Written by David Litterer (email@example.com)
Entering its 19th season, stability was the order of the day at the ASL. The major addition to the league was the addition of the venerable Newark Portuguese club (established in 1922) which had bought out the Kearny Celtic franchise. Portuguese was one of the most successful clubs in New Jersey for much of the 1920s and 1930s.
The regular season saw the Philadelphia Americans surge to the top to claim the league title, ending the Philadelphia Nationals' three year title streak. Outside of the Americans' surge, and Newark's finish in the middle of the league tables, this season was mostly a replay of last year; with Hakoah and Hispano bringing up the rear. However, this season featured one of the most exciting finishes in league history with 5 of the 8 teams within two points going into the final weekend. The Americans got that final win to grab the title by a single point, with THREE clubs (Kearny Scots, the Philly Nationals and Brookhattan) all tied for 2nd place. The Philly Nationals continued their winning ways however, winning the Lewis Cup., and heading to the finals of the U. S. Open Cup.
Dick Roberts led the league in scoring with 19 points. This season, the league announced that fans would vote for the Most Valuable Player, and ballots were included with the ASL News. Ben McLaughlin won the honor. Once again, the major events of the year were visits by touring European clubs, with the highlights being doubleheaders between Manchester United and Stuttgart Kickers on May 25 and Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur on June 15 (see results below under "international tours".)
Final League Standings, 1951-52 Metropolitan Division Before the season, Newark was added. G W T L GF GA PTS Philadelphia Americans 13 6 4 3 30 18 16 Kearny Scots 13 7 1 5 39 31 15 Philadelphia Nationals 13 7 1 5 36 31 15 Brookhattan 13 6 3 4 26 24 15 Newark Portuguese 12 4 5 3 40 36 13 New York Americans 12 5 1 6 22 21 11 Brooklyn Hakoah 14 4 2 8 31 41 10 Brooklyn Hispano 12 2 3 7 15 28 7 LEAGUE CHAMPION: Philadelphia Americans LEWIS CUP WINNER: Philadelphia Nationals LEADING SCORERS (Regular Season) Dick Roberts (Kearny Scots) 19 J. Calder (Newark Portuguese) 12 Joe Tait (Philadelphia Americans) 12 Most Valuable Player: Ben McLaughlin, Philadelphia Nationals New England Division GP W T L PTS Ludlow Lusitano 9 7 1 1 15 New Bedford Peaches 10 5 2 3 13 Fall River S.C. 9 3 2 4 10 Ponta Delgada 10 2 4 4 8 Hartford Scandia 10 2 6 2 6 Lusitania Recreation 10 1 5 4 6 (Somerville/Cambridge) Playoffs: Ludlow and Fall River advanced to the final. They played a 2-2 draw, but the 2nd game was never played.
The 1951-52 season saw the Slovaks, Eagles and Sparta retain their 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishes. Nexaca and Hansa made respectable finishes after promotion, although Maroons did not. By now, the NSL was expanding beyond the Chicago Metropolitan area, with clubs in Joliet, Rockford, Gary Indiana and Milwaukee, Wisconsin among other cities. The reborn Falcons won the First Division South, beating Milwaukee Brewers (the North champion) to take First Division honors. Falcons then went on to win the U. S. Open Cup. Slovaks beat Eagles 1-0 to win the Hines Trophy.
The 1952 Indoor Season was truncated, with 9 games rather than thirteen. The Lions and Slovaks battled through the season, finishing undefeated, with Lions winning by a point. Vikings and Hansa finished tied for third. A new club, Chicago SAC, won the First Division championship. The indoor season was marred by a baffling referee's decision which proved to be one of the most controversial rulings in some time. The Lions and Nexaca were in a scoreless draw with three minutes remaining. Referee Eli Korer awarded a foul against Nexaca for rough play. Don Stefanovich scored for the Lions on the free kick, but Korer ruled no goal on the basis of it being an indirect free kick. Under NSL's indoor rules, indirect free kicks are only awarded for infringements of the rules, designed to conform to the problems of indoor play, such as kicking the ball against the rafters. Later in his post-game report, Korer admitted his error, saying the score should have been 1-0 Lions; the Executive Board upheld this decision and ordered the remaining three minutes to be played.
Final League Standings, Major Division, 1952 GP W L T Pts Slovaks 14 8 3 3 19 Eagles 14 7 3 4 18 Sparta 14 8 4 2 18 Nexaca 14 5 4 5 15 Hansa 14 6 6 2 14 Lions 14 6 7 1 13 Schwaben 14 6 7 1 13 Maroons 14 0 12 2 2 PEEL CUP WINNER: Chicago Vikings
The GASL expanded, adding a Westchester division for this season. The season was one of the best in league history, with the favored German-Hungarian "Knitters" winning their second straight league title in a close race with Brooklyn, on the strength of a veteran crew including National Team members John and Ed Souza, as well as Fred Klomm, Billy Sturgess and Manny Horowitz.
The Knitters also won the New York State Cup by defeating the German-Americans. The Lithuanians, newcomers to the Premier Division, won that title in a rout, and won promotion to the Major "Big 12" Division. Eintracht Reserves won the Dr. Manning Cup, and the Lithuanians got to the Eastern finals of the National Amateur Cup, losing to Ludlow Lusitano. Meanwhile, little known Kollman Sport Club won the Eastern title of the National Junior Cup, and being declared co-national champions after the final series was cancelled. August Steuer was named President of the league.
Final League Standings, Major Division, 1952 GP W L T PTS German-Hungarians 21 16 3 2 34 Brooklyn 22 16 5 1 33 Swiss 20 11 4 5 27 Eintracht 21 10 8 3 23 Greek-Americans 21 9 9 3 21 Newark 19 8 8 3 19 Elizabeth 20 8 9 3 19 New York 22 7 10 5 19 Hota 22 6 12 4 16 Hoboken 22 6 12 4 16 Prospect Unity 22 7 15 0 13 Pfaelzer 22 4 12 5 13 BIG 12 CHAMPION: German-Hungarians PREMIER DIVISION CHAMPION: Lithuanians Reserve Division Champion: New York Reserves Premier Reserve Division: Schwaben B Division Champion: Eintracht
The St. Louis Raiders dominated both halves of the split season, winning the league title by 5 points over Simpkins. They went on to win the National Amateur Cup in good fashion. Raiders could have nabbed their third title, the US Open Cup, but the team, perhaps a little overconfident, lost to the Breheny club 1-0 in the second round. Meanwhile, Simpkins lost their bid for a third consecutive US Open Cup title when they lost to Harmarville of Pittsburgh on goal aggregate in a doubleheader split. St. Louis leagues maintained their all-American distinction - every player in the Major League was American-born. Several foreigners had tryouts, but none made the final cut.
A new league was launched this year, the American Soccer League of St. Louis, which featured four familiar names from the Municipal League, Kutis, Zenthoefers, Schumachers and Cardonlet. Kutis won the league title with a 12-2-3 record, and would go on to dominate St. Louis soccer for the remainder of the decade, and dominate on the national scene as well. Pastures A. C. won the Senior Division of the much reduced St. Louis Municipal league, with Craig Club #1 taking the Junior Division title.
At the end of the season, the Major League moved its games from Sportsman's Park to North Side Sports Arena. For decades, Sportsman's Park, the major league home of Baseball's St. Louis Cardinals and Browns, had been the primary venue for the premier leagues in St. Louis, including the Major league, and the old St. Louis Soccer League of the early 20th century.
St. Louis Major League standings, 1952 GP W L T GF GA PTS Raiders 21 15 4 2 65 28 32 Simpkins 22 12 6 4 54 32 28 Spicas 24 8 12 4 48 69 20 Brehenys 21 2 15 4 29 68 8 Municipal League Champion (Senior Division): Pastures Athletic Club
Pittsburgh remained one of the major centers of US soccer activity. Harmarville SC won the US Open Cup in an exciting series that saw them lose to Philadelphia Nations 4-3 at home, before trouncing their opponent on the road 4-1. During the games leading up to the final, they outscored their opponents 27-4. The National Amateur Cup was another story. The team, vastly overconfident, lost in a mudfest to Ellsworth of the Washington County League in an early round. Ellsworth went on to win the divisional title in the Cup competition. Morgan won the West Penn Cup and made a good run for the National Amateur Cup, ultimately falling in the late rounds to the St. Louis Raiders 3-2 and 3-2. Beadling Juniors, winners of the West Penn Junior Cup, lost to Philadelphia Midway A.A. in a well fought 2-1 battle (with four overtimes) in the Eastern Finals of the National Junior Cup.
The league seasons were somewhat of a fiasco as the newly established policy of unrestricted pre-season for league membership led to the Keystone League more than doubling in size, from 6 to 14 teams, largely at the expense of the Washington County League which fell from 20 to 12. The Keystone league was unable to complete their schedule, an unwieldy 20-game affair based on pro football. This was primarily due to the short season, and heavy involvement of member clubs in national and district cup tournaments.
To make matters worse, Harmarville, which was heavily favored to win the league title, eventually lost to arch-rival Morgan by a single point due to a mental lapse which caused Harmarville to forfeit a league game. Due to the extensive cup commitments of many teams, Morgan ended up benefiting from at least five forfeits from otherwise occupied teams. In a final irony, Morgan somehow ended up with 20 games in the final league standings, compared to 19 for everyone else. That extra game (most likely a win, given Morgan's 17-1-2 record) was enough to give them a 2 point lead for the league champion. The West Penn Association rules call for league seasons to end June 1, but this was ignored as the season dragged on until July 13.
The Washington County League, reeling from the loss of 8 clubs, primarily to the rival Keystone League, was able to complete their season in a timely manner (albeit with a few forfeits due to the abovementioned Cup commitments), but the playoffs were a fiasco. Roscoe was eliminated in the Division 2 run-off, but Dunlevy and Ellsworth got into such a fracas during their game that the league officials halted the game and cancelled the entire playoffs (ordinarily the most profitable part of the season from a financial standpoint). Much of the blame was laid on pre-season power politics.
1952 Keystone League Standings (1st Division) GP W L T Pt Morgan 20 17 1 2 35 Harmarville 19 16 2 1 33 Castle Shannon 19 11 6 2 24 Sturgeon 19 8 8 3 19 Curry 19 3 14 2 8 Moon Run 19 2 14 3 8 West Newton 19 1 15 3 5 Second Division Champion: Cecil (15-3-1-31) 1952 Washington County League standings (1st Division) GP W L T Pt Ellsworth 22 18 4 0 36 Bishop 22 16 4 2 34 Lincoln Hill 22 13 7 2 28 Van Voorhis 22 9 9 4 22 Cokeburg 22 4 17 1 9 Aveila 22 3 19 0 6
The National Team had a fairly quiet year. The USSFA had blown their opportunity to capitalize on their historic upset of England in the 1950 World Cup by refusing numerous offers to play other national teams. They did offer to play England home and away, with the second game to come in 1952, but England had reluctantly declined. Most activity came from the foreign teams touring the US.
One major event did come off however: The US's first trip to Scotland where they played on April 30 before the largest crowd ever to see the Nats on the field. At Hampden Park in Glasgow, the US took on Scotland before 107,765 raucous fans. The U.S. team was a far cry from the World Cup side. Only Frank Borghi, Harry Keough, Charlie Colombo, Walter Bahr, Ed Sousa and John Sousa. The team also featured other hall of famers, including Benny McLaughlin, Oscar Pariani, and Lloyd Monsen, but the team was hardly prepared. They had been assembled quickly, and received no training or conditioning. They only had one practice session, after they had arrived in Scotland, and had to enlist local people to conduct the session. Gil Heron, a standout player in Chicago and Detroit, possible the best American center at the time, now playing for Celtic, was in the crowd to cheer on his compatriots. Scotland was more talented and much better prepared, and they controlled the game from the first whistle. Only John Souza was up for the challenge. he created many scoring opportunities, but to no avail as Scotland trounced the US 6-0, and reasserted United Kingdom supremacy over the US in the soccer world. On May 2, the United States played an exhibition match against a League of Ireland all-star side, losing 4-0. Desmond Glynn scored three goals in the match and had 1 assist.
The major competition of the year was the Olympics. Interestingly, the USSFA generally left the management of the full National team to the auspices of the ASL, but took more interest in the Olympic Squad, noting the increased attention the press was giving to the Olympics. Under the direction of John Wood, coach, and Walter Giesler, manager, tryouts were conducted which produced 15 players for the squad, including many top players who had retained their amateur status, including Bill Sheppell, John Souza, Harry Keough, Charlie Columbo, Ruben Mendoza and Lloyd Monsen. Six players were from St. Louis. Despite the lesson of the Scotland fiasco, the Olympic team received relatively little preparation: two scrimmages in New York, and two friendlies: Losses to France (2-1) and Egypt (4-1). Because of the large pool of entries, qualifiers were necessary, and the US had the bad luck to be paired off against Italy, which blew away the poorly prepared Americans 8-0 on July 16, 1952. Italy was eliminated in the second round by eventual gold-medal winner Hungary. Yugoslavia won the silver and Sweden won the bronze. The US went on to win some exhibition games against India, Brazil (Olympic squad), and Kotka Workers Club, the Finnish league champion.
After the Olympics, US officials traded ideas on how to avoid these embarrassments. They noted that other national teams train as a unit for 1-6 months before major competitions. Given the impossibility of training a team that long, Walter Giesler made the revolutionary suggestion that the Olympic Soccer Committee choose the Amateur champions and the College outstanding eleven. Those two sides would play a game, and the winners would represent the US in Olympic competition. However, the idea was not adopted.
1952 National team results 1952 Totals: 0W, 0D, 2L Jul 16 52 L 0-8 Italy +Tampere, Finland (OLQ'52) Apr 30 52 L 0-6 Scotland 107,765 Glasgow, Scotland
Stuttgart Kickers of Germany: May 4, 1952 through May 28, 1952. Record: 7 wins, 1 loss, 1 draw.
Roster: Gerhard Bechtold, Willie Boehmerie, Erich Dreher, Werner Gromer, Dieter Grossman, Johann Herberger, Reinhold Jackstell, Siegfried Kronenbitter, Rolf Lechler, Hans Maier, Alex Pflum, Fred Seizler, Horst Schad, Walter Schumacher, Fritz Vogler. Coach: Fritz Kerr. Willie Klumpp, Manager.
5/4 Stuttgart Kickers 4, German-American League Stars 3 (Randalls Island, New York City) 5/9 Stuttgart Kickers 8, Michigan Stars 2 (Detroit, MI) 5/11 Stuttgart Kickers 10, National League Stars 3 (Chicago, IL) 5/15 Stuttgart Kickers 2, Eintracht/German-Gungarian 1 (Astoria, Queens, NYC) 5/18 Stuttgart Kickers 10, Philadelphia Stars 2 (Philadelphia) 5/21 Stuttgart Kickers 9, Capital District Stars 4 (Albany, NY) 5/23 Stuttgart Kickers 5, Brooklyn SC 4 (Brooklyn, NY) 5/25 Stuttgart Kickers 2, Manchester United 5 (Randalls Island, New York City) 5/28 Stuttgart Kickers 2, Newark/Elizabeth/Hoboken 2 (Union City, NJ)
Manchester United of England: May 9, 1952 through June 15, 1952. Record: 10 wins, 2 losses, 0 draws.
Roster: Allen, John Aston, John Berry, John Blanchflower, Roger Byrne, John Carey, Allen Chilton, Frank Clempson, Harry Cockburn, Jack Compton, John Downie, Don Gibson, Mark Jones, Tom McNulty, Harry McShane, Stan Pearson, Jack Rowley, Jeff Whitefoot. Manager: Matt Busby. Trainer: Tom Curry. William Crickner, Secretary.
5/8 Manchester United 4, New Jersey Stars 0 (Kearney, NJ) 5/11 Manchester United 4, Philadelphia Stars 0 (Philadelphia, PA) 5/18 Manchester United 10, Montreal Stars 0 (Montreal, PQ) 5/21 Manchester United 5, American League Stars 1 (Randall's Island, New York City) 5/21 Manchester United 11, Fall River Stars 1 (Fall River, MA) 5/25 Manchester United 5, Stuttgart Kickers 2 (Randall's Island, New York City) 5/27 Manchester United 6, Chicago All-Stars 1 (Chicago, IL) 6/1 Manchester United 2, Atlas of Mexico 0 (Los Angeles, CA) 6/8 Manchester United 4, Atlas of Mexico 3 (Los Angeles, CA) 6/12 Manchester United 4, Ulster United 2 (Detroit, MI) 6/14 Manchester United 0, Tottenham Hotspurs 5 (Toronto, ON) 6/15 Manchester United 1, Tottenham Hotspurs 7 (Yankee Stadium, New York City)
Tottenham Hotspurs of England: May 22, 1952 through June 18, 1952. Record: 10 wins, 0 losses, 0 draws
Roster: Chris Adams, Eddie Baily, Les Bennett, Ron Burgess, Harry Clarke, Ted Ditchburn, Len Duquemin, Eddie Gibbins, Tommy Harmer, Sid McLellan, Les Medley, Bill Nicholson, Alf Ramsay, Dennis Uphill, Sonny Walters, Ralph Wetton, Arthur Willis, Charlie Withers. Manager: Arthur Rowe.
5/22 Tottenham Hotspurs 7, Toronto & District Stars 0 (Toronto, ON) 5/28 Tottenham Hotspurs 18, Saskatchewan Stars 1 (Saskatoon, SK) 5/21 Tottenham Hotspurs 9, Mainland Stars (Vancouver, BC) 6/2 Tottenham Hotspurs 7, Victoria & District Stars 0 (Victoria, BC) 6/4 Tottenham Hotspurs 8, Mainland Stars 2 (Vancouver, BC) 6/7 Tottenham Hotspurs 11, Alberta Stars 0 (Calgary, AB) 6/9 Tottenham Hotspurs 5, Manitoba Stars 0 (Winnipeg, Man) 6/14 Tottenham Hotspurs 5, Manchester United 0 (Toronto, ON) 6/15 Tottenham Hotspurs 7, Manchester United 1 (New York, NY) 6/18 Tottenham Hotspurs 8, Quebec Stars 0 (Montreal, PQ)
San Francisco Stars to Canada: May 10, 1952 through May 18, 1952. Record: 0 wins, 3 losses, 0 draws.
5/10 San Francisco Stars 1, Vancouver Stars 5 (Vancouver, BC) 5/11 San Francisco Stars 1, Victoria United 3 (Victoria, BC) 5/18 San Francisco Stars 4, Vancouver Stars 6 (San Francisco, CA)
U. S. Intercollegiates to Bermuda: December 21, 1952 through January 1, 1953. Record: 2 wins, 3 losses, 0 draws.
Roster: Roland T. Addis (Dartmouth), George Boateng (Cornell), Joseph Devaney (Pennsylvania), Paul Dietche (Co-Capt.-Yale), Robert Drawbaugh (Dartmouth), Jaime Ginard (Cornell), Jackson Hall (Co-Capt.-Dartmouth), Donald Hertan (Cornell), Bart Lachelier (Yale), William Lewing (Cornell), Peter Parker (Yale), John Rice (Dartmouth), Richard Roberts (Dartmouth), James Shoffner (Cornell), Roy Tellini (Cornell). Manager: Ross Smith (Cornell). coach: Tom Dent (Dartmouth).
12/21 Intercollegiates 3, Bermuda Athletic Association 1 12/23 Intercollegiates 1, Army/Navy 2 12/26 Intercollegiates 4, National Sports Club 2 12/28 Intercollegiates 1, Bermuda Football league 8 1/1/53 Intercollegiates 2, Bermuda Football Confederation 8
All-Jewish Stars to World Maccabi Games in Israel: Results not available
In January 1952, the final College Soccer Bowl was held, determining the champion of the 1951 season. Although this attempt to hold a true national championship was a notable success, it was still hobbled by charges of favoritism since selection committees determined who would compete, and only four teams were chosen to participate. At least this year, the ISFA did not stoke controversy in their designation of top team of the year. They chose Temple as 1951's best team immediately after they won the Soccer Bowl, a 2-0 victory over University of San Francisco before 10,000 fans at Kezar Stadium. For 1952, it was back to the champion being selected by vote of the Intercollegiate Soccer Football Association.
One major rule change took place: The offside rule was made to apply to kick-ins. When the indirect free kick replaced the throw-in in 1950, the result was a lot of bruised shins and hard body contact, and this was expected to rectify the problem. In later years, These rules innovations were largely abandoned, restoring a level of sanity to the games.
During the 1952 season, foreign players began to make a larger impact on the college scene, but little known Franklin & Marshall College, relying entirely on native talent, outscored opponents 33-4 in 9 games to win the Middle Atlantic title and the ISFA designation as the nation's best team of 1952. Temple's Jack Dunn and Baltimore's Larry Surock made the US Olympic Team, and an all-star Ivy League team toured Bermuda racking up 2 wins and 3 losses against superior competition. The Ivy League launched their soccer conference this year.1952 College Conference Champions:
Soccer Bowl, 1952 (1951 season championship): Temple defeated San Francisco 2-0 before 10,000 at Kezar Stadium. Intercollegiate Soccer Football Association (ISFA): Franklin & Marshall College California Intercollegiate Soccer Conference: San Francisco Ivy League: Army Mason-Dixon Conference: Baltimore Metropolitan Intercollegiate Soccer Conference: Brooklyn Middle Atlantic States Athletic Conference: Franklin & Marshall (southwest Div.), Swarthmore (northeast div.) - Franklin & Marshall won playoff. Midwestern Conference: Earlham New England Intercollegiate Soccer League: Dartmouth Rocky Mountain College Conference: School of Mines (Fall, 1951); Denver Turners (Spring, 1952) Southern California Soccer Association: Cal Tech
College All-American Squad, 1952:Goal Will Ferguson, Kenyon Right Fullback Charles Ufford, Harvard Left Fullback Jackson Hall, Dartmouth Right Halfback Joseph Marshall, Springfield Center Halfback Joseph Moulder, Oberlin Left Halfback Charles Butts, Springfield Outside Right Carl Yoder, Franklin & Marshall Inside Right Jack Dunn, Temple Center Forward Joseph Devaney, Pennsylvania Inside Left David Strauch, Duke Outside Left Anthony Puglisi, West Chester
1952 US Open Cup Final: Pittsburgh Harmarville of Pittsburgh region, defeated the ASL's Philadelphia Nationals on June 1 and 17, 3-4 and 4-1, to win on goals aggregate.
1952 National Amateur Cup Final: St. Louis Raiders defeated Ludlow Lusitano 4-3. The Junior Cup was awarded to co-champions Killsman S.C. of Brooklyn and Lions S.C. of Chicago.
Canadian National Champion: Montreal Stelco defeated New Westminter Royals in Winnipeg to win the Canadian Challenge Cup.
National Soccer Hall of Fame: In 1952, the Hall inducted James Armstrong, Joseph Booth, Jack Johnson, William Palmer, Joseph Tintle, and Joseph Triner.
Last update: October 12, 2009
Back to American Soccer History Archives main page