1931. Played 29, Won 16, Lost 5, Tied 8.

Players: Nils Andersen, Fin Carlsted, Einar Edwards, Gunnar Endresen, William Enger, Ivor Foss, Ove Gundersen, George Hansen, Hans Hansen, Henry Jendal, Oscar Larsen, Werner Nilsen, Wollert Nilsen, Martin Olsen, Hans Pedersen, Carl Refsland, Eide Refsland, Gustave Sommerstad. Manager: Harry Hansen. Business Manager: Stig Gjertsen.

5/3/31   Gjoa 2, Lyn F.C. 2 (at Olso)
5/5/31   Gjoa 3, Drammen 0 (at Drammen)
5/7/31   Gjoa 2, Tell F. C. 2 (at Notodden)
5/10/31  Gjoa 0, Tonsberg Turn  3 (at Tonsberg)
5/13/31  Gjoa 3, Falk FC 1 (at Horten)
5/14/31  Gjoa 3, Mjondalen FC 2 (at Mjondalen)
5/17/31  Gjoa 0, Fredrikstad F.C. 3 (at Fredrikstad)
5/20/31  Gjoa 5, Sarpsborg F.C. 1 (at Sarpsborg)
5/22/31  Gjoa 5, moss F. C. 1 (at Moss)
5/24/31  Gjoa 3, Storm F.C. 1 (at Skein)
5/29/31  Gjoa 4, Ureff F.C. 1 (at Porsgrund)
5/31/31  Gjoa 1, Larvik turn 2 (at Larvik)
6/1/31   Gjoa 8, Granne F.C. 1 (at Arendal)
6/2/31   Gjoa 2, Start F.C. 0 (at Kristiansand)
6/3/31   Gjoa 3, Flekkefjord 1 (at Flekkfjord)
6/5/31   Gjoa 4, Ulf F. C. 1 (at Sandnes)
6/7/31   Gjoa 3, Sif F.C. 2 (at Stavanger)
6/9/31   Gjoa 1, Sif F. C. 1 (at Stavanger)
6/12/31  Gjoa 2, Vard F.C. 1 (at Haugesund)
6/14/31  Gjoa 4, Djerv F.C. 1 (at Bergen)
6/16/31  Gjoa 2, Brann F.C. 2 (at Bergen)
6/18/31  Gjoa 0, Aalesund 4 (at Aalesund)
6/19/31  Gjoa 1, Kristiansund 1 (at Kritiansund)
6/21/31  Gjoa 4, Brage F.C. 6 (at Trondheim)
6/22/31  Gjoa 2, Orkanger 0 (at Orkanger)
6/24/31  Gjoa 4, Hamar F.C. 2 (at Hamar)
6/25/31  Gjoa 0, Gjovik 0 (at Gjovik)
6/26/31  Gjoa 2, Lillehammar 2 (at Lillehammar)
6/28/31  Gjoa 2, Skeld F. C. 2 (at Oslo)
Goals 75 for against 46.  Sailed from Brooklyn, April 16.

The College Game

Intercollegiate Soccer Football Association Champion: Pennsylvania

California Intercollegiate Soccer Conference Champion: Stanford

College All-Americans:

G  - McCune, Penn State
RF - Stetson, Swarthmore
LF - Byers, Lehigh
RH - Williams, Lehigh
CH - Dayklu, Penn State
LH - Corry, Navy
OR - Anderson, Pennsylvania
IR - Cochrane, Princeton
CF - Rudy, Swarthmore
IL - Longacre, Haverford
OL - Kullman, Pennsylvania

Other Action

1931 National Amateur Cup Final: Akron Goodyear took the cup on the strength of a 1-1 draw on May 10 and a 2-0 shutout on June 7. The victim was the New Bedford Black Cats.