Howard University soccer team pictured in 1930, the first year of varsity competition in the sport at the historically black college in Washington D.C.
In issue one of XI, Tom Dunmore tells the groundbreaking and remarkable story of Howard’s soccer team, who in the 1970s became the first NCAA champions from a predominantly black college.
Photo courtesy of the National Museum of American History’s Addison N. Scurlock collection.
A lovely shot of the Timbers Army tifo display last night before the Portland-Seattle game, taken by XI photographer Steven Lenhart.
A soccer player, G.C. Jeffery, goes up for a header on a field in Chicago, 1905. Photo published in the Chicago Daily News.
Source: Chicago History Museum
Does a free-kick go in if there is no-one there to see it?
19 May 2012: Carolina’s Austin da Luz (7) sends his free kick over the Puerto Rico wall towards Puerto Rico’s Richard Martin (ENG) (1). The Carolina RailHawks and the Puerto Rico Islanders played to a 1-1 tie at WakeMed Soccer Stadium in Cary, NC in a 2012 North American Soccer League (NASL) regular season game.
American star John Souza, pictured 31st March 1950 in St. Louis, Mo., before a game against the champions of Turkey. A native of Fall River, Mass., he led club side Ponta Delgada to back-to-back US Open Cup finals in 1946 and 1947 (winning the title in the latter year).
Souza played 16 times for the US men’s national team, scoring twice and taking part in the Americans’ famous victory over England at the 1950 World Cup. Souza died aged 91, on March 11th 2012.
Creative poster produced for the Baltimore Bohemians inaugural game (in USL-PDL). There’s an interesting diary of Baltimore’s unusual branding and launch plans over at The Classical.
14 April 2012: Match balls are set up for pregame warmups. The Carolina RailHawks played the Atlanta Silverbacks to a 4-4 tie at WakeMed Soccer Stadium in Cary, NC in a 2012 North American Soccer League (NASL) regular season game.
25 September 2011: UNC players on the bench yell out “Tar”, prompting fans in the stands (not pictured) to respond with “Heels”. The University of Virginia Cavaliers defeated the University of North Carolina Tar Heels 1-0 in overtime at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in an NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer game. UNC players wore special pink jerseys for the game to be auctioned off as part of a fundraiser for the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
04 June 2011: A banner supporting the U.S. team based on an old war propaganda poster. The United States Men’s National Team played the Spain Men’s National Team at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts in an international friendly soccer match.
In 1975, this photo (captioned “Three’s Company”) by George Tiedemann - an Icelandic immigrant to the U.S. who became a renowned soccer photographer - won first place in the Sports Action Picture Category at the 1975 National Press Photographers Association annuals awards. The picture is from an NASL game between the Baltimore Comets and the St. Louis Stars.
Another look back at the Soccer America archives (click the image to zoom in): in November 1972, the roadmap for soccer’s future in the U.S. was very much up for the debate. The author argues here for the college and semi-pro levels to make smart choices and for the future benefits youth soccer’s explosion would bring, allowing soccer to stand alongside American football now “the program of professional soccer has seen its worst days” (not foreseen were the dark days to come between the NASL’s demise in 1984 and the launch of MLS in 1996).
The writer cheerily concludes: “Football is still King, but watch out; the foot in soccer will soon be matched with head play and then many kings will reign.”
On June 20th 1977, the New York Times reported that the largest crowd to ever attend a soccer game in the United States had the previous day watched the New York Cosmos’ 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Giants Stadium, aided by a Pelé hat-trick. In a follow-up report a few weeks later in the Times, Tony Kornheiser (yes, that Tony Kornheiser) wrote that the Cosmos’ GM Mike Martin “was shivering with excitement” when the crowd was announced, and that LA Aztec’s owner John Chaffetz had “tears brought to my eyes” when he saw the above photo in the Times the next day.
The hyperbole did not stop there. The US Soccer Federation’s General Secretary Kurt Lamm told Kornheiser that “When they write the history of soccer in this country, that afternoon will be Day One in all the books.”
NASL Commissioner Phil Woosnam gustily predicted that “In as few as five years, but in no more than 10, soccer will become the biggest pro sport in this country, bigger than football.”
Kornheiser, after also reviewing the remarkably rapid growth of youth soccer in the U.S. throughout the 1970s, concluded himself that “Soccer is…in the infant stage of a boom that may leave it unmatched among team sports in this country. It is no longer an “immigrant” sport but suddenly something as American as, say, baseball.”
Yet, there was one downbeat section to Kornheiser’s report: soccer was not, he noted, proving popular in the inner-cities, while it was generally most popular in cities not noted for their ethnic minorities. “The inner-city youth looks to high-paying professional sports such as basketball and football for upward mobility out of the ghetto,” Kornheiser observed, also saying awareness of the sport remained low in cities due to the lack of television coverage. In places where soccer was traditionally popular with ethnic groups, like Toronto and Chicago, NASL’s attendances couldn’t even reach four figures except for Pelé’s visits. Crowds across pro soccer were extraordinarily varied (in the NASL, from 34,150 in 1977 for the Cosmos down to 3,902 for the Connecticut Bicentennials).
While looking past the euphoria of 62,394 witnessing the Cosmos was hard to do, the future was perhaps not quite as shiny as it appeared in the magical summer of 1977 for North American soccer. “The coronation of professional soccer is premature,” Kornheiser wisely concluded.
- Tom Dunmore
We spy a WPS ball.
Several USWNT players amongst SI’s “40 greatest women athletes of Title XI era”, including Mia Hamm at #2.
This week, Sports Illustrated pays tribute to Title IX and its impact on women’s sports over the past 40 years.