The Year in American Soccer - 1928

Written by Steve Holroyd (soccermavn@yahoo.com), with supplemental materials by David Litterer


American Soccer League

For the 1927-28 season, the ASL adopted a two part season, divided, appropriately, into halves. The league remained at 12 teams with the addition of Hartford, which offset the loss of Springfield. Indiana Flooring were purchased by Charles Stoneham, owner of baseballís New York Giants. As another ASL team was already using the "Giants" nickname, Stoneham had to settle for naming his new club the Nationals.

For the first time since Bethlehem Steel played under the Philadelphia aegis, it seemed that the City of Brotherly Love would be graced with a competitive football club. Philadelphia had been purchased by Fred McGuinness, who loaded his roster with top talent from Ireland. This team of Irish stars seemed likely to challenge for the championship. However, McGuinness had seriously overextended himself financially; by mid-October, the team went bankrupt, with its players dispersed around the league.

Hartford Americans also did not fare well. While including such gifted players as goalkeeper Tommy Blair and inside forward Arnie Oliver, the club struggled both on the field and at the gate. When Philadelphia dropped out, Hartford was essentially thrown out by the league in order to balance the schedule.

Not all of the member clubs were happy with the new arrangement, however, and tensions started to develop within league circles. Further, the new system was also symptomatic of the structural difficulties the league was experiencing.

The 30-game first half saw Boston edge Bethlehem and New Bedford to take the crown. The second half found Fall River finishing one point ahead of New Bedford, courtesy of a game in hand over the Whalers. However, the ASLís unique system of using winning percentage instead of total points resulted in New Bedford earning the second-half crown. Because of the two-part season, the ASL staged its first playoff series. Bethlehem Steel was disqualified for using Brooklyn goalkeeper Steve Smith without permission from the league, while New Bedford knocked out Fall River. In the single game championship, Boston defeated New Bedford to take its first ASL title.

Andy Stevens of New Bedford won his second scoring title, finishing one goal ahead of New York Giantsí Max Gruenwald. The Bethlehem tandem of Tom Gillespie and Archie Stark continued to be lethal, combining for 57 goals.

Stonemanís New York Nationals, while only going a combined 17-26-11 in league play, won the National Open Challenge Cup with a 3-0 win over the independent Chicago Bricklayers.

                 Final League Standings, 1927-28

                        1st half

Before the season, New York Nationals, Philadelphia and Hartford were added.

                       GP   W   D   L  GF  GA  PTS  PCT
Boston Wonder Workers  29  18   7   4  65  36   43  .741
Bethlehem Steel        29  18   5   6  70  49   41  .706
New Bedford Whalers    29  17   7   5  68  45   41  .706
Brooklyn Wanderers     29  13   9   7  68  50   35  .603
Fall River Marksmen    31  14   6  11  75  58   34  .548
New York Giants        30  13   6  11  73  57   32  .533
Providence Clamdiggers 30   9   8  13  47  59   26  .433
J & P Coats (Pawtucket)32   6   7  19  39  66   19  .297
Newark Skeeters        30   7   3  20  46  77   17  .283
New York Nationals     30   7   3  20  41  77   17  .283
Hartford Americans     11   4   2   5  14  14   10  .454
Philadelphia Celtic    10   2   1   7  17  35    5  .222

Playoff:   New Bedford defeated Bethlehem, 2-0.

Philadelphia was suspended in October after 10 games.
Hartford was asked to resign in October to balance the league.

                        2nd half

                       GP   W   D   L  GF  GA  PTS  PCT
New Bedford Whalers    25  13   8   4  52  31   34  .680
Fall River Marksmen    26  15   5   6  55  30   35  .673
New York Nationals     24  10   8   6  39  35   28  .583
Bethlehem Steel        23  10   6   7  43  31   26  .565
Boston Wonder Workers  22   9   6   7  41  34   27  .545
Providence Clamdiggers 26  11   5  10  41  46   27  .519
New York Giants        23  11   3  12  53  50   25  .481
Brooklyn Wanderers     25   9   3  13  39  52   21  .420
J & P Coats (Pawtucket)20   3   3  14  30  54    9  .225
Newark Skeeters        17   2   1  14  18  46    5  .147

Playoff:       Bethlehem Steel defeated New York Nationals 2-1, 4-0
Semifinals:    Boston defeated Bethlehem 3-1, 0-4 (on disqualification) 
               New Bedford defeated Fall River 3-1, 0-1
CHAMPIONSHIP:  Boston defeated New Bedford 4-2.
LEWIS CUP:     Bethlehem Steel defeated Boston Wonder Workers, 3-2, 2-2

Leading Scorers                   GP    G
Andy Stevens (New Bedford)           46   30
Max Gruenwald (New York Giants)      51   29
Tom Gillespie (Bethlehem Steel)      43   28
Arnie Oliver (Hartford/J&P Coats)    44   27
Archie Stark (Bethlehem Steel)       46   27
Johnny Nelson (Brooklyn/Fall River)  38   25
David Brown (New York Giants)        47   25
Dave McEachran (Fall River/Boston)   47   22
Tommy Florie (Providence)            50   22
Bobby Blair (Boston/Fall River)      42   21
Tec White (Fall River)               46   21
Bill Paterson (New Bedford)          34   20
Joseph Gregretsky (Brooklyn/Newark)  29   19
James McConnell (Bethlehem/J&P)      32   19
George Graham (Fall River/Brooklyn)  34   19
Billy Hogg (Newark/NY Giants)        39   19
Mike McLeavy (New Bedford)           36   17
Werner Nilsen (Boston)               46   17
Bobby Curtis (Brooklyn)              47   17
Harold Brittan (Fall River)          28   16
Moritz Haeusler (New York Giants)    42   16
Shamus OíBrien (New York Giants)     53   16
Barney Battles (Boston)              43   15
Jerry Best (New Bedford)             46   15
Red Ballantyne (New Bedford)         51   15
Billy Adair (Brooklyn)               54   15
Josef Eisenhoffer (Brooklyn)         43   14
Bobby Walker (New York Nationals)    47   14
Alec McNab (Boston)                  50   14
Johnny Jaap (Bethlehem Steel)        40   13
Johnny Ballantyne (Boston)           32   12
Erno Schwartz (New York Giants)      36   12
George Henderson (New York Nationals)32   11
John McKechnie (New York Nationals)  25   10
Bart McGhee (New York Nationals)     38   10
Andy Auld (Providence)               44   10
Alec Lorimer (New Bedford)           48   10
Alec Beattie (Providence)            48   10
Johnny Harvey (J&P Coats/Fall River) 54   10

Leading Goalkeepers
                                     GP    GA   S    GAA
Tommy Blair (Hartford)               11    14   2   1.27
Jack Davidson (32)/
Dave Solloway (19)(Boston)           51    70  16   1.37
Tommy Blair (29)/
Tommy Steel (24)(New Bedford)        53    76  15   1.43
Jimmy Douglas (29)/
Bill Harper (29)(Fall River)         57    91  14   1.60
Dave Edwards (31)/
Bobby Geudert (13)(Bethlehem)        52    84  12   1.62
Steve Smith (46)(Brooklyn)           54   102  12   1.89
Joe Kennaway (26)/
William Stevenson (14)(Providence)   56   107  11   1.91
Alex Fabian (38)/
Dave McClure (19)(NY Giants)         56   108   9   1.93
Pete Renzulli (32)/
Alex McMinn (21)(NY Nationals)       53   112   7   2.11
Findlay Kerr (42)(J&P Coats)         52   128   2   2.46
Tommy Murdoch (42)(Newark)           46   123   3   2.67
Alex McMinn (9)(Philadelphia)        10    35   0   3.50


St. Louis Soccer League

Ratican's got a new sponsor and became Tablers. They promptly surged to the top, winning the league title. White Banner was replaced by Morgan Haulers, who tied for last place with Ben Millers. Parity ruled this season, with three of the 4 teams within a point, and Tablers winning by a comfortable margin.

                  Final SLSL league standings, 1928


Before the season, Raticanís became Tablers

                       GP   W   L   T   GF  GA  Pts
Tablers                14   8   3   3   42  31  19
Wellstonís             14   5   6   3   27  28  13
Ben Millers            14   5   7   2   28  35  12
Morgan Haulers         14   3   5   6   22  25  12

Champion:  Tablers
Municipal League:  Angelica Motor's Club

Leading Scorers:                G
Buddy Brengle, Tablers         11
James McCarthy, Tablers         8
Al McHenry, Tablers             7
E. Hart, Wellston's             7
Flavin, Morgan Haulers          7
Joe Hennessey, Ben Millers      7
George Corrigan, Wellston's     6
Beano Ballam, Ben Millers       6
Bochnicek, Tablers              5
Ben Nash, Ben Millers           5
Harry Ratican's, Tabler/St. Mat.5
Lou Ahrens, Wellston's          4
Joe Hand, Morgan Haulers        4


Amateur Leagues & Cups

California Association Senior Challenge Cup: Thistle, San Francisco
John O. belis Perpetual Trophy: Sons of St. George
Peel Challenge Cup (Illinois): Sparta FC
National Soccer League of Chicago Sparta FC
New Jersey State Challenge Cup: Newark Portuguese
German-American Soccer League (New York): D.F.C. Newark (Premier Div.)
Rowland Cup (Maryland State): (unavailable)
West Penn Challenge Cup: Heidelberg; Junior Cup: Bridgeville Owls


The US National Team

The US was again determined not to miss any major international events, and quickly decided to send a team to the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam. George H. Burford was the coach/trainer and Elmer Schroeder was manager. Unfortunately, the USSF ignored previous advice to not throw a team together at the last minute. They did just that, having two tryouts and selecting players based on those quick sessions. The players were flown to Holland with no scrimmages under their belt. The hapless Americans faced a strong and basically professional Argentine squad on May 29, and were squashed 11-2. Ultimately, Uruguay won the gold, Argentina won the silver and Italy won the Bronze. Quickly eliminated from the Olympics, the US team went on a European tour. They opened by drawing 3-3 with Poland on June 10, and played a series of other clubs.

               USA National team results - full internationals

    1928 Totals:  0W,  1D,  1L
Jun 10 28  D 3-3  Poland                     Warsaw, Poland
               Ryan, Gallagher, Kuntner
May 30 28  L 2-11 Argentina                  Amsterdam, Netherlands(Oly'28)
               Findley (2)


National Challenge Cup

The ASL's New York Nationals defeated the Chicago Bricklayers in a two-leg final to take the cup. The first game was a 1-1 tie at the Polo Grounds in New York on April 8, followed by a 3-0 New York victory at Soldier Field in Chicago a week later. Siegfriend Wortmann scored goals for New York in both games.

Both semifinals were played on March 18, with New York Nationals beating another ASL team, J&P Coats of Pawtucket, R.I., 5-3, and the Bricklayers eliminating Ben Millers of St. Louis, 2-0. The quarterfinals, all played on Feb. 26, were New York Nationals 1, Brooklyn Wanderers 0; J&P Coats 2, Fall River Marksmen 1; Bricklayers 1, Chicago Sparta 0, and Ben Millers 4, Cleveland Magyar-American 3.


International Tours

Palestra Italia F.C., August 5, 1928 through September 5, 1928. Record: 6 wins, 4 losses

Palestra Italia was composed of players from Bologna, Brescia, Genoa, Leghorn, Milan, Padoga, Rome and Turin.

Roster: Ardizzone, Barbieri, Bellardi, Busini, Frisoni, S. Frisoni, Giulianni, Magnozzi, Morette, Pasolini, Pastore, Prosperi, Trivelline, Valentino, Zennello, Valerio. D. Rodriques manager.


8/5   Palestra 1, New York Stars 2 (New York City)
8/11  Palestra 8, Philadelphia Stars 3 (Philadelphia)
8/12  Palestra 3, New York Nationals 1 (New York City)
8/19  Palestra 2, Brooklyn Wanderers 3 (Brooklyn)
8/25  Palestra 1, New York Giants 0 (New York City)
8/26  Palestra 2, Fall River 4 (Tiverton, RI)
8/29  Palestra 5, New York Giants 3 (New York City)
9/2   Palestra 1, Sparta 5 (Chicago, IL)
9/3   Palestra 4, Detroit Stars 2 (Detroit, MI)
9/5   Palestra 1, Galicia F.C. 0 (New York City)

Glasgow Rangers F.C. May 30, 1928 through June 23, 1928. Record: 7 wins, 3 draws

Roster: A. Archibald, J. Buchanan, T. Craig, A. Cunningham, J. Fleming, D. Gray, W. Hair, R. Hamilton, T. Hamilton, J. Marshall, W. McCandless, R. McPhail, D. Meiklejohn, A. Morton, T. Muirhead, J. Simpson, W. Struth. Manager: J. Kerr.

5/30   Rangers 8, National League Select 2 (Brooklyn)
6/2    Rangers 4, Brooklyn Wanderers 0 (Brooklyn, NY)
6/3    Rangers 3, Fall River FC 0 (Providence, RI)
6/9    Rangers 9, Pittsburgh 0 (Pittsburgh, PA)
6/10   Rangers 5, Montreal 1 (Montreal, PQ)
6/13   Rangers 1, Detroit Stars 1 (Detroit, MI)
6/16   Rangers 7, Ulster United 0 (Toronto, ON)
6/18   Rangers 2, Boston 2 (Boston, MA)
6/20   Rangers 4, Illinois Stars 1 (Chicago, IL
6/23   Rangers 6, American Stars 0 (Brooklyn, NY)


The College Game

Intercollegiate Soccer Football Association Champion: Yale

California Intercollegiate Soccer Conference Champion: San Mateo Junior College

College All-Americans:

G -  Ruddy, Yale
RF - Lingelbach, Pennsylvania
LF - Johnson, Swarthmore
RH - Frazier, Haverford
CH - Sexton, Princeton
LH - Coles, Swarthmore
OR - Smith, Yale
IR - Bullard, Lehigh
CF - Rudy, Swarthmore
IL - Marshall, Penn State
OL - Olditch, Cornell


Other Action

1928 National Amateur Cup Final: Swedish Americans and Fall River Powers Hudson Essex played to a draw (score unknown) to share the trophy.


Last update: May 30, 2008

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