American soccer writing, history & data.
The annual meeting of the California Association Football Union was held on September 23, 1905 in Foresters' Hall at 102 O'Farrell Street in San Francisco. Membership grew from seven to thirteen teams as the reach of soccer grew throughout northern California. The attendees agreed that amateurism was a priority and no club would attempt to evade amateur rules in order to gain players. It was agreed that players should pay their own personal expenses for things such as equipment and uniforms but the payment by clubs for legitimate expenses related to travel was permitted. Taliesin Evans was re-elected president of the CAFU. The CAFU also decided to withdraw from the Pacific Amateur Athletic Association. The grounds were mainly due to the lack of benefits derived from the Pacific Association relative to the money paid in dues. Moving forward, the CAFU itself would handle issues surrounding the registration of players as well as their amateur status.
The California Association Football League held its annual meeting a week later in the same building. Taliesin Evans was also re-elected president of the league. Sacramento A.F.C. was admitted to the league as the first club outside the Bay Area. The club was organized in early 1905. Edgar Pomeroy had traveled to Sacramento for business the previous winter and drummed up interest in soccer in that city. He was the founder of the club which played a few matches in the spring before he returned to the Bay Area and his Oakland Hornets team. The Pickwick team renamed itself as San Francisco. Two weeks later the Santa Cruz A.C. joined the league becoming the second non-Bay Area team in the competition, and a reorganized Scottish Thistle team, made up of many former Occidental players, also joined. But, just before the season started, the Thistles withdrew because the club was unable to find suitable grounds in San Francisco.
The season began on November 5 with seven clubs - Albion Rovers (with home grounds again at Freeman's Park in Oakland), the Vampires and Eagles (sharing the Webster Street cricket grounds in Alameda), the Independents (which continued to share Freeman's Park with the Albions), San Francisco (calling the Presidio Athletic grounds home), the Oakland Hornets (who also played at the Presido Athletic grounds), Sacramento (who played at Oak Park in that city), and Santa Cruz A.C. (whose home grounds where Vue de l'Eau Athletic Park in Santa Cruz).
In January of 1906, Edgar Pomeroy and Arthur Robinson formed the Bay Counties Saturday Association Football League. The competition was made up of a handful of clubs in and around the Bay Area which played at a lower level than the CAFL or did not want to play on Sundays.
The CAFL ended mid-March with the Oakland Hornets going undefeated over 14 matches. The Hornets only blemish was a draw to the Independents in late January. The Vampires and Independents each ended with 20 points, seven behind the Hornets.
The experiment of having teams in the league outside the Bay Area was not successful. As the season wore on, some teams decided not to make the train trip which meant postponements or forfeits. In January, the league decided that games in Sacramento should start at 12:30 instead of 2:30 pm because visiting players often missed the only train back to the Bay Area. Sacramento and Santa Cruz would not return for the following CAFL season. But, in May of 1906, plans were made to organize the Sacramento Valley Association Football League which would become the next competition to be admitted to the CAFU.
The CAFU cup competition began the week following the end of the CAFL season. The final was scheduled for April 22, 1906 at the Presidio Athletic grounds between current holders, the Independents, and the Albion Rovers. But four days before the scheduled match, the Great San Francisco Earthquake devastated the region. It would be two months before soccer returned.
On Sunday, June 17, the CAFL held a playoff for second place. The Independents beat the Vampires 6-1 at Freeman's Park. On July 8, at the same venue, the Independents blanked the Albion Rovers 6-0 to retain the CAFU cup. The original CAFU cup, donated by Frank Jones, president of the Independents, was burned at his home on Jessie Street in the fires that engulfed the area in the aftermath of the earthquake. A subscription list was opened to provide a fund for purchasing a new trophy. In addition, the medals won by the Oakland Hornets for winning the CAFL were also destroyed. New medals would have to be manufactured in Sacramento or elsewhere because no tools for die cutting were present in San Francisco or Oakland at that time.
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