SASH Session review: The Scotch Professor Network


The Society for American Soccer History marked the beginning of the July 4th weekend with the very first First Friday SASH Session. The Scotch Professor Network presentations all looked to correct the historical fallacy that the English invented the modern game — it was indeed an independence day of sorts.

Moreover, look to the Society for soccer-related content every first Friday of the month. On August 7 Beau Dure will discuss his new book, 2012: The Year that Saved Women’s Soccer (2020).

Society member and director David Kilpatrick hosted the event as he had contacts with the three presenters from Scotland who are the backbone of the Scotch Professor Network: Graeme Brown, Ged O’Brien and Jim Mackintosh.

“This network has a straightforward mission. Build a global team of like-minded individuals, who understand how Scotland created the modern passing game of football and exported it to the world. Everywhere the Scots went, they took their beloved game and encouraged the local communities to learn it. These icons of the 19th and 20th century were known as the Scotch Professors, founding football leagues, cup competitions, rulebooks and were at the heart of international football,” reads the mission statement.

The Network has a website at and a social media presence with the tag #ScotchProfessors.

Mr. Brown began the string of presentations by explaining his efforts to resurrect the three Hampden Parks in Glasgow, Scotland.

At the 15:11 mark, Ged O’Brien began his talk, “The Scotch Professor: A Half Hidden History.” It is a fiery corrective of the Anglocentric narrative of global soccer history.

The #ScotchProfessorNetwork has a poet-in-residence, and at 25:55 Jim Mackintosh ruminated on the importance of both poetry and football in our lives.

David Kilpatrick then brought the tale across the Atlantic Ocean beginning at 37:12. His framework, “Tartan Threads Woven into US Soccer History,” set the stage for the impact of the Scotch Professors on their American cousins.

Tom McCabe pulled at the same thread with his talk on Kearny, New Jersey, and how it can be considered an American Soccer Brigadoon, a small Scottish village where soccer was woven into the fabric of everyday life. (48:46)

First time presenter and Society member Scott Hollander began his illuminating talk at 1:00:16 and discussed the Scottish-American influences on the game in Western New York.

Finally, SASH vice-president James Brown discussed the Scottish influence of the United States’ most successful team in the men’s FIFA World Cup. His presentation on the 1930 squad begins at the 1:10:45 mark.

The day’s presentation surely helped highlight the claim of the Network: “The term Scotch Professor must enter back into common footballing language, and we need a team of people across the world telling this story.”

The Society was thrilled to start building a bridge, and an understanding, across the ocean that the Scottish influence on American soccer, just like the rest of the world, is considerable.

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