The Year in American Soccer - 1912

Written by David Litterer (

Progress continued with attempts to organize American soccer under one national organization. The recently formed American Amateur Foot Ball Association had gone to considerable efforts to standardize rules and procedures among its various leagues and associations. The Intercollegiate Athletic Association had recently given recognition to soccer, and the time appeared right to make a bid for international recognition through membership in FIFA. The older American Soccer Federation, however, which was aligned with the English Foot Ball Association, saw itself as the natural candidate for international recognition, and as a result, the AAFA and AFA made competing bids to FIFA. Both organizations had arguments on their side; the AFA was already well established, and had ties to the English Football Association, but was still based entirely in the northeast part of the country. The AAFA, although relatively new, already had members spread across the country as far out as St. Louis and Utah, but was a somewhat unwieldy organization, with each affiliate having equal power. FIFA, recognizing the tumultuous situation in the States, referred the competing applications to their Emergency Committee, telling the two organizations to work out their differences before any application would be considered.

At this time, FIFA itself was still vying for the status of preeminent government of soccer throughout the world. There existed an international board, composed of and limited to delegates from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, which was the supreme body for the development of playing rules. FIFA reported to this board on all aspects of rule-making, and until this situation was changed, some felt it was better for the United States to go slow on seeking international sanctioning. On the other hand, the need to bring some order to the rather wild and unregulated growth to the game, as well as prospects for international recognition through Olympic competition, brought some impetus to the notion of gaining international recognition as soon as possible.

In the meantime, the various amateur leagues continued to flourish, with new leagues and teams popping up in a wide variety of locations throughout the country, at both the amateur and college levels.

National Association Football League

West Hudson returned to form this season, winning the league title, after a disappointing 4th place finish the previous season. Paterson Wilberforce again came in second, losing the title by four points. The Rangers continued their strong run, finishing tied for third with their cross-town rivals, the True Blues. Kearney Scots again brought up the rear, even behind newcomer Bronx United.

            Final NAFBL League Standings, 1911-12

Before the season, Bronx United was added.

                          GP   W   L   T   Pts
West Hudson A.A.          13   9   2   2    20
Paterson Wilberforce      12   6   2   4    16
Paterson True Blues       11   5   3   3    13
Paterson Rangers          12   5   4   3    13
Jersey A.C.               14   4   6   3    11
Brooklyn F.C.             11   4   5   2    10
Bronx United              11   2   5   4     8
Kearny Scots              12   2   9   1     5

New York and District Amateur Association Foot Ball League

The NYDAAFBL (formerly the New York State Association League) was fortified by a large influx of new teams that immediately made a major impact with their surprisingly strong performances. The champion was not determined until the final week of the season, when Newark defeated Hollywood Inn by 1-0 to win the league title by a single point. Clan MacDonald and Brooklyn Celtic finished the season tied, requiring an extra game to determine second place. The MacDonalds won that tie off 1-0.

          Final NYDAAFBL Standings, 1911-12 (Division 1)

                       GP   W   L   T   GF  GA  Pts
Newark F. C.*          20  17   1   2   52  12   34
Clan MacDonald**       20  16   3   1   60   9   33
Brooklyn Celtic        20  16   3   1   66  18   33
Yonkers                20   9   7   4   27  33   22
Arcadia Thistle        20   9  10   1   31  38   19
Critchley              20   9  10   1   18  29   19
Camerons               20   7  11   2   31  45   16
Hollywood Inn          20   7  13   0   24  42   14
Clan Mackenzie*        20   5  10   5   26  56   13
Columbia               20   5  13   2   27  40   12
Clan McDuff            20   0  19   1   11  52    1

* - deducted 2 points for playing ineligible players
** - won playoff match for third place

League champion (1st):  Newark F.C.
League champion (2nd):  New York Celtic (20-19-0-1-60-11-39)

St. Louis Soccer League

St. Leo's won their fifth consecutive league title, with a comfortable lead over Innisfails. Although bad weather marred many weekends, the season was still memorable, even if it didn't reach the peaks of the previous record-breaking year. Innisfails played excellent soccer after a poor start, and by the end of the season looked to be the strongest team in the league. The forward line of McCaffrey, Hagerty and Easton was the league's finest. But St. Leo's was not to be denied, and a late surge brought them back to the top to claim the title by 5 points. Irish American Athletic Club replaced the departing Blue Bells, and built a strong team through aggressive player acquisition, finished a respectable third. Columbus Club simply collapsed, bring up the rear. The St. Leo's had withdrawn from the St. Louis league late in the 1911-12 season on a matter of principle, although their convincing win in the league championships was widely recognized.

After the season, St. Leo's was matched against St. Mark's for the city title, winning easily against that amateur team. St. Leo's then embarked on a tour to the eastern US, starting strong with a 3-1 win over Tacony of Philadelphia (three time Philly League champion). The tour was not a financial success due to dubious events such as a weekday match in New York City against a mid-level Rhode Island club, instead of a local favorite such as the strong West Hudson team. They did ultimately play West Hudson later in the tour, in Harrison NJ, losing 3-2.

             Final SLSL League Standings, 1911-1912

Before the season, Irish American A.C. was added.

                       GP   W   L   T   GF  GA  Pts
St. Leo's              15  11   2   2   34  15  24
Innisfails             15   8   4   3   29  16  19
Irish American A.C.    15   4   9   2   11  24  10
Columbus Club          15   2  10   3   12  31   7

Champion:  St. Leo's

After the season, Irish American A.C. withdrew.

Amateur League champion:  St. Mark's (16-8-3-5-21)
Murray Cup (city championship):  St. Leo's defeated St. Mark's

Association Foot Ball League of Chicago:

The AFLC consolidated down to eight teams this year, leading to stronger sides and greater parity. Pullman F. C. took the title this year, and were on their way to becoming the pre-eminent club of the region. Defending champion Hyde Park fell to third, while the Campbell Rovers made a strong run during the season, falling short of the title by a mere three points. A major Thanksgiving exhibition paired a league all-star team against the top club in Minneapolis, with Minneapolis winning the first game 2-0 and the two teams (fielding different players) drawing 1-1 for the second.

             Final AFLC League standings, 1911-1912

                  GP   W   L   T   GF  GA  Pts
Pullman           14  11   1   2   64  17   24
Campbell Rovers   14   9   2   3   54  22   21
Hyde Park Blues   13   8   2   3   52  21   19
McDuffs           12   6   4   2   31  20   14
Hibernians        14   4   7   3   36  49   11
West Side Rangers 14   4   9   1   22  46    9
Hyde Park Albions 13   3   8   2   23  45    8
Over-Seas         14   1  13   0   28  82    2

Peel Cup:  Pullman defeated Hibernians 6-1

American Amateur Foot Ball Association Cup

The American Amateur Foot Ball Association inaugurated its cup competition with 24 teams from the New York region. This cup could be considered the predecessor of the U. S. Open Cup, and in fact, the AAFA introduced the Dewar Cup for the 1913 competition. The Dewar Cup would later be awarded to the winner of the National Challenge Cup which debuted in 1914. The 1912 and 1913 AAFA competitions were amateur competitions, not officially connected with the US Open Cup.

Two initial rounds reduced the field to eight teams. In the third round, Hollywood Inn defeated Arcadia Thistle 8-1, Bronx United forfeited to Newark, Brooklyn Celtic defeated Clan MacDonald in a 2-1 replay after drawing 1-1, and Critchley defeated Sheffield 2-0. In the semi-finals, Newark defeated Hollywood Inn 5-2 and Brooklyn Celtic defeated Critchley 6-0.

The final was played at Marquette Oval in Brooklyn on May 11, 1912 before 3,500 spectators. The first half was a defensive battle, with Newark F.C. putting up a strong defense while being unable to pierce the Brooklyn defenders; Brooklyn Celtic took a 1-0 lead into halftime. Celtic took the initiative in the second half with some superb combination play by their forwards during which they twice broke through the defensive lines to find the net. The match ended with Brooklyn Celtic defeating Newark F. C. 3-0, with two goals scored by Campton and one by O'Halloran.

Amateur Leagues & Cups

Metropolitan and District Amateur Foot Ball League (New York City): St. George's (1st division - 14-11-1-2-46-18-24); Washington (2nd division - 10-8-2-0-31-16-16).
St. George's Soccer Football League (Newark, NJ): Hawthorne.
Field Club Soccer League of NY & NJ: Staten Island C & TC (8-0-0-47-7-16).
Buffalo and District Association Foot Ball League: Niagara Falls Wanderers (12-8-0-4-20).
Fraser Cup (Niagara Frontier Foot Ball Association): Niagara Falls Wanderers) Foot Ball Association of Philadelphia: Tacony (15-11-0-1-57-9-35).
Association Foot Ball League of the Associated Cricket Clubs (Philadelphia): Belmont (1st Division - 8-6-1-1-29-9-13); Univ. of Pennsylvania (2nd division - 11-8-1-2-25-11-18).
Crescent Challenge Cup: Belmont Cricket Club.
Allied Amateur Foot Ball Association Cup (Philadelphia): Cardington defeated Bethlehem 3-1.
Pennsylvania League: Tacony F. C.
St. George League (Philadelphia): Centennial (15-12-0-3-51-9-27)
Interstate Association Foot Ball League (Philadelphia): Boy's Club (10-9-1-0-30-8-18).
Philadelphia and Suburban Association Foot Ball League: Cardington (14-12-1-1-38-8-25).
The Allied Association Foot Ball League (Philadelphia): Disston, Jr. (14-11-2-1-38-11-23).
Pittsburgh Press Soccer Foot Ball League: Morgan (18-13-4-1-59-21-30).
Pittsburgh District (Dispatch) League: Homestead (18-15-0-3-30).
Tribune Soccer League (Western Penn): Johnstown (7-2-1-30-8-15).
Connecticut Association Foot Ball League: Park City (10-8-1-1-17).
Connecticut State Cup: Ansonia defeated Thistles 3-1.
Williams Challenge Cup (Rhode Island): Potter & Johnston F. C.
American Federation of Labor Cup (Cleveland): Lorain 3, Shamrocks 0, played before 20,000 spectators.
Cleveland Association Foot Ball League: Clevelands (16-13-1-2-36-9-28)
Bowler Cup (Cleveland): Lorain defeated Thistles, 4-2.
Michigan State Foot Ball League Cup: Celtic defeated All-Scots 2-1.
St. Andrew's Challenge Cup (Detroit): Detroit Association F. C.
Peel Cup (Illinois State Cup): Pullman
Colorado League of Association Foot Ball (Spalding Cup): Gordon (10-9-0-1-48-9-19).
Daynes Challenge Cup (Utah Association): Utah Copper defeated Rio Grande 1-1, 1-0.
California Association Senior Challenge Cup: San Francisco F. C.
John O. Belis Perpetual Trophy: San Francisco F. C.
California League: San Franciscos.
Southern California League: Rangers (6-0-0-52-11-12) (also won cup).
Northwestern Senior League: Black Diamonds (9-1-2-20).
Philippine Islands championship: 7th Infantry (4-0).

The US National Team

There was no US National Team during this era.

American Cup

West Hudson defeated Paterson Rangers 1-0.

1912 Olympic Games

Soccer made its third appearance at the 1912 Olympic Games, held in Stockholm, Sweden from June 29 to July 6, 1912, although this was only the second time the competition consisted entirely of national teams. The United States didn't participate. The twelve competitors were Germany, England, Finland, Austria, Holland, Norway, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, Russia and France. France withdrew before the competition began. The competition was run on the English cup tie system, with elimination by rounds. As the top international competition of its time, the 1912 Olympic matches drew large and enthusiastic crowds. The teams showed a marked improvement since the 1908 competition, and the results gave notice that England's pre-eminence was no longer guaranteed.

England, Denmark, Hungary and Russia received byes to the second round, and Italy, Germany and Sweden were eliminated. In the second round, England shut out Hungary 7-0, with Denmark defeating Norway by the same score. Finland beat Russia 2-1 and Holland defeated Austria 3-1. In the semi-finals, England continued their winning ways, shutting out Finland 4-0, while Holland fell to Denmark 4-1.

The final match was played on July 4, before 20,000 spectators. Denmark started out strongly, forcing two corner kicks, but England gradually asserted its superiority, and were soon bombarding the Danish goal relentlessly, eventually landing a goal by Walden off a fine shot. Denmark then made a strong dash which forced England's Goalkeeper to concede a corner kick to prevent a certain goal. A great passing run by Woodward and Berry pressured the Danish keeper to clear the ball right in front of his goal, and Walden pounced on it, and banged it into the goal. But Denmark rebounded; Olsen made a great run, hammering the ball by the goalkeeper's fingers to get Denmark on the board. Somewhat rattled, England send their entire forward line up for the follow-up run, at which point Denmark lost a midfielder to injury. After some good exchanges, England found the net again, and dominated for the rest of the half. Denmark rallied in the second half with strong defense, frustrating England's many runs, and eventually took a more aggressive posture with some good runs, but managed only a single goal, leading to a 4-2 final victory for England. England won the gold medal, Denmark the silver and Holland took the bronze.

International Tours

There were no international tours this year.

The College Game

Yale went 5-0 to win the IAFL championship with an undefeated record.

Intercollegiate Association Football League champion: Yale

College All Americans:
G -  Dickinson, Yale
RF - Dickey, Yale
LF - Pennell, Pennsylvania
RH - Davis, Cornell
CH - Hildor, Columbia
LH - Smith, Haverford
OR - Bentley, Haverford
IR - Jones, Pennsylvania
CF - McPhee, Pennsylvania
IL - Gay, Yale
OL - Byng, Haverford

Last update: March 4, 2005

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