The Year in American Soccer – 1955

The American Soccer League

The 23rd season was highlighted by several venue changes. The New York based clubs moved to the new Zerega Oval in the Bronx while the Brooklyn clubs moved to the new Brooklyn Soccer Field at 37th and 2nd. The Elizabeth Falcons, a venerable Polish-American social club added a soccer club to their expanding array of activities, and the Falcons made a respectable debut in the league.

The New York Americans, a venerable club dating back to the previous American Soccer League, returned to defend their league title, with their roster largely intact. The Americans had won the “double” the previous year, winning the US Open Cup over St. Louis Kutis. Their roster featured national team center-forward and future hall of famer Lloyd Monsen, 1949 MVP Kenneth Brown, and Roy Milne on defense, a veteran of Glasgow Celtic. New York Brookhattan, under the direction of legendary college coach Jimmy Mills, last year’s runner-up, boasted future hall of famer Walter Bahr, a defensive stalwart who played in the 1950 World Cup. Also on their side was Jack Calder, a frequent ASL all-star, who came from the 1st Division in Scotland, and Jesus Villalon, a Cuban outside right, who was the first Black player in the ASL when he arrived from Cuba in 1947.

Newark Portuguese had won many league and state cups since its formation in 1922. They entered the league in 1952 by taking over the franchise of the Kearny Irish. Many of their players were recently active on established local amateur clubs, but midfielder Robert Allison brought significant experience from Scotland and Montreal Carsteel. He had most recently played for the Kearny Scots, another venerable league club. Brooklyn Hispano, now entering their 36th season, the Hispano boasted longtime Kearny Couts forward Arthur Chappel, and midfielder Enrique Alvarez, over from the Ecuadorian first division. New York Hakoah looked to improve on their 5th place finish, and stocking up on talent through the transfer market. Manager Kurt Lamm acquired future hall of famer Jackie Hynes for the front line, goalkeeper Louis Scott from the German-Americans, and forward Johnny Cier, from Hispano.

As can happen so often, the previous season is not always a good predictor of performance, and there were some surprises this season. League champion New York Americans collapsed, falling to 8th place, while the Uhrik Truckers took off like a rocket, snagging the regular season championship, on the strength of a strong performance by a group of relative unknowns, many of whom were products of the legendary Lighthouse Boys Club. Brooklyn Hispano had their final turn at glory, nearly taking the title, but gladly accepting 2nd place. New York Hakoah took third, five points ahead of Brookhattan. The Uhrik Truckers juggernaut didn’t end with the season, they cruised through the round robin of the Lewis Cup, and defeated Brookhattan on goal aggregate after a 2-2 draw and 3-1 victory.

In another interesting development, the longstanding dispute between the American Soccer League and the German-American Soccer League came to a head in October 1955 when the German-American League resigned as a member of the New York State Soccer Association, and were in turn suspended by the USSFA, rendering them an outlaw league. This controversy had started nearly a year before at the annual meeting of the NYSSFA. The GAL had paid their team’s membership dues to the NYSSFA as a lump sum, while the other organizations, the National League, the Metropolitan League, the Eastern District League and the Long Island League left it (as per NYSSFA rules) to the individual clubs to pay their dues. This resulted in the GAL having a disproportionate representation at the annual meeting since team dues from the other leagues were still coming in. In fact, the GAL had a voting majority and elected their loyalists to the leadership. The other leagues protested to the USSFA, which upheld their plea. The USSFA appointed a three person panel (James MacGuire, Joe Barriskill, and August Steurer) to administer the affairs of the NYSSFA. The GAL threw up continual obstacles, refusing to turn over books, etc., and the commission quit in disgust. At this, the national body appointed Tom Sager, the former USSFA president, as commissioner of a new organization, now called the New York State Commission. The GAL officers continued to bicker on petty issues, and finally announced they would leave the NYYSFA.

At this point, the USSFA suspended the GAL, making them an outlaw league. Anyone playing in the GAL would be suspended worldwide from organized soccer competition. The USSFA declared all their players free agents and urged them to join leagues that were in good standing with the USSFA. The ASL had its own beef with the GAL. Since the GAL fielded teams in New Jersey and Connecticut the ASL claimed they were infringing on their territory, and had protested this infringement at the USSFA annual convention in July. This protest was upheld and the GAL was ordered not to conduct interstate matches. The GAL had been attempting to expand their influence, enticing several prominent clubs to join from other leagues, and merging with the Westchester League. Before long, many GAL players were leaving for other leagues, including the ASL. The NYSSFA, now not recognized by the USSFA, and under control of the GAL officers, filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the USSFA’s actions. This lawsuit went to the New York Supreme Court, where judge Henry Clay Greenberg dismissed the petition. The GAL went on to play as an “independent” league in 1956, but apparently the dispute ended as quickly as it begun, because by 1957, they were lack in the fold as though none of this had ever happened.

                         Final League Standings, 1954-55

Before the season, Elizabeth was added.

                           G    W   T   L   GF  GA  PTS
Uhrik Truckers               16   12   2   2   26  56   26
Brooklyn Hispano             16   12   1   3   25  48   25
New York Hakoah              15    8   5   2   39  20   21
New York Brookhattan         15    7   2   6   47  44   16
Elizabeth Falcons            15    5   3   8   25  29   13
Newark Portuguese            16    4   4   8   35  38   12
Trenton Americans            15    4   4   7   23  47   12
New York Americans           16    2   4  10   32  46    8
Baltimore Rockets            14    2   3   9   28  40    7

CHAMPION:  Uhrik Truckers

After the season, Trenton withdrew.

LEADING SCORERS (Regular Season) 

Jack Ferris (Uhrik Truckers)    20
Stanley Vickers (Brooklyn Hispano)     19
George Athineos (New York Hakoah)      16

Most valuable Player:  Jack Ferris, Uhrik Truckers

                         LEWIS CUP

Uhrik Truckers                3    3   0   0             6
Brookhattan                   3    2   1   0             4
Elizabeth Falcons             3    2   1   0             4
Newark Portuguese             3    1   1   1             3
New York Americans            3    1   1   1             3
Brooklyn Hakoah               3    1   2   0             2
Brooklyn Hispano              3    0   2   1             1
Trenton Americans             3    0   2   1             1

CHAMPIONSHIP:  Uhrik Truckers defeated New York Brookhattan 2-2, 3-1.

National Soccer League (Chicago)

Schwaben took the title again this year, but the Eagles were victors in the Peel Cup, defeating Nexaca 6-3 in an exciting game that was witnessed by less than 200 spectators, with many driven away by a driving rainstorm. The Norwegian-Americans, celebrating their 70th anniversary, held distinction as being the oldest soccer club in the country (as of 1955). The indoor season was an exciting one, with five teams finishing within 1 point of each other going into the final round of games. Slovaks beat Hansa 4-0 to win the title based on goals scored. Eagles tied with them in standings, followed a game behind by Vikings, Schwaben and Lions.

          Final League Standings, Major Division, 1955

                GP   W   T   L   Pts
Schwaben        14   9   4   1   22
Eagles          14   9   1   4   19
Lions           14   8   1   5   17
Slovaks         14   7   1   6   15
Falcons         14   6   2   6   14
Sparta          14   6   1   7   13
Vikings         14   6   0   8   12
Rangers         14   0   0  14    0

PEEL CUP WINNER:  Chicago Vikings

German-American Soccer League (New York)

The GASL had an unusually exciting season this year with hard fought championships right down to the wire in both the Big Ten and Premier divisions. The torrid races resulted in markedly increased attendance. Eintracht and German-Hungarian were the heavy favorites going into the season, and played tug-of-war with the league lead for much of the season before German-Hungarian finally took the title by a mere 2 points. Slow-starting Elizabeth found their form and made a decent run, before settling for third place.

Elizabeth won the Big Ten title for the third straight year, going on to win the National Amateur Cup, and making it to the finals of the New Jersey state cup, for a triple. Strong performances were also given by New York S.C., who though they failed to advance beyond the eastern regionals of the US Open Cup, did win the New York State Cup for the third straight season. The German-Hungarian reserves also had a spectacular season, winning the Reserve Division crown and the Dr. Manning Cup trophy.

       Final League Standings, Major Division, 1955

                   GP   W   L   T  PTS
German-Hungarian   22  18   2   2   38
Eintracht          22  17   3   2   36
Elizabeth          22  12   7   3   27
New York Hungarian 22  12   7   3   27
Swiss              22  11   6   5   27
Lithuanian         22   9   9   4   22
New York           22   7  10   5   19
Minerva            22   5  12   5   15
Hoboken            22   5  15   2   12
Blue Star          22   1  17   4    6

Major Division:  German-Hungarians
Premier Division:  Brooklyn
Major Reserves:  German-Hungarian
Premier Reserves:  Schwaben
Westchester Division:  New Rochelle

St. Louis Leagues

Many teams were dissatisfied with the chaotic management at the St. Louis Municipal League, and bolted to form a new organization, the Khoury League, which sought to provide a venue for premier soccer, which had been missing since the demise of the St. Louis Major League in 1953. Thirty nine teams joined the new association, including such US Open Cup regulars as Simpkins and Carondelet. The League was headed by George Khoury, who also ran a major local Baseball league which boasted over 1,000 teams in the region. The class of the Khoury League was St. Louis Simpkins, who won the league title and made a good run in the US Open Cup before falling badly in the Western finals. Frank Borghi was league MVP. Another major St. Louis Club, Kutis, played as an independent this season, winning 8 games against teams in Chicago and Milwaukee. This year, a new circuit, the County League, with 5 teams, made its debut with R.K. & A. Jones winning the first league title.

      Final Standings, Khoury League, 1955

              GP   W   L   T   Pt
Simpkins      13  13   0   0   26
Carondalet    14  11   3   0   22
Pastures      13   9   2   2   20
Meramecs      15   7   5   3   16
P.N.A.        14   4   8   2   10
Brehenys      14   2   8   4    8
Diamonds      14   1  11   2    4
Walnut Park   14   2  12   0    4

Catholic Youth Council Champion:  St. Ambrose; Bishop Cody League: St. Philip Neri;
Bishop Helming League: St. Ambrose 

Municipal League Champion: Tabaccis

Other Amateur Leagues and Cups

Baltimore Unlimited League: Pompei SC
Boston & District League: Boston Celtics (also won the Massachusetts State Cup)
Buffalo & District League: Simon Pure (Inter-City League); Polanie SC (Buffalo League)
California State Cup: American Teutonia
Connecticut State Cup: Agnivo SC
Detroit League: Detroit Bavarian
Eastern District League (New York): Nuova Italia (League); Sons of Malta (Cup)
Greater Los Angeles League: Magyars
Louisiana State Association Cup: LSU Tigers
Maryland State Cup: Community Jewelers
Metropolitan (NY) Good Will Cup: United Kingdom
Minnesota League: Kiev
National Soccer League of New York: Ukrainian (League). Challenge Cup final stopped with Paterson Dovers leading Brooklyn Italians 1-0 due to spectator interference.
Long Island League (NY): Sea Cliff; Jose Cup: Sea Cliff
National Soccer League of Connecticut: Italian-American SC
New Jersey State Cup: Elizabeth
New Jersey League: Maritimo (“A” Division)
New York State Manning Cup: Sons of Malta
Penn-Del-Mar Cup: Elkton SC
Philadelphia League: The Little Club
Philadelphia Soccer League: Little Club of Philadelphia (Hawkins Cup – League champions)
Rowland Cup (Baltimore): Community Jewelers
Western Penn Cup: Heldelberg Tornadoes SC
Keystone League: Heidelberg Toenadoes SC

The US National Team

The National Team only played one game this year, a friendly against Iceland, which they lost 2-3. Bill Looby scored both goals for the US. The team also played three non-full-internationals in Iceland.

                   1955 National team results

    1955 Totals:  0W,  0D,  1L
Aug 25 55  L 2-3  Iceland                    Reykjavik, Iceland
               Looby (2)

U. S. Open Cup

New York Eintracht, a German-American League team, beat the big boys for the cup, taking the final from Los Angeles Danes, 2-0. Substitute John Pinezich scored both goals in the final on April 24 at Rancho La Cienega Stadium in Los Angeles.

Eintracht had beaten another GASL team, New York Swiss, 2-1, in the quarterfinals, and then reached the final by winning the eastern semifinal from Uhrik Truckers of Philadelphia, taking the first leg by 4-2 before losing the second, 1-0. Los Angeles Danes beat San Francisco CD Mexico, 1-0 and 2-1, in a two-leg quarterfinal, and then St. Louis Simpkins, 5-2, in the western semifinal. In the other quarterfinals, Uhrik Truckers defeated Pittsburgh Beadling, 2-0, and Simpkins eliminated Milwaukee Sport Club, 6-1 and 6-2.

International Tours

Huddersfield F. C. (England): May 15, 1955 through June 5, 1955. Record: 9 wins, 3 draws, 1 loss.

Roster: John Battye, Gerald Burrell, Tommy Cavanagh, John Connor, Brian Frear, Brian Gibson, Jimmy Glazzard, Laurie Kelly, Bill McGarry, Vic Medcalf, Bob Parker, Len Quested, Ronnie Simpson, Ron Stanisforth, Ken Taylor, Jimmy Watson, Jack Wheeler, John T. Ballie. Manager: Andy Beattie

5/15    Huddersfield 2, Sunderland 3 (at Randalls Island, NYC)
5/18    Huddersfield 7, Hamilton All-Stars 1 (at Hamilton, ON)
5/21    Huddersfield 3, Ontario All-Stars 1 (at Toronto, ON)
5/25    Huddersfield 4, Vancouver All-Stars 2 (at Vancouver, BC)
5/28    Huddersfield 4, Vancouver All-Stars 1 (at Vancouver, BC)
5/29    Huddersfield 4, Alberta All-Stars 3 (at Calgary, AB)
5/31    Huddersfield 3, Sunderland 3 (at Winnipeg, MB)
6/4     Huddersfield 3, Sunderland 3 (at Toronto, ON)
6/5     Huddersfield 2, Sunderland 2 (at Detroit, MI)

Nuernberg F. C. (West Germany): May 1, 1955 through May 17, 1955. Record: 5 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss.

Roster: Guenther Baumann, Gerhard Bergner, Guenther Foessel, Guenther Glomb, Helmuth Herbolsheimer, Frederick Kapp, Konrad Kraft, Max Morlock, Edward Schaffer, Gustrav Schober, Kurt Ucko, Walter Zeitler. President: Dr. Ludwig Franz.

5/1    Nuernberg 7, German-American League Stars 1 (at Randall's Island, NYC)
5/4    Nuernberg 11, Connecticut Stars 1 (at Hartford, CT)
5/5    Nuernberg 2, Kutis S. C. 3 (at St. Louis, MO)
5/8    Nuernberg 5, National League Stars 3 (at Chicago)
5/11   Nuernberg 9, German-American League of New Jersey 1 (at Kearny, NJ)
5/15   Nuernberg 8, Philadelphia All-Stars 5 (at Philadelphia)
5/17   Nuernberg 1, Sunderland 1 (at Brooklyn, NY)

Note:  Max Morlock was World Champion in 1954.

Occidente S. C. of Guadalajara (Mexico): June 26 1955 through July 3 1955. Record: 2 wins, 1 draw, 0 losses.

6/26     Occidente 3, National League Stars 1 (at Chicago)
7/1      Occidente 5, Detroit 0 (at Detroit)
7/3      Occidente 2, Castle Shannon S. C. 2 (at Pittsburgh)

Sunderland F. C. (England): May 8 1955 through June 5 1955. Record: 5 wins, 4 draws, 0 losses.

Roster: George Aitken, Stan Anderson, Billy Bingham, John Bone, Ken Chisholm, Ray Daniel, Billy Elliott, Charles Flemling, William Fraser, Jack Hedley, Arthur Hudgell, Joe McDonald, William Morrison, Ted Purdon, Len Shackleton, Norman Wood. Manager: Bill Murray.

5/8    Sunderland 7, American League Stars 2 (at Ebbets Field, Brooklyn)
5/15   Sunderland 3, Huddersfield 2 (at Randalls Island, NYC)
5/17   Sunderland 1, Nuermberg 1 (at Ebbets Field, Brooklyn)
5/22   Sunderland 3, Uhrik Truckers 1 (at Philadelphia)
5/25   Sunderland 4, New York Stars 1 (at Bronx, NYC)
5/29   Sunderland 4, Montreal Stars 2 (at Montreal, PQ, Canada)
5/31   Sunderland 3, Huddersfield 3 (at Winnipeg, MN)
6/4    Sunderland 3, Huddersfield 3 (at Toronto)
6/5    Sunderland 2, Huddersfield 2 (at Detroit, MI)

Grasshoppers (Switzerland): January 9 1955 through January 16 1955. Record: 2 wins, 0 draws, 0 losses.

1/9    Grasshoppers 11, All-Stars 1 (at Los Angeles, CA)
1/16   Grasshoppers 11, All-Stars 2 (at San Francisco)

Sochaux (France): June 5 1955 through June 8 1955. Record: 2 wins, 0 draws, 0 losses.

6/5    Sochaux 4, German-American League Stars 1 (at New York City)
6/8    Sochaux 6, Catholic Youth Council 1 (at St. Louis, MO)

Wacker (Austria): Wacker defeated the New York All-Stars 4-1 on February 20 1955 at New York City.

Philadelphia Germantown Cricket Club to Bermuda: January 9, 1955 through January 16, 1955. Record: 0 wins, 1 draw, 2 losses.

1/9    Germantown Cricket 1, Bermuda F. L. 3 (at Prospect Gar. F.)
1/12   Germantown Cricket 1, Bermuda F. Comb 2 (at Prospect Gar. F.)
1/16   Germantown Cricket 2, Bermuda All-Stars 2 (at {Prospect Gar. F.)

Philadelphia Uhrik Truckers to Bermuda. April 12 1955 through April 15 1955. Record: 0 wins, 1 draw, 2 losses.

4/12   Uhrik Truckers 2, Bermuda F. C. 5 (at B.A.A. Ground)
4/14   Uhrik Truckers 2, Bermuda F. L. 2 (at B.A.A. Ground)
4/15   Uhrik Truckers 2, Bermuda All-Stars 3 (at B.A.A. Ground)

Yale to Bermuda: December 27, 1955 through January 2, 1955. Results: 2 wins, 0 draws, 2 losses.

Roster:O. Adebonojo, Samuel D. Allen Jr., Edward L. Barlow, Peter B. Bartlett, C. Perry Bascom, Michael C. Cooke, Richard B. Curran, Bruce P. Dennen, J. Robert Dennen Jr., Henry M. Gridley, James G. King Jr., Lars I. Kulleseid, Hiran P. Maxim, Scott Murphy, Paul C. Ogden, Alexander S. Taylor, Frederick H. Williams, Coach: Jack Marshall. Manager: Arthur Chai-Onn.

12/27/55  Yale 4, Sandys Boat Club 2
12/29/55  Yale 3, Key West Rangers 5
1/1/56    Yale 4, Wellington Rovers 0
1/2/56    Yale 0, Bermuda Athletic Association 3

Olaria (Brazil): No details available

The College Game

Naming a college champion was an easy task this year: Only Brockport and Penn State finished with undefeated records. They were quickly named co-champions. With 171 colleges now playing soccer at the varsity level, another attempt to create a national playoff was made. A quickly organized tournament was thrown together to determine an Eastern champion. This was won by West Chester. Penn State was led by Dick Packer and Brockport in turn was led by Walter Schmidt, assisted by Bill Hughes and Peter Hinchey. However, none of the major western colleges could arrange a trip to play them and determine a true national champion. Although this effort fell apart, it provided inspiration for the decision of the NCAA to develop a true national championship a few years down the road.

National co-champions (as selected by the Intercollegiate Soccer Football Association): Brockport & Penn State.

1955 College Conference Champions:

Northern California Soccer Conference: San Francisco
New England Intercollegiate Soccer League: Harvard
Ivy League:  Penn, Harvard
Metropolitan Intercollegiate Soccer Conference: City College of New York
Atlantic Coast Conference:  Maryland
Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate League:  Colorado Mines
Midwestern Conference:  Indiana
Mason-Dixon Conference: Western Maryland
Southern California Soccer Association:  Cal Polytechnic
Middle Atlantic States Athletic Conference: Drexel Tech

College All-American Squad, 1955:

Goal               James Devins, Bridgeport
Right Fullback     Carlos Osslo, California
Left Fullback      Robert Simpson, Temple
Right Halfback     Dale Conty, Oberlin
Center Halfback    Sergio Ray, West Chester
Left Halfback      John Hicks, Indiana
Outside Right      Richard Malinowski, Baltimore
Inside Right       Oleh Karawan, Illinois-Chicago
Center Forward     Richard Packer, Penn State
Inside Left        David Arrnold, Wheaton
Outside Left       E. C. Kirk Hall, Amherst

Other Results

1955 National Amateur Cup Final: Pittsburgh Heidelberg Tornados defeated Chicago Eagles 2-2 and 5-0 on May 22 and 29 respectively. The Junior Cup final was won by Philadelphia’s Lighthouse B.C., who defeated Windsor AC of St. Louis

Canadian National Champion: New Westminster Royals defeated Montreal Ukrainia.

Pan-American Games: The US did not participate in this year’s tournament. Argentina won gold with a 5-1-0 (W-T-L) record in the round robin. Mexico took silver with a 1-3-2 record, and Dutch Antilles took bronze with a 2-0-4 record.

Hall of Fame: In 1955, Thomas Dugan and Edgar Pomeroy were inducted.

NSCAA Honor Award: John A. Wood, Oak Park High School.