Welcome to the website for the Society for American Soccer History (SASH).
SASH was founded in 1993 by Sam T.N. Foulds, who was historian of the U.S. Soccer Federation from 1972 until his death at the age of 89 in 1994, just as the United States was about to host what would turn out to be the most successful World Cup since the tournament’s first edition in 1930.
The aims of the society were, and remain, simple: To encourage research into the history of soccer in the U.S. and to work to disseminate that research among the small but growing U.S. soccer history community as well as the general public.
The history of soccer in the U.S. is long, and it is no exaggeration to say the U.S. is among the oldest soccer playing countries in the world. Within a few short years of the publication of the Laws of the Game in 1863, association football games were being played here. Indeed, the first governing body for the game outside of the British Isles was the American Football Association, founded in Newark, N.J. in 1884.
The long history of soccer in the U.S. is one marked by great triumphs as well as debilitating setbacks. That history is peopled by men and women who, whatever the disparities of their backgrounds or accomplishments, have been united in their love of the game. Soccer’s history in the U.S. is also, like the larger history of the country itself, one of immigration and assimilation, with each wave of new Americans adding to, sustaining, and invigorating the game and its place in the wider U.S. sporting landscape.
As has been the case with soccer in the U.S., much has changed in the study of U.S. soccer history since the founding of SASH some 21 years ago. The National Soccer Hall of Fame, with which SASH was closely associated upon its founding, is no more–its collections sit idle in storage at a warehouse in North Carolina. Gone too is the SASH newsletter, which, in the days before the Internet, was one of the few available sources of information about domestic soccer history.
Foundational research in U.S. soccer history has been done by SASH stalwarts such as Roger Allaway, Colin Jose, and David Litterer. With the Internet has come an explosion of both current and historical information about soccer in this country, aiding both research itself through the digitization of original source materials such as newspaper archives and the Spalding Guides, networking among working historians, and the dissemination of research through websites, message boards, and social media.
As the official public face of the Society for American Soccer History, it is our hope that the SASH website will increase awareness of our rich history through the publication of U.S. soccer history articles from society members and others. (If you’re doing research in U.S. soccer history, send us an email, we would love to hear from you.) We also hope to facilitate further research by providing resources such as links to essential sources of historical information, contact information for regional specialists, and best practices for initiating soccer history projects such as presentations at local historical societies and public libraries, as well as at walking tours.
Three other projects for the coming year are making electronic copies of past SASH publications available on the website, providing information about members of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, and renewing the U.S. Soccer History Symposium at NSCAA Convention in Baltimore in January 2016.