Our series looking at what was happening in Philadelphia soccer one hundred years ago continues.
While Philadelphia area soccer fans looked forward to a big slate of Thanksgiving Day weekend games that included league games, Philadelphia Cup games, American Cup games, and intercity friendlies, a new local league was announced, a big local league was planned, the young United States of America Football Association, known today as the US Soccer Federation, went about the work of establishing its authority, Philadelphia Cup play began, and league play continued
USAFA continues work of asserting its authority as supreme US soccer body
After the weeks long saga of Wissinoming’s challenge of their American Cup result on the grounds that Bethlehem had fielded an ineligible player had finally been decided in Bethlehem’s favor, United States of America Football Association secretary Thomas Cahill saw the need to send member clubs and leagues a letter clearly outline the eligibility rules for both amateur and professional players. On Nov. 18, 1913, the Philadelphia Inquirer reprinted the letter, aimed as it was at “uniform and harmonious understanding.”
While the letter was intended to foster harmony, it was also part of the wider effort to establish the months-old organization’s authority as the premier governing body in the United States. This authority was further buttressed with the news reported by the Inquirer on Nov. 19 that the Amateur Athletic Union, precursor to today’s US Olympic Committee, had reached an agreement with the USAFA to field a US soccer team at the 1916 Olympics in Berlin. As the Inquirer reported, in addition to the recognition received from FIFA in August, “This alliance gives the USAFA national and international recognition.”
“Monster” amateur league planned
On Nov. 18, 1913, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that further talks were scheduled for organizing a “monster organization” of amateur soccer clubs to be called the Amateur Football Association of Pennsylvania involving the city’s existing American, United, Northeast Junior, and Philadelphia Junior leagues. Given the existing membership of the leagues involved in the talks, the Inquirer reported that the new association would include 37 clubs, “which will give the new organization the strongest association in the country.” The Inquirer reported that the the association would affiliate with the Football Association of Eastern Pennsylvania and District, which itself was affiliated with the USAFA.
Delco soccer league announced
On Nov. 17, 1913, the Inquirer reported the formation of the Delaware County Soccer League of Chester, Pa. The Inquirer report said the new league would feature “a strong circuit of eight clubs” with “strong financial backing.” The Inquirer noted, “Although the majority of the players have not played the game for some time the clubs in the circuit have already secured some stars and the class of soccer will be on par with any of the amateur leagues in this city in the near future when the players have gotten more accustomed to each others style of playing.”
Philadelphia Cup play begins
The first game of the 1913-14 Philadelphia Cup tournament was played on Nov. 15, 1913 at Washington Park, located at 26th and Allegheny and in a shocking result, West Philadelphia was eliminated by Reading with a 2-1 victory. The Inquirer reported that “West Philadelphia played Reading off their feet in the opening half” but finished the period with only one goal to their credit. In the second half, “the Pretzels came along with a flying sail.. their combination greatly improving.” After Reading equalized and then took a 2-1 lead, West Philadelphia tried to inject some energy in the game by having their goalkeeper and left back change positions. While the West Philadelphia attack did improve, the accuracy of their forwards did not and Reading advanced to the next round with the 2-1 victory.
Two games in the city’s professional Pennsylvania League took place on Nov. 15, 1913. Victor dispatched winless Wissinoming 2-0 at the soon to be closed Hibernia Park. The big match of the day took place at Tacony Ball Park between home team Tacony and their perennial rival Hibernian, who had yet to suffer a defeat in the young season. On this day, Tacony proved to be the better team and were the 2-0 winners. The Inquirer reported on Nov. 16, “That the home team thoroughly deserved to win on the day’s play is beyond a question of doubt, as all through the game it was the better side.”
With Allied League first division sides West Philadelphia and Reading in cup play, only one first division game took place on Nov. 15 with Falls of Schuylkill traveling to Bethlehem. Some one thousand spectators were on hand to see the home team prevail as 4-2 winners, with Bethlehem center forward Lance scoring a hat trick.
In second division play, the biggest win of the day was Putnam’s 7-0 walloping of Hope Lodge. Marcus Hook topped Windsor 2-1 while Chester’s Linwood Hibernians defeated Manchester Unity 3-1. Fairhill and Wanderer’s played to a 1-1 draw. Three games took place in the Allied third division, with Darby topping Falls Reserves 5-2.
In the American League, three games took place after Victoria Plush Company forfeited to Philadelphia Electrics. Each of the games ended with a 4-1 scoreline with Victor Athletics defeating Rangers, Boys’ Club besting Whitehall Rovers, and Cardington prevailing over Frankford Boys Club.
The United League continued to be the place of lopsided scorelines, the winners outscoring the losers 22 goals to six on this match day. Among the results, Kensington Boys’ Club Reserves defeated Logan with a wild 7-5 victory at Front and Erie. Despite playing at their home grounds at Port Royal and Ridge Avenue, Roxborough United could only muster nine players to face Cardington Reserves and went down, 5-0. Olney could only manage nine players for their road game against Bristol and lost 8-0. Even draws could have big scorelines in the United League. Playing at 4200 Wissahickon Avenue , now the location of the Salvation Army Kroc Center of Philadelphia, American Pulley Company and Christ Church finished level at 6-6.
In the lone first division Cricket Club League match of the day, Merchantville crushed Merion 7-0.