National Soccer League (Chicago)

Maintained by David Litterer

There have been several amateir soccer leagues in the United States to go by the name of National Soccer League, but by par the most prominent is the National Soccer League of Chicago. The NSL was formed in 1920 as the International Soccer Football League of Chicago, with Frank Foldi as its first president. The league marched on through the 1920s as other local amateur leagues fell by the wayside. The International league gained much of its support from the local ethnic communities,. as opposed to the older leagues who focused more narrowly on british and irish communities. They also pioneered the development of junior leagues starting in 1930, which contributed to their long term stability.

By the late 1930s there were only two leagues remaining in Chicago, the International League and the Chicago Soccer League, which had been launched around 1904. Recognizing the strength from unity, the two leagues merged to form the National Soccer League in 1938. The National Soccer League (and its predecessor) for years was one of the top amateur leagues in the country, along with the St. Louis League, the German American League of New York and the Greater Los Angeles League. Chicago Sparta won the National Challenge Cup in 1938 and was a finalist in 1947, and Chicago Schwaben won the National Amateur Cup in 1964 and 1998, and the Kickers were a three time champion in 1964, 1966 and 1968. The Eagles likewise took the US Open Cup title in 1990, and the amateur cup in 1989, and were a finalist in 1994. NSL clubs have been perennial contenders and frequent champions in the Peel Cup and later versions of the Illinois State Championship.

Although the National League (like all other amateur leagues) has taken a lower profile since the modern advent of major league soccer in 1967, the league remains as one of the top three amateur circuits in the country with a long and proud history. Their web page is at:

National Soccer League Champions, Major Division: 1922--Sparta Union 1923--Olympia 1928--Sparta 1930--Sparta 1931--Sparta 1932--Sparta 1933--Sparta 1934--Sparta 1935--Sparta 1936--Sparta 1938--Sparta 1944--Hakoah Center 1948--Vikings 1949--PAAC (changed name after this season to Polish Eagles) 1950--Polish Eagles 1951--Slovak 1952--Slovak 1953--Ukrainian Lions 1954--(tie) Polish Eagles, Ukrainian Lions and Slovak 1955--Schwaben 1956--(tie) Polish Eagles, Ukrainian Lions and Schwaben 1957--Schwaben 1958--Schwaben 1959--Schwaben 1960--Schwaben 1961--Maroons 1962--Maroons 1963--Schwaben 1964--Kickers 1965--Hansa 1966--Kickers 1967--Schwaben 1968--Kickers 1969--Olympic 1970--Olympic 1971--Croatans 1972--Maroons/Ukrainian Lions (division winners) 1973--Croatian 1974--Ukrainian Lions 1982--Schwaben 1990--Schwaben Metropolitan Soccer League champions: 1982--A.A.C. Eagles 1983--A.A.C. Eagles 1984--Blau-Weiss 1985--A.A.C. Eagles 1986--Sparta 1987--A.A.C. Eagles 1988--A.A.C. Eagles 1989--A.A.C. Eagles 1990--A.A.C. Eagles 1991--A.A.C. Eagles

Last update: May 15, 2008

The USA Soccer History Archives are maintained by David Litterer

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