The Year in American Soccer - 1920

Written by David Litterer (

National Association Football League

The NAFBL returned to full strength with an influx of returning soldiers from the war front. Several teams were added, and the season expanded to 16 games. The league continued to be plagued by missed games and weather cancellations, with only Harrison Erie completing their schedule. The veteran teams took most of the top spots in the standings, with Bethlehem Steel again taking the league title, albeit in a nail biter of a race, but they were unable to repeat their previous successes at the national cups. Philadelphia Merchant Ship plummeted to the bottom from their previous 2nd place finish, and Morse Dry Dock was the strongest of the newcomers, just finishing over .500. Several players took part in the St. Louis Soccer Club tour of Scandinavia (see below).

                 Final League Standings, 1919-1920

Before the season, Brooklyn Morse Dry Dock, Kearny Erie, Kearny Federal Ship,
Philadelphia Disston, and New York IRT were added.

                          GP   W   L   T  GF  GA Pts
Bethlehem Steel           15  12   1   2  34   9  25
Harrison Erie S. C.       16  11   2   3  37  21  24
Brooklyn Robins Dry Dock  14  1O   2   2  33  22  22
Paterson F.C.             15   7   1   7  23  29  15
New York F.C.             14   4   4   6  17  24  12
Brooklyn Morse Dry Dock   14   4   3   7  22  2O  11
Philadelphia Disston      12   2   2   8  16  19   6
Kearny Federal Ship       11   2   2   7  19  28   6
Philadelphia Merchant Ship13   O   3  1O   7  36   3
New York IRT               5   0   0   5   4  19   0

League champion:  Bethlehem Steel

New York IRT withdrew early in the season.  After the season, Brooklyn 
Morse Dry Dock, and Philadelphia Merchant Ship withdrew.

St. Louis Soccer League

Once again, the league race was a tight one, with a mere five points separating the four teams at the end of the season. Ben Millers and Innisfails finished tied with 23 points apiece, with the Millers winning on the strength of having fewer losses and more draws. Ben Millers and Scullin did a swap of places, trading first for last. Ben Millers then went on to complete a "double", taking the National Challenge Cup title (see below).

                 Final League Standings, 1919-20

                       GP   W   L   T   Pts
Ben Millers            21   8   6   7   23
Innisfails             21  10   8   3   23
St. Louis Screw        21   8   9   4   20
Scullins Steel         21   7  10   4   18

Champion:  Ben Millers

Southern New England Soccer League

With the war over, the SNESL resumed operations. Unfortunately, standings are not yet available for this season, although it is known that J&P Coates, Fore River of Quincy, Fall River Rovers and General Electric of Lynn, MA participated. The major challenge this season was rebuilding the rosters with the influx of returning servicemen from the war effort.

                     Final SNESL League Standings, 1919-20

                           GP   W   L   T   PTS
J & P Coats
General Electrics [Lynn]
Fall River Rovers
Fore River
(among other teams)

Amateur Leagues & Cups

Peel Challenge Cup (Chicago): Chicago Bricklayers
Field Club Soccer League (New York): Montclair A.C. (-0-3-12); Crescent Challenge Cup: Montclair A.C. defeated Merion C.C. 3-0 at Haverford, PA on April 24, 1920.
Rochester & District League: Rochester City Moose A.F.C.
New Jersey State Cup: Harrison Erie
West Pennsylvania Challenge Cup: Sturgeon
St. Louis Municipal League: St. Leo's
California Senior Association Cup: Olympic

The US National Team

The U. S. National team was inactive this year.

Olympic Games, 1920

The Olympic games, held in Antwerp, Belgium, did not see an American team take part in the soccer competition. Fifteen nations, mostly from Europe took part. England, the winner in 1912, was humbled and eliminated in the first round. Czechoslovakia, Holland, Belgium and France made it through the first two rounds, and Belgium defeated Holland 3-0, and Czechoslovakia defeated France 3-1 in the semifinals. A separate series between six also-rans produced a survivor (Spain) who defeated Holland for the bronze medal. The final between Belgium and Czechoslovakia was marred by controversy. There had been considerable grumbling over perceived biased refereeing in favor of the host country. For the final, the legendary John Lewis of England was chosen to referee the game. Although he had a long history of distinguished service, at age 72, he was simply too old to keep up the pace and the game was rife with unjustifiably rough play, and the Czechs left the field in disgust after forty minutes of play. With the default, Belgium took gold, and Spain moved up to take the vacated silver with Holland taking the bronze previously earned by Spain.

National Challenge Cup

On May 9, 1920, Ben Millers of the St. Louis League defeated Southern New England's Fore River, 2-1.

American Cup

Robins Dry Dock of Brooklyn defeated Bethlehem Steel, 1-0 to take the title.

International Tours

St. Louis Soccer Club to Scandinavia: August 1, 1920 through September 15, 1920. August 10, 1919 - September 24, 1919. Results: 7 wins, 5 draws, 2 losses.

Roster: A. J. Brady, Al McHenry, C. W. Bechtold, G. F. Schemel, Thomas O'Hanlon, William P. Quinn, George Corrigan, A. K. Ryan, L. E. Reilly, F. J. Vaughan, Ollie Fink, H. Marre (all of St. Louis), David E. Brown (Kearny, NJ), George Tintle (Harrison, NJ), Albert Blakey (Philadelphia), George Post ( (Kearny, NJ), Charles Ellis (New York City), Harry J. Ratican (Captain) (Brooklyn & St. Louis). Manager: Thomas W. Cahill.

8/1/20  St. Louis 3, Swedish Selected Team 2 (at Stockholm)
8/5/20  St. Louis 3, Djurgarden 1 (at Stockholm)
8/8/20  St. Louis 1, Swedish Olympic Selected team 1 (at Stockholm)
8/12/20 St. Louis 2, A.I.K. 2 (at Stockholm)
8/16/20 St. Louis 2, Swedish Olympic 5
8/18/20 St. Louis 2, All-Stockholm 2 (at Stockholm)
8/23/20 St. Louis 4, Northern Sweden Select 1 (at Gaffe)
8/25/20 St. Louis 1, All-Stockholm 3 (at Stockholm)
8/29/20 St. Louis 2, A.I.K. 0
9/1/20  St. Louis 3, Sleipner 1 (at Norrkoping)
9/5/20  St. Louis 3, All-Skane 1 (at Helsinborg)
9/8/20  St. Louis 2, All-Wastergortland 0 (at Boras)
9/12/20 St. Louis 3, G.A.I.S. 3 (at Gothenborg)
9/15/20 St. Louis 2, All-Gothenborg 2

The College Game

Intercollegiate Association Football League champion: Pennsylvania

Penn Intercollegiate Association Football League Champion: Swarthmore

College All Americans:
G - Cooper, Princeton
RF - Darrow, Pennsylvania
LF - Keyes, Princeton
RH - Hunt, Princeton
CH - Binns, Pennsylvania
LH - Muench, Haverford
OR - Bingham, Pennsylvania
IR - Spencer, Pennsylvania
CF - Stinson, Princeton
IL - Coburn, Yale
OL - Dowlin, Pennsylvania

Last update: March 4, 2005

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