Dr. Scott is an Assistant Professor of African American, African Diasporic, and Sport History at Florida Atlantic University.
SASH Virtual Session on Friday, February 5 at 12 pm ET: “Gentlemen of Color”: Oliver and Fred Watson, the earliest known African American soccer players in the United States Updated with video
Ed Farnsworth and Brian Bunk will present their research on Oliver and Fred Watson, two Black players born in Rhode Island who played between 1894 and 1907.
Gentlemen of Color: Oliver and Fred Watson, the earliest known African American soccer players in the United States
Ed Farnsworth and Brian Bunk on Oliver “Allie” Watson and Fred Watson, two brothers from Rhode Island who between them from 1894 to 1901 were the first African Americans to play in a senior soccer league, to play and score in an American Cup match, win a league championship, and play for a professional team.
In the fall of 1922, Leonard H. Raney played on the first-ever varsity soccer team for Kearny High School. That New Jersey town, which would later be dubbed Soccer Town, USA, had long been a soccer hotbed. It was rare for African Americans to play soccer in the 1920s, and while African-American participation in the game still lags today, Raney was a soccer pioneer.
A look at Black players on the “Barrow School Socker Foot Ball Team,” champions of Springfield, Massachusetts’ Junior League in 1908.
Does a 1915 image of a soccer match in New York’s Central Park include black players?
Brian Bunk on Heron’s playing style.
Brian Bunk on Gil Heron, the first black professional soccer player in the United States.