SASH Session Review: Soccer in the South Central and Midwestern United States

On December 4, 2020, the Society for American Soccer History ended 2020 with its last First Friday SASH Session. This session was a panel about soccer in the South Central and Midwestern regions of the United States and featured advisory board member Patrick H. Salkeld, member of the Society and founder of Texas Soccer Journal Jeff Organ, and Dr. Rachel Allison, Associate Professor of Sociology and Affiliate of Gender Studies at Mississippi State University. Mr. Salkeld organized this panel to put a spotlight on an under-researched region of United States soccer history.

Patrick H. Salkeld started the panel with his presentation, “‘The Daddy and Guardian Angel of Soccer Football Here’: Thomas Corden Powell and Soccer in Topeka, Kansas, 1910-1918.” Thomas Corden Powell introduced organized adult soccer to Topeka in 1912 and donated the Tom C. Powell Cup for the Topeka Grade School Athletic Association’s 8th Grade Soccer Championship for the 1915 season, the first inclusion of soccer in the athletic association.

Jeff Organ presented his work, “Texas Soccer History in Three Stories.” He discussed early soccer history in San Antonio and Galveston and the contributions of Lamar Hunt to soccer in Texas.

Dr. Allison presented her work, “Patterns of Place: Origins of Professional Women Players and Reflections from the Midwest.” She briefly discussed the history of Dads’ Club, the Quad-City area (Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa and Rock Island, Moline and East Moline in Illinois) recreational sports organization, and Nancy Dirschel, who directs Dads’ Club and was the first female high school soccer head coach in the area. She also talked about her forthcoming article, “‘A Rich White Kid Sport?’ Hometown Socioeconomic, Racial, and Geographic Composition Among U.S. Women’s Professional Soccer Players” (co-written with Dr. Raymond Barranco) for Soccer & Society.

Patrick H. Salkeld moderated the question-and-answer period at the end of the session.

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