2020 SASH History Symposium Goes Virtual


The Society for American Soccer History hosted a virtual symposium to replace the symposium originally scheduled for the weekend of April 18-19 at Rutgers University-Newark last Friday, May 1, 2020.

In response to these extraordinary times, SASH held the first of two meetings via the video conferencing service Zoom.

David Kilpatrick began the proceedings with his exciting claim that New York City is the real home of football as he chronicled the role of the first “modern” football, invented by Charles Goodyear in 1844 and sold in his brother-in-law’s store in New York by 1845. In his talk “The Home of Football: Gotham and the Growth of the Game” Kilpatrick went on to give a veritable tour of New York footballing sites and stories.

At the 9:00 mark, Tom McCabe discussed the formation and early years of the oldest football association outside Britain. Founded in 1884 in New Jersey, the American Football Association (AFA) organized the game along the east coast and sponsored the AFA Cup, a knockout tournament modeled after England’s FA Cup. The AFA helped grow the game in several soccer towns, notes McCabe, including Paterson, Kearny, Fall River, Pawtucket, and Philadelphia.

Brian Bunk continued the discussion with a fascinating presentation on the players in the very first professional league in the United States, the American League of Professional Football. Bunk shared some findings from his newly-created database on the league and its players–one of the oldest pro leagues in the world.

At 34:00 NSHOF inductee George Brown shared memories from his soccer life which included playing alongside his World Cup veteran father, seeing Marilyn Monroe kick out the first ball at the Polo Grounds, and working with the NSHOF in Oneonta.

The session concluded with a question and answer period.

Session 2 of the SASH Symposium is scheduled for June 5, the first Friday of that month. Please join us.


  1. This was a great online session which I greatly enjoyed. The presentation of George Brown (comments on a series of picitures) was outstanding and I particularly enjoyed the picture of his collision with the great Mexican goalkeeper Antonio Carbajal, who played in 5 different World Cups (George mentioned 4). I am very much looking forward to the next session.

  2. Carbajal was just a massive presence in that picture. Also of note was George’s comments on how haphazard USMNT preparations were in those days–he hadn’t met two of the starting eleven before the match!

  3. Pingback: SASH’s Second Virtual Symposium: “Domestic Leagues and International Stories,” – Society for American Soccer History

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