Soccer Almanac

American soccer writing, history & data.

CAFL 1903-04 season

July 25, 2022 |  Categories:  CAFL  

The annual meeting of the California Association Football League was held on September 4, 1903 in the British American Union rooms in San Francisco's Emma Spreckels Building (now the Central Tower). Taliesin Evans was re-elected president, Henry Roberts was re-elected secretary, and Edgar Pomeroy was elected treasurer. The San Francisco club had disbanded soon after the 1903 season ended. The four remaining CAFL teams were joined by new clubs Occidental A.C. of San Francisco, a team from the Sons of St. George, Pickwick Lodge, No. 259 of San Francisco, French A.F.C. of San Francisco, and the Oakland Hornets.

The latter club was a reorganization of the old Oakland F.C. and had many of its old players back from other CAFL clubs. The Oakland club was organized by members of the Oakland Y.M.C.A. in 1890 to play rugby. The next summer, as the Oakland F.C., the team adopted soccer. The club did not join the Pacific Coast Association Football League that existed from 1892 to 1894 but played independently. The club played off and on until 1900 when the sport of soccer faded in the Bay Area. Edgar Pomeroy left the American-British Rifles team to help reorganize the Hornets. The reason for adding the Hornets name was to prevent confusion and make sure there was no identification of the soccer club with the Oakland baseball team which was a professional organization. Many of the best players on the Rifles were former members of the Oakland F.C. and joined the Hornets. The A-B Rifles disbanded prior to the league season due to the loss of most of their personnel.

That same evening the delegates of the eight clubs took preliminary steps toward organizing the California Association Football Union. At a following meeting on October 15, seven clubs were admitted for the 1903-04 season of the CAFL: Albion Rovers (the renamed Albion Lodge team); Independents; Oakland Hornets; Occidental A.C.; Pickwicks; Vampires; and the Scottish Thistle A.F.C. The latter team was organized by Forrest, formerly of the A-B Rifles. The club acquired most of the Scottish players in San Francisco and was sponsored by the San Francisco Scottish Thistle Club. The French club, a team of athletes from the French colony in San Francisco, was unable to make up a team and its best players joined the Vampires.

At that same meeting, an Association Football Referees' Association was formed and the CAFU adopted a constitution and by-laws and elected officers for the year. Taliesin Evans was elected as president of the CAFU. As founded, the CAFU exercised jurisdiction over all soccer leagues formed in California and instituted a cup competition for all affiliated clubs. Albion Rovers president Frank Jones donated a $300 cup to be given to the winner of each season's CAFU competition. It was also decided that players of all soccer clubs affiliated with the CAFU must be registered in the Pacific Amateur Athletic Association. Soccer in the Bay Area would be a purely amateur game through the entire history of the CAFL.

The CAFL played a 12 game round robin series beginning in November 1903 and running through February 1904. Games were played on three grounds: the Presidio athletic ground (shared by the Independents, Pickwicks and Thistles); Idora Park in Oakland (home of the Rovers and Hornets); and the Webster Street cricket grounds in Alameda (shared by the Vampires and Occidentals). The Independents lease of the Presidio grounds meant it was the first club in the CAFL to secure a permanent home in San Francisco. The Thistle club proved to be the class of the league. They took the title by going undefeated and only drawing once to the second place Vampires.

The seven CAFL clubs were the only teams to take part in the inaugural CAFU cup. The Independents scored an upset in the final beating the Thistles 2-1 on March 27, 1904 on the Presidio athletic ground.

©2022 by Daniel Creel. All rights reserved.