Monday, April 21, 2008

The Long History of All-Star Games in American Soccer

I mentioned this issue on a recent episode of World Soccer Wrap: Serie A . . . Folks, there is a long history of American soccer all-star teams playing foreign travelling teams, as well as American club teams playing these travelling teams. Also, little known, is that U.S. all-star teams and some club teams did some international traveling of their own. For example:

1909 - The Pilgrims from England toured the U.S. and played all-star teams representing New York, Baltimore, Pennsylvania League, and the New York Amateur League, as well as several club teams. The Pilgrims were essentially an all-start team from England with players from clubs such as West Ham United, Arsenal, Sheffield United, Queens Park, Rotherham Town F.C., Fulham, and Falkirk F.C., among others.

1911 - The famed Cornithians F.C. played all-star teams from Chicago and New York, as well as Toronto and Ontario, as well as several club teams.

1916 - The U.S. Football Association's All-American Soccer Football Club toured Sweden and Norway.

1919 - Not so much an all-star team, but Bethlehem Steel toured Sweden and Denmark - with a record of 6 wins, 6 draws, and 2 losses.

1920 - The St. Louis Soccer Club, made up of players from St. Louis, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York, toured Scandinavia - with a record of 7 wins, 5 draws, and 2 losses.

1921 - The All-Scots of Scotland played several club teams in the U.S.

1924 - The Corinthians returned to play several Philadelphia clubs and a Brooklyn club.

1926 - This year saw both the Hakoah All-Stars of Vienna and Sparta F.C. play U.S. all-star teams and club teams. Additionally, Worcester, Mass. played some travel games in England and Germany.

1927 - Featured the return of the Hakoah All-Stars of Vienna to the American shores, as well as matches by Maccabi F.C., Real Madrid, National of Uruguay, and Worcestershire of England. Meanwhile, New York's Viking F.C. travelled to Norway and Sweden.

1928 - Palestra Italia F.C. and Glasgow Rangers F.C. traveld to the U.S. to play all-star and club teams. Palestra was a bit of an all-star team, made of players from Bologna, Brescia, Genoa, Milan, Padoga, Rome, and Turin.

1929 - Preston North End, which was in the English 2nd Division at the time, and Sabaria from Budapest both traveled to the U.S., while Worcester, Ma. toured in England.

1930 - Argentina's Sportivo F.C. played the Hakoah All-Stars before a crowd of 5,000 at the Polo Grounds in New York, with the American side winning the match 1-0. Meanwhile Hungaria F.C. (M.T.K.) , Marte F.C. from Mexico City, Kilmarnock F.C., Worcestershire of England, and Scotland's Rangers all toured and played against all-star teams and club teams. Meanwhile the ASL's Fall River Marksmen toured Czechoslovakia, Austria, and Hungary; the ASL's Hakoah All-Stars toured Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay; and Germania Milwaukee toured Germany.

That's just a small look at the history of touring clubs and all-star teams in American Soccer History. The post-war years saw several visits from clubs like Manchester United, Liverpool, A.C. Milan, Celtic, and Inter Milan, among others.

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