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What If?: the American Soccer League


The Imperfect

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The original American Soccer League (ASL), operating between 1921 and 1933, was the first significant, viable, professional soccer league in the United States. The league operated primarily in the northeastern United States, mainly in the Tri-State Area and Pennsylvania. The ASL was created by the merger of several teams from the National Association Football League (NAFBL) and Southern New England Soccer League (SNESL) in 1921. The move came from a growing disenchantment with the mismanagement of the NAFBL as well as the desire by the United States Football Association (USFA) to create a unified first division league. The move came from a growing disenchantment with the mismanagement of the NAFBL as well as the desire by the USFA to create a unified first division league. On May 7, 1921, W. Luther Lewis was selected as the league's first president and he established the league headquarters at 126 Nassau Street, New York. The league received approval from the USFA its May 27, 1921 meeting and began its inaugural season in September.

1921-22 League Table

38 PTS (17-4-3) Philadelphia F.C. (Philadelphia, PA)

33 PTS (14-5-5) New York F.C. (New York, NY)

29 PTS (12-5-7) Todd Shipyards F.C. (Brooklyn, NY)

23 PTS (8-7-8) Harrison Soccer Club (Harrison, NJ)

23 PTS (9-5-9) J&P Coats (Pawtucket, RI)

11 PTS (5-1-18) Fall River United (North Tiverton, RI)

07 PTS (2-3-17) Holyoke Falcos (Holyoke, MA)

00 PTS (0-0-5) Jersey City Celtics (Jersey City, NJ)

The league's first year consisted of eight teams, but would end with five. The first five games into the 24-game season, the Jersey City Celtics disbanded when it's ownership withdrew folded the club after the team had lost every game they placed. Anticipating nothing but financial loss, the team was forced to drop out of the league. This resulted in a discrepancy in the standings, as the Holyoke Falcos were forced to play only 22 games while J&P Coats played 23. However while those teams finished near the bottom of the table, the two best teams came of New York and Philadelphia, while Philadelphia F.C. was named the first ever ASL League champions. The other two teams not to find themselves as a member of the ASL next season would be the third place Todd Shipyards F.C., who disbanded and the Holyoke Falcos, who withdrew from league competition.

1922-23 League Table

44 PTS (21-2-5) J&P Coats (Pawtucket, RI)

42 PTS (18-6-4) Bethlehem Steel F.C. (Bethlehem, PA)

35 PTS (15-5-8) Fall River Marksmen (North Tiverton, RI)

24 PTS (10-4-9) New York F.C. (New York, NY)

22 PTS (9-4-7) Paterson Silk Sox (Paterson, NJ)

15 PTS (5-5-15) Brooklyn Wanderers (Brooklyn, NY)

10 PTS (4-2-17) Harrison Soccer Club (Harrison, NJ)

08 PTS (3-2-20) Philadelphia F.C. (Philadelphia, PA)

Things got tricky next season, as the Bethlehem Steel F.C. was reestablished after having formed the 1921 champion Philadelphia Field Club. Lacking financial and fan support in Philadelphia, the ownership agreed to return to Bethlehem, PA, where they would finish second in the year's final table. Fall River United would grab the third place spot after having been saved by wealthy owner Sam Mark, who bought the financially struggling team and renamed them the Fall River Marksmen. As the new charismatic owner, Mr. Mark was able to snatch center forward Harold Brittan from Bethlehem, allowing him to work as the team's top goal scorer as well as a player-coach. Two other teams would join the league, in the Paterson Silk Sox and Brooklyn Wanderers, while a new incarnation of the Philadelphia Field Club joined the league, and would finish last with a weak roster and an even worse record. In total the league played a 28 game schedule with a 2 point victory, 1 point draw, 0 point loss system.

1923-24 League Table

44 PTS (19-6-2) Fall River Marksmen (North Tiverton, RI)

38 PTS (17-4-6) Bethlehem Steel F.C. (Bethlehem, PA)

37 PTS (15-7-4) New York F.C. (New York, NY)

25 PTS (10-4-9) J&P Coats (Pawtucket, RI)

23 PTS (9-5-13) Brooklyn Wanderers (Brooklyn, NY)

18 PTS (6-6-13) New York Giants (New York, NY)

12 PTS (5-2-18) Philadelphia F.C. (Philadelphia, PA)

07 PTS (3-1-19) Newark Skeeters (Newark, NJ)

Not surprisingly, the shift in teams continued, as Paterson and Harrison withdrew from competition, while the New York Giants field club and Newark Skeeters were added to the play. While those two teams would finish near the bottom of the barrel, alongside Philadelphia, Fall River would take the championship for their first time while facing tough competition from Bethlehem and the original New York field club.

1924-25 League Table

66 PTS (27-12-5) Fall River Marksmen (North Tiverton, RI)

63 PTS (29-5-10) Bethlehem Steel F.C. (Bethlehem, PA)

52 PTS (22-8-14) Brooklyn Wanderers (Brooklyn, NY)

51 PTS (22-7-12) Boston Wonder Workers (Boston, MA)

49 PTS (21-7-13) New Bedford Whalers (New Bedford, MA)

47 PTS (18-11-13) Providence Clamdiggers (Providence, RI)

43 PTS (19-5-18) J&P Coats (Pawtucket, RI)

38 PTS (16-6-21) New York Giants (New York, NY)

38 PTS (16-6-21) Indiana Flooring (New York, NY)

28 PTS (11-6-22) Fleisher Yarn (Philadelphia, PA)

19 PTS (8-3-28) Newark Skeeters (Newark, NJ)

08 PTS (2-6-34) Philadelphia F.C. (Philadelphia, PA)

The 1924-25 season from the ASL was a monumental one for its significant increase in teams participating as well as the length of the season, which was drawn out from the previous 28 game schedule to a new 44 game schedule. While the league lost the participation of the New York Field Club, five new teams were added into the mix. The strongest one to join the fray would be the Boston Soccer Club, who were known as the Boston Wonder Workers throughout the press. A reincarnation of the New Bedford Whalers would be formed by former members of the old Fall River Rovers, an older Fall River club which eventually merged into the Fall River United/Marksmen franchise. They, as well as the new Providence Clamdiggers would fair decently during the season, while the league's former champions, J&P Coats, fell to 6 places in the standings down to seventh in the middle of 12 teams. The New York Giants and newly joined Indiana Flooring (which was NOT based out of Indiana), would finish with 38 points, while the new Fleisher Yarn soccer team fared with 28 points. Once again, Philadelphia had less than 10 points on a 44 game season.

By 1924, the combination of excellent pay and a high level of play drew talented overseas players, especially from Scotland and England. This led to a significant amount of resentment in Europe and threats of sanctions from FIFA, including the possible expulsion of the USFA. The ASL then ran afoul of the USFA when team owners complained that USFA's requirement that ASL teams play in the National Challenge Cup created an unnecessary financial burden. At the time the Challenge Cup ran during the ASL season forcing the ASL teams to travel long distances by train or bus to play cup games, then return to the Northeast to play league games. Both leagues made a conscience effort to mend the situation, because both understand they needed one another to exist to a legitimate extent. The ASL agreed to alter their schedule to fit in the National Challenge Cup and make it less wielding on the teams in order to participate, while the USFA agreed to lower their take in from gate receipts from a percentage of 33% to 15%.

1925-26 League Table

72 PTS (30-12-2) Fall River Marksmen (North Tiverton, RI)

61 PTS (28-5-11) New Bedford Whalers (New Bedford, MA)

53 PTS (23-7-13) Boston Wonder Workers (Boston, MA)

52 PTS (23-6-12) Bethlehem Steel F.C. (Bethlehem, PA)

47 PTS (21-5-13) Providence Clamdiggers (Providence, RI)

42 PTS (18-6-18) Indiana Flooring (New York, NY)

39 PTS (16-7-17) Brooklyn Wanderers (Brooklyn, NY)

37 PTS (15-7-17) J&P Coats (Pawtucket, RI)

32 PTS (13-6-18) New York Giants (New York, NY)

25 PTS (11-3-30) Shawsheen Indians (Shawsheen, MA)

19 PTS (8-3-33) Philadelphia F.C. (Philadelphia, PA)

15 PTS (5-6-27) Newark Skeeters (Newark, NJ)

Things would continue as they were for some time entering the 1925-26 season. Fall River would grab their three consecutive championship, the third of their eventual seven championship seasons within the ASL's first ten years. With a dominating 72 point performance, not even the second place New Bedford Whalers were close to contending for the league's regular season top spot. And things were fairly steady as far as team's go, as the Fleisher Yarn were replaced by the Shawsheen Indians before the season began, and the Indians would be able to last the entire season, although they would not return for the next.

1926-27 League Table

66 PTS (29-8-7) Bethlehem Steel F.C. (Bethlehem, PA)

57 PTS (25-7-12) Boston Wonder Workers (Boston, MA)

56 PTS (24-8-12) Fall River Marksmen (North Tiverton, RI)

54 PTS (24-6-14) New Bedford Whalers (New Bedford, MA)

49 PTS (21-7-16) New York Giants (New York, NY)

47 PTS (19-9-15) Indiana Flooring (New York, NY)

42 PTS (18-6-20) Brooklyn Wanderers (Brooklyn, NY)

40 PTS (15-10-18) Providence Clamdiggers (Providence, RI)

36 PTS (11-14-19) J&P Coats (Pawtucket, RI)

32 PTS (13-6-25) Newark Skeeters (Newark, NJ)

26 PTS (11-4-29) Philadelphia F.C. (Philadelphia, PA)

21 PTS (7-7-13) Springfield Babes (Springfield, IL)

1926-27 saw Fall River's rival club, Bethlehem Steel F.C., secure their second league championship, their first under the Bethlehem name as the franchise considers winning the first ever title as Philadelphia F.C. as the franchise's first title season. While there has always been some debate as to whether or not the original championship Philadelphia F.C. team should be considered as a historical point in the Bethlehem franchise, the only real supporters left of this argument are hardcore Fall River and anti-Bethlehem fans who'd love nothing more than to witness the misery of that 1921-22 season not counting towards a championship; however, all such debate was brought about during the reformation of the league in the late 40's, when Bethlehem began their true domination and garnered as many enemies as they did fans. There is no real factual evidence to support renouncing Bethlehem of the ASL's first title in 1921-22.

As for the rest of the league, the newest addition, which would end up forfeiting their final 17 games after withdrawing of the league, the Springfield Babes, would finish, of course, in dead last; while second to last would be the Philadelphia F.C., whom could never match the superiority of that original Philly F.C. team in 1921-22, and would end up folding following the end of the season and no significant seasons during their short tenure in the ASL. Also saying goodbye would be the New York Giants organization, which would disband into history, although their name would not. A top the standings, saw the Boston Soccer Club, who were becoming a force to be reckoned with in the late 1920's. In other league news, at the Sixteenth Annual Congress of FIFA on June 4, 1927, the USFA and the other national associations came to an agreement regarding player transfers which defused the situation, and allowed ASL to remain the top tier American football league within the worldwide FIFA organization.

1927-28 League Table

75 PTS (30-14-9) New Bedford Whalers (New Bedford, MA)

70 PTS (27-13-11) Boston Wonder Workers (Boston, MA)

69 PTS (29-11-17) Fall River Marksmen (North Tiverton, RI)

67 PTS (28-11-13) Bethlehem Steel F.C. (Bethlehem, PA)

57 PTS (24-9-23) New York Giants (New York, NY)

56 PTS (22-12-20) Brooklyn Wanderers (Brooklyn, NY)

53 PTS (20-13-23) Providence Clamdiggers (Providence, RI)

45 PTS (17-11-26) New York Nationals (New York, NY)

28 PTS (9-10-23) J&P Coats (Pawtucket, RI)

22 PTS (9-4-34) Newark Skeeters (Newark, NJ)

10 PTS (4-2-5) Hartford Americans (Hartford, CT)

05 PTS (2-1-7) Philadelphia Celtic (Philadelphia, PA)

The next season got a little rocky thanks to the two newest teams, the Philadelphia Celtic and Hartford Americans. The new Philadelphia squad was only memorable for their exit from the league, having been suspended ten games into the league for conduct not permissible by ASL and USAF, thereby, FIFA's standards. When the team refused to change the way they played the game, the league was forced to kick them out. This left is a large descrepency so early in the season, which in turn resulted in the league's front office asking (aka; forcing) the new Hartford franchise to resign days after the release of the Celtic franchise. This left the ten more stable franchises to finish of an otherwise exciting season, which featured the championship trophy rewarded for the first, and only time to the New Bedford Whalers organization, while Boston, Fall River, and Bethlehem continued to scrap it out for the respective second, third, and fourth places. The New York Nationals were the third new team added that season, but they would do nothing of real excitement, except surviving their first and future seasons as a club. It is also necessary to note that the former Indiana Flooring franchise was purchased after the end of last season by the franchise owner of the famous New York Giants baseball team, Charles Stoneham. He would proceed to re-brand everything tailored towards his baseball franchise, renaming the team as the New York Giants F.C., now with much more legitimacy than former NY Giants franchises before it.

1928-29 League Table

68 PTS (30-8-6) Fall River Marksmen (North Tiverton, RI)

64 PTS (28-8-8) Bethlehem Steel F.C. (Bethlehem, PA)

63 PTS (28-7-9) New Bedford Whalers (New Bedford, MA)

60 PTS (27-6-11) Brooklyn Wanderers (Brooklyn, NY)

59 PTS (23-13-8) Boston Wonder Workers (Boston, MA)

53 PTS (21-12-11) New York Nationals (New York, NY)

44 PTS (20-4-20) Providence Gold Bugs (Providence, RI)

34 PTS (11-12-21) Pawtucket Rangers (Pawtucket, RI)

31 PTS (15-2-27) New York Giants (New York, NY)

18 PTS (6-6-32) Newark Skeeters (Newark, NJ)

With 10 seemingly stable teams, the next year was another solid one for the front office, as Fall River would go on to win another championship with their rivals finishing in a close second. New Bedford, Brooklyn, and Boston would all fair decent, while the Nationals and Providence finished with average record. The J&P Coats would rename themselves to the Pawtucket Rangers before the season began, but that wouldn't do much to help their fortunes. At the bottom of the league, were the New York Giants franchise and Newark Skeeters, whom would never be able to get out of the bottom half of ASL's standings.

1929-30 League Table

77 PTS (35-7-2) Fall River Marksmen (North Tiverton, RI)

66 PTS (27-12-5) Providence Gold Bugs (Providence, RI)

55 PTS (23-9-12) Boston Bears (Boston, MA)

53 PTS (23-7-14) New Bedford Whalers (New Bedford, MA)

51 PTS (20-11-13) Bethlehem Steel F.C. (Bethlehem, PA)

47 PTS (22-3-19) New York Nationals (New York, NY)

40 PTS (15-11-18) Pawtucket Rangers (Pawtucket, RI)

34 PTS (18-8-18) Brooklyn Wanderers (Brooklyn, NY)

34 PTS (9-16-19) New York Giants (New York, NY)

24 PTS (6-12-26) Newark Skeeters (Newark, NJ)

For the first time in league history, the American Soccer League was able to keep all the same 10 teams in the league for a second season, which saw Fall River take a second-straight league championship continuing their domination of the roaring twenties. This season would see them finish with a fantastic 77 points, only losing two games on the season while winning a record 35. Behind them was Providence which saw a significant jump in the standings, while the usual Boston, New Bedford, and a lower Bethlehem followed.

1930-31 League Table

43 PTS (18-7-3) Fall River Marksmen (North Tiverton, RI)

42 PTS (16-10-2) New York Giants (New York, NY)

38 PTS (16-6-6) Boston Bears (Boston, MA)

34 PTS (15-4-9) Providence Gold Bugs (Providence, RI)

32 PTS (9-14-5) Bethlehem Steel F.C. (Bethlehem, PA)

21 PTS (5-11-12) New Bedford Whalers (New Bedford, MA)

05 PTS (1-3-4) Brooklyn Wanderers (Brooklyn, NY)

Unfortunately the good fortune of the American Soccer League would take a serious downturn before and during the 1930-31 season. As the Great Depression set in following the stock market crash and rampant inflation, the league faces serious hardships. Two franchises didn't even have the resources to start the season, as the lowly Newark Skeeters called it quits, while the Pawtucket Rangers were forced to fold. In an effort to save the New York teams, both the Nationals and the Giants organizations agreed to merge in order to stay afloat at a comfortable rate. Naturally, they took the highly marketable Giants name and would continue to remain as a powerful team following the merger. Halfway through the season, the Brooklyn Wanderers, clearly missing out on this merging opportunity, couldn't stay aboard, and were forced to fold eight games into the schedule.

Plans to play the regular 44-game season were completely thrown out the window when the league decided to finish the season at 28 games. This decision was made on the spot, mid-way through the year in an emergency meeting regarding the financial situation of the league between the front office and club owners/representatives. Nevertheless, the league crowned a champion, a third-straight for the Fall River Marksmen, while the Giants were only a point behind.

1931-32 League Table

36 PTS (18-0-2) Fall River F.C. (Fall River, MA)

32 PTS (14-4-2) Bethlehem Steel F.C. (Bethlehem, PA)

28 PTS (14-0-6) New York Giants (New York, NY)

24 PTS (11-2-7) Boston Bears (Boston, MA)

13 PTS (6-1-13) New Bedford Whalers (New Bedford, MA)

09 PTS (4-1-15) Providence Gold Bugs (Providence, RI)

As the economy continued to grab the sport by the throat, the league experienced even more trouble, as the schedule was dwindle down to twenty games between six teams. The championship would go to the 18 win and 2 loss roster of Fall River F.C., as they officially played their first season in the actual town of Fall River, Massachusetts and not on the northern tip of Tiverton, Rhode Island. The town was quite excited to see the very successful soccer team play all of their games in Fall River, and were a great reason why the team did so well and brought home seventh championship within the league's first ten years. Owner Sam Mark decided to drop the Marksmen moniker and adopted the classy Field Club title to his franchises name. His decision to move the team to the actual town of Fall River, which had a substantially larger population than Tiverton, was on fact the club was dealing with serious financial troubles, and hoped a relocation to a town of over 100,000+ would bring in the necessary gate receipts. for the rest of the league, finished Bethlehem at 32, the Giants at 28, while Providence racked up the bottom at only 9 points.

The result of the 1931-32 season clearly showed there was not enough support for the ASL to keep running. At this point, the owners decided it would be safest to postpone the next season, until things were looking optimistic. This would result in the cancellation of the 1932-33 season, as well as the 1933-34 season.

1934-35 League Table

31 PTS (14-3-3) Boston Bears (Boston, MA)

29 PTS (11-7-2) New York Giants (New York, NY)

24 PTS (9-6-5) Fall River F.C. (Fall River, MA)

22 PTS (9-4-7) Bethlehem Steel F.C. (Bethlehem, PA)

18 PTS (7-4-5) New Bedford Whalers (New Bedford, MA)

08 PTS (3-2-12) Providence Gold Bugs (Providence, RI)

(Play 20 games due to the Great Depression, Providence and New Bedford fold near the end of the season.)

An attempt was made during the 1934-35 season to bring the league back, as a 20-game schedule was agreed upon between the save six teams which called a postponement three years before. As the season was drawn out, the Boston franchise was able to snag their first league title, finishing with a mediocre 31 points while the New York Giants were close behind at 29. Even though the teams were able to finish the season out, it would take a serious financial toll on the organizations, and was responsible for the disbandment of both the Providence franchise and the New Bedford franchise. And it is from this point one can find the "Original Four" of American association football: Bethlehem, Boston, Fall River, and New York.

Following the troubling season, the original four agreed to suspend league play while vowing to one final attempt at reviving the real American Soccer League, at this point the only real successful American professional association football organization. While the league did not play in 1935-36, other leagues attempted to take its place as many tried to move into the forefront of American soccer with expansion or heavy and expensive marketing, or rebel clubs attempted to join up and start their own top tier association, most notably the Eastern Professional Soccer League (EPSL), which saw the support of the USAF and FIFA, but would eventually go bankrupt after failing to play their third season.

During this intermission, all four teams would play either years of exhibition games, or as members of other leagues, as all four were also members of the EPSL, which saw Bethlehem claim the league's first season title. However, unemployment was still rampant and the economy was barely chugging along as the United States was still trying to get back to work and to a normal business cycle. When things are chaotic, sports suffer, especially ones with weak financial support, and major professional soccer was seriously wounded. The prospects for reopening seemed sound for the 1941-42 season, as the original four recruited two independent clubs, Scottish Rose F.C. and Brooklyn St. Mary's Celtic to join them for the inaugural season of the new American Soccer League. The teams agreed on a 32 game season, and remodeled their points system to resemble that of many leagues apart of the FIFA organization, with a 3 point victory, 1 point draw, 0 point loss program.

1941-42 League Table

46 PTS (13-7-12) New York Giants (New York, NY)

43 PTS (13-4-15) Boston Bears (Boston, MA)

42 PTS (12-6-14) Scottish Rose F.C. (Kearny, NJ)

32 PTS (10-2-20) Bethlehem Steel F.C. (Bethlehem, PA)

24 PTS (5-9-18) Brooklyn St. Mary's Celtic (Brooklyn, NY)

20 PTS (5-5-22) Fall River F.C. (Fall River, MA)

It was this returning season which saw the New York Giants F.C. win their first league championship, barely beating out both their rival Boston and Scottish Rose in the points, while winning a measly 13 games out of the 32-game schedule. Unfortunately it was clear the level of talent as compared to soccer in the 20's was well below, as companies could no longer afford the luxury of their workers forming field clubs, as well as workers couldn't afford the spare time spent playing soccer instead of earning desperately needed dollars.

Following the season, the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor, igniting America's involvement in the biggest war in world history. This caused a major drought in avaliable talent to take the field, as both professional baseball and American football suffered as a result of the military draft. The league, however, continued their play, although with either very young or old, sub-par teams. The following four years after the league's revival would feature the same six teams to open up the new American Soccer League, and did not feature any noteworthy stories. Below is the final league tables for all four seasons.

1942-43 League Table

56 PTS (17-5-10) Scottish Rose F.C. (Kearny, NJ)

53 PTS (16-5-11) New York Giants (New York, NY)

43 PTS (12-7-13) Boston Bears (Boston, MA)

39 PTS (9-12-11) Bethlehem Steel F.C. (Bethlehem, PA)

28 PTS (7-7-18) Fall River F.C. (Fall River, MA)

20 PTS (4-8-20) Brooklyn St. Mary's Celtic (Brooklyn, NY)

1943-44 League Table

62 PTS (19-5-8) Scottish Rose F.C. (Kearny, NJ)

57 PTS (16-9-7) Bethlehem Steel F.C. (Bethlehem, PA)

40 PTS (11-7-14) Boston Bears (Boston, MA)

32 PTS (10-2-20) New York Giants (New York, NY)

32 PTS (9-5-18) Fall River F.C. (Fall River, MA)

29 PTS (7-8-17) Brooklyn St. Mary's Celtic (Brooklyn, NY)

1944-45 League Table

70 PTS (21-7-4) Bethlehem Steel F.C. (Bethlehem, PA)

58 PTS (16-10-6) New York Giants (New York, NY)

48 PTS (15-3-14) Scottish Rose F.C. (Kearny, NJ)

41 PTS (11-8-13) Brooklyn St. Mary's Celtic (Brooklyn, NY)

31 PTS (6-13-13) Boston Bears (Boston, MA)

18 PTS (4-6-22) Fall River F.C. (Fall River, MA)

1945-46 League Table

64 PTS (20-4-8) Bethlehem Steel F.C. (Bethlehem, PA)

61 PTS (18-7-7) Scottish Rose F.C. (Kearny, NJ)

47 PTS (13-8-11) Fall River F.C. (Fall River, MA)

44 PTS (11-11-10) New York Giants (New York, NY)

20 PTS (4-8-20) Boston Bears (Boston, MA)

17 PTS (4-5-23) Brooklyn St. Mary's Celtic (Brooklyn, NY)

By the 1946-47 season, the league with five seasons in, and all six teams were fairly financially secure, bringing in low, if average profit. The only team in question was Brooklyn St. Mary's Celtic, but the franchise received large support from the Irish community within Brooklyn, as well as hefty loans from the Irish mafia, whom were participating in their own communal support by investing in keeping the club afloat despite losing records every season. As for the entire American Soccer League, the organization was ready to expand, as for years independent clubs were clamoring for an invite to the esteemed ASL. The league and its owners decided to take the cautious approach, and agreed on admitting only two new clubs for the next season. Both had no real history, except for two rosters filled with players whom have played with or against one another at some point throughout their respective cities, and had the funds and organization to start up their own professional teams. And thus were created Philadelphia United based out of one of the largest cities in Tri-State, and Queens City Club playing out of Queens, New York.

1946-47 League Table

ASL Champion: Bethlehem Steel F.C. over New York Giants (2-1)

Archie Stark Trophy: Bethlehem Steel F.C. (53 PTS)

77 PTS (24-5-3) Bethlehem Steel F.C. (Bethlehem, PA)

68 PTS (20-8-4) New York Giants (Brooklyn, NY)

58 PTS (18-4-10) Boston Bears (Boston, MA)

57 PTS (16-9-7) Fall River F.C. (Fall River, MA)

53 PTS (15-8-9) Philadelphia United (Philadelphia, PA)

39 PTS (11-6-15) Queens City Club (Queens, NY)

29 PTS (8-5-19) Scottish Rose F.C. (Kearny, NJ)

19 PTS (3-10-19) Brooklyn St. Mary's Celtic (Brooklyn, NY)

The 1946-47 season saw a significant influx in the final league table as compared to last season. Although Bethlehem Steel F.C. was able to grab another title, this time it was done in playoff format, which the owners agreed to implement. The league drew upon both English and American playoff influences, using the aggregate two-leg system for its opening rounds played among the top four teams, and a three-game series to determine the season's champion. Bethlehem was officially the first franchise to be awarded the Archie Stark Trophy, awarded to the team which finishes atop the final league table, and became the first to win both the table trophy and playoffs trophy, defeating the New York Giants in the third and final game of the series, with a solid 4-1 running. Everything seemed just right as Stark was able to present the trophy himself in the town to the team he really made his legend with.

As for the rest of the league, the New York Giants were really the only team competing with Bethlehem for the top spot, but that's why the league added the playoff system in order to toughen the path taken by the league's best team. The other two teams to make the playoffs would be Fall River F.C. and the Boston Bears. Of course, Bethlehem took on fourth seed Fall River and New York took on Boston in the two-leg opening round. Bethlehem was able to take down their rival Fall River F.C. with 5-2 aggregate, dominating the first game 4-1 while finishing to a draw the second. On the other side New York had a tough time defeating Boston, winning the first game 3-2, and only skimming through thanks to a 3-2 penalty shoot-out result following a 0-1 regular time result. This resulted in the first ASL Championship Series between Bethlehem and New York, respectively the two best teams in the league. And while New York would steal the first game in Bethlehem by a 3-4 result, the eventual champions would defeat the Giants 1-2 in the second game, and then hosted for a 4-1 shocking at home to take home the season championship.

Surprisingly, Scottish Rose F.C. saw a major drop off after the talented but aging strikers retired from the game, resulting in a weakened and leaderless roster. The two new teams would finish ahead of both Scottish Rose F.C. and Brooklyn St. Mary's, but neither of the four really stood a chance taking on the talented Bethlehem team.

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You are not right. Write to me in PM, we will communicate.

No thank you, officer...

And yes I plan on progressing all the way to present day showing the history of kits of each franchise as time goes on. Also I would like to ask for suggestions for future franchises and their time at which they joined the league. Any participation from others is greatly encouraged!

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I don't really have any C&C. All I can really say is this looks like an awesome series and can't wait to see where you go with this! But when you say you want suggestions for other teams, do they necessarily have to have played in the ASL?

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I don't really have any C&C. All I can really say is this looks like an awesome series and can't wait to see where you go with this! But when you say you want suggestions for other teams, do they necessarily have to have played in the ASL?

Doesn't matter at all, whether they be real or not if you think it sounds good for the time period I might end up using it

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After the 1946-47 season with its two new additions, ASL decided it was in the league's best interest to appoint their own Commissioner of League Operations, in order to oversee the league on an entirely neutral basis and more importantly to rid the league influence from the United States Soccer Football Association (USSFA) which had changed its name only a few years prior from the United States Football Association (USFA); a decision made in order to differentiate the sport from the exploding in popularity, football of American tradition. The first ever appointed American Soccer League CLO would be Henry Darnes, who had managed the Fall River Marksmen throughout all of their success, and whom was one of the most respected personalities of association football in the country. Mr. Darnes was more than happy to accept the position, for he was a strong supporter in both action and words for the league's reconstruction in '41, and was a pivotal tool in developing the new ASL. He was also a man of strong character, a strong American who had never trusted the USSFA as well as FIFA, especially due to the situation which developed concerning foreign players, and how the USSFA essentially cheated the ASL out of major stars in order to remain as a pushover member of FIFA. The new CLO was committed to bringing excellence back to American soccer.

1947-48 League Table

ASL Champion: Bethlehem Steel F.C. (4th)

Archie Stark Trophy: Bethlehem Steel F.C. (51 PTS)

-- 65 PTS Bethlehem Steel F.C. (Bethlehem, PA)

-- 61 PTS New York Giants (Manhattan, NY)

52 PTS Fall River F.C. (Fall River, MA)

49 PTS Scottish Rose F.C. (Kearny, NJ)

39 PTS Boston Bears (Boston, MA)

27 PTS Brooklyn St. Marys Celtic (Brooklyn, NY)

25 PTS Philadelphia United (Philadelphia, PA)

19 PTS Queens City Club (Queens, NY)

1947-48 Playoffs

(1) Bethlehem Steel F.C. vs. (4) Scottish Rose F.C.

+ SCT 1 : 2 BFC

+ BFC 3 : 0 SCT

+= BFC 5 : SCT 0 aggregate

(2) New York Giants vs. (3) Fall River F.C.

+ FRV 3 : 3 NYG

+ NYG 3 : 2 FRV

+= NYG 6 : 5 FRV aggregate

Final Round: Bethlehem Steel F.C. over New York Giants

+ BFC 5 : 2 NYG

+ NYG 0 : 3 BFC

The next season saw a similar result to the previous year, as the Bethlehem Steel Field Club was able to grab the Archie Stark Trophy with 65 points in the final league table, while the New York Giants were closer than last year at 61. While Fall River and Scottish Rose took the third and fourth spots respectively, it was clear that this season the real competition was between Bethlehem and New York. The playoffs saw Bethlehem sweep the Scots out of competition, while the Giants were able to squeak out the final 3-2 victory at home to defeat Fall River 6-5 on aggregate. This gave birth to a rematch of the finals last season, but the defending champions were able to make even more enemies in New York with a 5-2 shootout in the first match, and a 3-0 clean sheet in the second to take home the Championship Cup for the second-time straight.

Following the '47-'48 season, commissioner Darnes reached out to the USSAF in discussion of creating a FIFA certified cup tournament for ASL teams to participate to, similar to the English Cup in the United Kingdom and other league cups throughout the world. Another struggle between the USSAF and the ASL would occur, as the USSAF was adamant about having ASL teams participate in their annual National Challenge Cup, a tournament which caused the original ASL grief. Darnes remembered the days of USSAF's attempt to strangle the American Soccer League by regulating them to their cups and their tournaments. But the commissioner wouldn't let it happen again, and was determined to produce their own annual-league tournament.

It took months of negotiation but commissioner Darnes was able to convince the USSAF and FIFA to approve their own cup tournament, their own U.S. Open Cup to be played during the month of May, modeled after the USSAF's own National Challenge Cup, but instead refusing to allow entries from amateur teams, instead providing a seed to every team a part of the American Soccer League. Darnes knew this would give the cup some actual prestige instead of allowing various amateur teams from around the country to come in and run the competition, delegitimizing the "professional" teams of his league. By format the ASL teams would be randomly seeded every year, and proceed to knock one another out of competition until the finals which would be a three-game series between the final two teams, much similar to the playoffs finals format. This new cup would fit into the league's new schedule, which began the season in March and would end in October, a eerily similar schedule to that of the MLB.

1948 League Table

ASL Champion: New York Giants (1st)

Archie Stark Trophy: Bethlehem Steel F.C. (57 PTS)

U.S. Open Cup: New York Giants (1st) over Boston Bears

-- 57 PTS Bethlehem Steel F.C. (Bethlehem, PA)

57 PTS New York Giants (Manhattan, NY)

-- 49 PTS Fall River F.C. (Fall River, MA)

45 PTS Boston Bears (Boston, MA)

43 PTS Scottish Rose F.C. (Kearny, NJ)

32 PTS Queens City Club (Queens, NY)

22 PTS Brooklyn St. Mary's Celtic (Brooklyn, NY)

15 PTS Philadelphia United (Philadelphia, PA)

1948 Playoffs

(1) Bethlehem Steel F.C. vs. (4) Boston Bears

+ BOS 2 : 2 BFC

+ BFC 3 : 2 BOS

+= BFC 5 : 4 BOS aggregate

(2) New York Giants vs. (3) Fall River F.C.

+ FRV 0 : 0 NYG

+ NYG 2 : 1 FRV

+= NYG 2 : 1 FRV aggregate)

Final Round: Bethlehem Steel F.C. vs. New York Giants

+ BFC 2 : 2 NYG

+ NYG 4 : 2 BFC

+ BFC 1 : 3 NYG

In order to compromise with the new schedule change, the league agreed to begin play in May, giving the season only 26 games to be played.The battles between Bethlehem and New York would continue, with the Giants winning their first championship as well as the first ever U.S. Open Cup, in a solid season for a club growing immensely in popularity. When both teams finished with 57 points, Bethlehem was awarded the Archie Stark Trophy due to their lower number of losses, but as the playoffs came around, New York would take the title home with a big 4-2 home stand in the second game, while closing out Bethlehem in their town for the third game, with a solid 1-3 victory. Giants fans celebrated all the way home where the team made rounds around the city with the trophy and U.S. Open Cup.

1949 League Table

ASL Champion: Bethlehem Steel F.C. (5th)

Archie Stark Trophy: New York Giants (74 PTS)

U.S. Open Cup: Bethlehem Steel F.C. (1st) over Scottish Rose F.C.

74 PTS - New York Giants (Manhattan, NY)

70 PTS - Bethlehem Steel F.C. (Bethlehem, PA)

-- 48 PTS - Fall River F.C. (Fall River, MA)

-- 43 PTS - Boston Bears (Boston, MA)

-- 38 PTS - Scottish Rose F.C. (Kearny, NJ)

-- 29 PTS - Queens City Club (Queens, NY)

-- 22 PTS - Brooklyn St. Mary's Celtic (Brooklyn, NY)

-- 21 PTS - Philadelphia United (Philadelphia, PA)

1949 Playoffs

(1) New York Giants vs. (4) Boston Bears

+ BOS 2 : 3 NYG

+ NYG 2 : 2 BOS

+= NYG 5 : 4 BOS aggregate

(2) Bethlehem Steel F.C. vs. (3) Fall River F.C.

+ FRV 3 : 3 BFC

+ BFC 5 : 1 FRV

+= BFC 8 : 4 FRV

Final Round: New York Giants vs. Bethlehem Steel F.C.

+ NYG 1 : 1 BFC

+ BFC 2 : 2 NYG

+= NYG 1 : 3 BFC

The 1949 season saw a complete reversal of the situations for Bethlehem and New York, while the rest of the league stood completely still. While no one else improved in position, New York was able to overtake first place with a solid 74 points, while Bethlehem was also dominating finishing with 70 points, and Fall River came in a lame third with 48 points. The playoffs would see New York defeat Boston by aggregate, and Bethlehem over Fall River by a dominating 8-4 aggregate (thanks to a five goal performance in their second leg). Once again, the rivalry continued between the Giants and the "Blackshirts", a nickname coined for the team while the team was in play during World War II, implying the nickname given to fascist paramilitary groups of the previous era. An unnamed player (evidence suggests Johnny Kiebler of the '43-'44 Scots) said in legend that Bethlehem style of play was "of Nazi grit", referencing to their controversial tactics, and it was no wonder the team was outfitted in all-black. The first two games of the three-game finals would go to draws, while the final third game at the Polo Grounds in Manhattan would be a major disappointment for Giants fans, as they watched the Blackshirts lay a 1-3 whooping on their beloved team.

After the season, commissioner Darnes called upon owners to discuss the prospect of expanding the league. Although there was much pressure upon him, Darnes refused to allow the admission of other amateur soccer teams into the professional league, citing it would discredit the prestige of the American Soccer League. Potential investors and independent players had been clamoring at Darnes for the past few years, all wanting to open teams in various cities. But the commissioner stayed firm, steady, and cautious, all attributes the first commissioner was always known for. He allowed the admittance to only two new franchises in relatively untapped markets, Baltimore and Buffalo.

He had been in contact with owner of the All-American Football Conference team, the Buffalo Bills, James Breuil. He was interested in bringing a team to Buffalo, where he felt he would be able to draw a strong presence in the market, while hoping to draw crowds from Canada who would be able to watch professional North American football. Unfortunately by 1949, the Bills were in their final season as a team as Breuil was taking significant financial losses (estimated at $700,000), and was willing to fold the team while taking one-fourth ownership in the Browns as the NFL was merged together. Although he had taken a big loss, he was still interested in directly owning a professional sports franchise, and with a family history of soccer, agreed to have his Buffalo Field Club begin play in 1950 at the Civic Stadium (known as War Memorial Stadium following 1959.)

In Baltimore, a group of investors as well as home-grown players were willing to invest in the opening of Baltimore F.C., as the league continued to expand their influence, inching their way down south and into the nation's capital. The city had grown accustom to their football team, and the sports market was looking to boom after Colts were announced to have joined the newly created NFL. However, as the original Baltimore Colts in the NFL suffered from financial troubles, the new Baltimore F.C. would also suffer serious financial doubts for the coming years.

(click the team's name to view their kit for the season)

1950 League Table

ASL Champion: Bethlehem Steel F.C. (6th)

Archie Stark Trophy: Bethlehem Steel F.C. (69 PTS)

U.S. Open Cup: New York Giants (2nd) over Bethlehem Steel F.C.

69 PTS Bethlehem Steel F.C. (Bethlehem, PA)

65 PTS New York Giants (Manhattan, NY)

52 PTS Boston Bears (Boston, MA)

48 PTS Scottish Rose F.C. (Kearny, NJ)

38 PTS Queens City Club (Queens, NY)

37 PTS Fall River F.C. (Fall River, MA)

-- 29 PTS Brooklyn St. Mary's Celtic (Brooklyn, NY)

-- 21 PTS Philadelphia United (Philadelphia, PA)

-- 17 PTS Buffalo F.C. (Buffalo, NY)

-- 09 PTS Baltimore F.C. (Baltimore, MD)

1950 Playoffs

(1) Bethlehem Steel F.C. vs. (4) Scottish Rose F.C.

+ SCT 1 : 2 BFC

+ BFC 3 : 2 SCT

+= BFC 5 : 3 SCT aggregate

(2) New York Giants vs. (3) Boston Bears

+ BOS 4 : 1 NYG

+ NYG 2 : 2 BOS

+= NYG 3 : 6 BOS aggregate

Final Round: Bethlehem Steel F.C. vs. Boston Bears

+ BFC 3 : 2 BOS

+ BOS 3 : 2 BFC

+ BFC 2 : 0 BOS

The 1950 season saw its two newest teams, Baltimore and Buffalo finish as the last two teams in the final league table, which would appear to be a ominous sign towards the franchises and the league's idea of expanding. Clearly their level of talent was not up to par of that of the champion's, which would be Bethlehem for another year, this time defeating Boston in the finals. The Bears were able to upset the Giants in the opening round, while Bethlehem defeated Scottish Rose F.C. with relative ease. The finals saw Bethlehem take their first game at home 3-2, then gave up the next game in Boston to the same score. Finally, Bethlehem was able to prove their haters wrong with a 2-0 clean sheet on the Bears to capture their sixth franchise title. The only high point of the season for the Giants, and low point for the Blackshirts, would be New York defeating Bethlehem in the 1950 U.S. Open Cup finals, 5-4 in a thriller.

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I don't really have any C&C. All I can really say is this looks like an awesome series and can't wait to see where you go with this! But when you say you want suggestions for other teams, do they necessarily have to have played in the ASL?

Doesn't matter at all, whether they be real or not if you think it sounds good for the time period I might end up using it

Good stuff! I have two suggestions then... both based on actual clubs from the era.

-Milwaukee Bavarians

Founded in 1929 and sometimes known as FC Bavaria or FC Bavaria-Milwaukee. Their colors were (and still are) blue and white, the colors of the Bavarian flag.

-Milwaukee Brewers FC

This was a team founded in 1947 by workers from Schlitz Brewery. Not sure what their colors were, but eventually they were officially sponsored by Schlitz, so I'd say burgundy and white with gold trim is a safe bet.

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FOR GOD SAKE, I did'nt have the time to read the first part and we already have the second! Time to get to work! Awesome.

Oh, and the teams names, I mean, wow.

The Springfield Babes!

Your jerseys are absolutly right for the time, your fonts absolutely OK. Great stuff.

What font do you use for your 1946 numbers?

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FOR GOD SAKE, I did'nt have the time to read the first part and we already have the second! Time to get to work! Awesome.

Oh, and the teams names, I mean, wow.

The Springfield Babes!

Your jerseys are absolutly right for the time, your fonts absolutely OK. Great stuff.

What font do you use for your 1946 numbers?

Springfield Babes is actually the name of a team that competed at that time in the real ASL and the font is use is some generic one from a collection of numbers. BTW they look super big but new kits will have smaller numbers and eventually player names...

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Yeah, I was'nt sure it was real. Well, great to read this.

I know you'll probably won't take teams suggestions for Canada, but can I submit say, New Hampshire, Maine or Vermont suggestions? Vermont Explorers for example?

I thought about Salem Wizzards??

In Maine, Portland Tide F.C.

You decide, just suggestions.

I'll let you decide the year etc... It's your story after all.

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Yeah, I was'nt sure it was real. Well, great to read this.

I know you'll probably won't take teams suggestions for Canada, but can I submit say, New Hampshire, Maine or Vermont suggestions? Vermont Explorers for example?

I thought about Salem Wizzards??

In Maine, Portland Tide F.C.

You decide, just suggestions.

I'll let you decide the year etc... It's your story after all.

Since this involves Maine I feel the need to comment B) I like Portland Tide FC, but it seems almost "too modern", considering Portland's history. For Portland I'd go with "Old Port FC", after the primary commercial, residential and artistic center of Portland and Maine.

If you want to go to Maine but don't want Portland, you cold always call something "Acadia FC" and put it in northern Maine.

Or you could completely ignore Maine, Imperfect. Just suggestions :)

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Yeah, I was'nt sure it was real. Well, great to read this.

I know you'll probably won't take teams suggestions for Canada, but can I submit say, New Hampshire, Maine or Vermont suggestions? Vermont Explorers for example?

I thought about Salem Wizzards??

In Maine, Portland Tide F.C.

You decide, just suggestions.

I'll let you decide the year etc... It's your story after all.

Since this involves Maine I feel the need to comment B) I like Portland Tide FC, but it seems almost "too modern", considering Portland's history. For Portland I'd go with "Old Port FC", after the primary commercial, residential and artistic center of Portland and Maine.

If you want to go to Maine but don't want Portland, you cold always call something "Acadia FC" and put it in northern Maine.

Or you could completely ignore Maine, Imperfect. Just suggestions :)

Perfect OLD PORT FC

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This is really cool. I'm literally 2/3 of the way through my "what if soccer developed in America like it did in England" concept. Trying to do 3 divisions of logos and uniforms. Its been a year in the making so far!

Great work!

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I don't really have any C&C. All I can really say is this looks like an awesome series and can't wait to see where you go with this! But when you say you want suggestions for other teams, do they necessarily have to have played in the ASL?

Doesn't matter at all, whether they be real or not if you think it sounds good for the time period I might end up using it

Good stuff! I have two suggestions then... both based on actual clubs from the era.

-Milwaukee Bavarians

Founded in 1929 and sometimes known as FC Bavaria or FC Bavaria-Milwaukee. Their colors were (and still are) blue and white, the colors of the Bavarian flag.

-Milwaukee Brewers FC

This was a team founded in 1947 by workers from Schlitz Brewery. Not sure what their colors were, but eventually they were officially sponsored by Schlitz, so I'd say burgundy and white with gold trim is a safe bet.

I hope you don't mind, but I felt inspired and decided to try my hand at doing Milwaukee Bavarians.

fcbavarian_kit.png

Not sure if that style of shirt would've been too flamboyant for the era, but since flags with that pattern have been made since the middle-ages, I would imagine the sleeve design would've at least been feasible.

Either way, feel free to use it... or not.

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Here are the logos of the next two teams to join four years from 1950, Second City F.C. and the St. Louis Blues...

logo1954.jpg

logo1954.jpg

And I will probably end up using the Milwaukee Bavarians thanks for your contribution!

BTW I had to save them as JPG for now since my Photoshop is acting funky and the JPG quality distorts the quality of the colors. :(

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And I will probably end up using the Milwaukee Bavarians thanks for your contribution!

BTW I had to save them as JPG for now since my Photoshop is acting funky and the JPG quality distorts the quality of the colors. :(

Did you try screen-capping it and saving it to paint as a PNG?

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