The Year in American Soccer – 1944

The American Soccer League

With more than 120 players serving in the U. S. Armed Forces, the much depleted rosters of ASL clubs were filled with youngsters and players signed from the local amateur leagues. The Philadelphia Nationals were most heavily hit by the player exodus, although the gaps were filled slightly as players returned for brief furloughs. The Philly Americans got off to a roaring start, winning their first six games in a topsy-turvey season which saw substantial turnover in the standings. Several younger players were making their mark this season including Jackie Hynes and George Nemchik with the NY Americans and Chappie Sheppell and Red Owen of Kearny Celtic. There was a notable emphasis on speed and defensive play early in the season, with finesse waiting until the new recruits adjusted to the level of play. Baltimore S. C. was added to bring the league to ten teams.

The Philly Americans may have lost a lot of players to the armed services, but still boasted Duke Nanoski, Bob Gormley and Werner Mieth. The Baltimore Americans briefly took the lead after Philly suffered their first lost, but Philadelphia was quickly back on top and never let go, winning the season by a convincing 6 points. Baltimore fell back early in the season, as Hispano and the Wanderers made their runs. Hispano, the defending champions had to settle for fourth place, but the greatly improved Wanderers garnered second by a comfortable margin. The Philadelphia Nationals were the other big winners, jumping from 8th to 3rd. New York Americans never could get it together, finishing ahead of only the hapless expansion Baltimore S. C. Kearny Celtic won the Lewis Cup tournament.

The third ASL competition, the Duffy Cup, finally was given a trophy to award to its winner. The Duffy Cup had been organized several years ago as an emergency competition involving the New York City teams intended to fill in the gaps in the league and cup schedules. This year competition would include the New Jersey teams, but the tournament remained little publicized or cared about.

Tommy Marshall of the Brooklyn Wanderers was top goal scorer, with 21, an impressive feat for his first ASL season. This was the last season the ASL kept track of assists. Stats showed that high scorers generally got relatively few assists, the two notable exceptions being Bob Gormley with 14 and Duke Nanoski with 13. The top assist earners for 1943-44 were Chappie Sheppell (Kearny Celtic) and George Allen (Brooklyn Wanderers) with 15 each. Total assists for the league were 390, an average of 4.70 per game.

The two Baltimore clubs opened their season with a derby match that was the first ASL game ever played under the lights. Baltimore Americans star Charley Ernst became the first American-born player in the ASL to score 5 goals in a game in a December match against Baltimore S. C. ASL veterans mourned the passing of George Moorhouse, one of its premier players during the 1930s and a frequent participant with the National team, having earned a cap in every one of its games between 1930 and 1938. Efforts to revive the indoor soccer tournaments (held successfully in 1941 at Madison square Garden) came to a sudden halt with the death of H. Shapiro, the New York Lawyer who with Erno Schwarz had been the primary movers of the concept.

                         Final League Standings, 1943-44

Before the season, Baltimore S.C. was added.

                              G    W   T   L  PCT.  GF  GA  PTS
Philadelphia Americans       19   15   2   2  .843  59  24   32
Brooklyn Wanderers           17   12   1   4  .735  42  27   25
Baltimore Americans          13    7   2   4  .616  41  30   16
Brooklyn Hispano             17    8   1   8  .500  33  32   17
Philadelphia Nationals       19    9   3   7  .553  52  44   21
Kearny Celtic                17    7   2   8  .471  52  44   16
Brookhattan                  17    6   3   8  .442  43  40   15
Kearny Scots                 17    5   4   8  .412  43  50   14
New York Americans           17    1   5  11  .207  26  43    7
Baltimore S.C.               13    1   1  11  .108  18  63    3

LEAGUE CHAMPION (Schroeder Cup):  Philadelphia Americans
LEWIS CUP WINNER:  Kearny Celtic

                                   GP   G   A
Tommy Marshall, Wanderers          17  21  13
Jeannette, Brookhattan             17   8   7
Bob Gormley, Philly Americans      19  16  14
Al Sasso, Kearny Celtic            17  15   3
Glosson, Philly Nationals          19  15   7
Duke Nanoski, Philly Americans     15  14  13
Jackie Hynes, New York Americans   17  12   6
Altemose, Philly Nationals         19  11   3
Charley Ernst, Baltimore Americans  3  11   0
Millard Lang, Baltimore S. C.      13  10   2

Most Valuable Player: (Not awarded)

American Style of Play: an Analysis

An interesting analysis of American playing style was made by Kennett Tucker, a British sailor signed by the NY Americans who was reassigned to duties out of the area before he could play a game. But he had a good opportunity to observe the teams in action: “Americans are developing a style all their own. To me, it is a very effective style of game. because it embodies the good points of most of the other systems. With the Americans’ speed and stamina it fits like a glove. The forwards have not abandoned the Scottish style of short passing and holding the ball to draw the opposition but is a much harder kicked pass and therefore much faster. They do not swing the ball nearly so much as the English style demands of first line men. The wing men alone resort to any long passing.

“But the most astonishing improvement is in the fullback play. These players do the swinging – and what swinging! They open up the game and do not rely on the short passes, as the English and Scots do, as if they were a secondary forward line. The English and Scots do not go for these long kicks as the Americans do, depending on the slower accuracy of the short pass. The American half-backs seem always to have their eyes open for the uncovered man far away from the play and get it to him, usually on the wing. They hold it, too, long enough to draw the opposition to them and then make their surprise long distance kick, changing the whole complexion of the attack.

“The forwards hold the ball much longer than the English do, but not quite so much as the Scottish players and that is an improvement over both of us. When the real finesse of the traditional kind is added to this scheme of play, the American player will take his place among the best soccer players in the world.”

Amateur League and Cup Champions

New York Senior State Challenge Cup: German-Hungarians
Dr. Manning Challenge Cup (NY): (No competition)
Eastern District League (NYC): Swiss (Premier Division); West New York (A Division)
German-American League (NYC): S. C. Eintracht
Metropolitan League (NYC): Segura (Premier Division); Metropolitan Cup: Cork Celtic
National League of New York: (No competition)
New Jersey State Challenge Cup: (No competition)
Keystone League (Pittsburgh): (No competition)
West Penn Challenge Cup: (No competition)
Rowland Cup (Maryland State): Combined British Services
Stewart Amateur Cup (Maryland): No competition
St. Louis Municipal League: El Reys
National Soccer League of Chicago: Hakoah Center
Peter J. Peel Cup (Illinois State): Chicago Vikings
California Association Senior Challenge Cup: B&F; Scots of Los Angeles
John O. Belis Perpetual Trophy: American A. C. Teutonia

The US National Team

The National Team was inactive this year.

International Tours

There were no international tours this year.

The College Game

Intercollegiate soccer activity was severely curtailed due to the war.

1944 College Conference Champions:
Intercollegiate Soccer Football Association (ISFA): No Award

California Intercollegiate Soccer Conference: (No Champion)
Middle Atlantic Intercollegiate Soccer League:  Pennsylvania
Middle Atlantic States Athletic Conference: (No Champion)
New England Intercollegiate Soccer League: (No Award)

College All-American Squad, 1944:

Goal               Graebner, Penn State
Right Fullback     McDonough, Cornell
Left Fullback      Reaves, Navy
Right Halfback     Cobb, Army
Center Halfback    Walter Bahr, Temple
Left Halfback      Van Ingon, Dartmouth
Outside Right      Abbath, Yale
Inside Right       Kirk, Navy
Center Forward     Callisto, Navy
Inside Left        Townsend, Pennsylvania
Outside Left       Roberts, Dartmouth

Other Results

1944 National Challenge Cup Final: On May 14, Brooklyn Hispano defeated Morgan-Strasser of Pittsburgh 4-0.

1944 National Amateur Cup Final: On June 11, S. C. Eintracht of New York defeated Morgan Strasser of Pittsburgh 5-2.

National Junior Cup: (No competition)