Soccer Almanac

American soccer writing, history & data.

CAFL 1909-10 season

Aug. 2, 2022 |  Categories:  CAFL  

During the offseason before the 1909-10 California Association Football League season the Building Trades A.A. and Scotia F.C. clubs disbanded. A majority of the defunct Scotia club moved to a new club, United Caledonians, which was an offshoot of the Caledonian Club. The United Caledonians replaced the Scotia club in the CAFL.

A bigger shakeup in the league involved the Oakland Hornets. The Barbarian A.C. of San Francisco held its annual meeting on August 25, 1909. During the meeting the entire Hornets team decided to merge into the Barbarian organization. Barbarian A.C. played a number of sports, namely rugby, but not soccer. During that meeting Edgar Pomeroy was elected secretary of the Barbarian club. As a result of the merger, Barbarian A.C. took over the Hornets' place in the CAFL.

The Barbarians hit rocky ground just a week into the CAFL season. On Thursday, October 7, 1909, at a meeting at 1082 Fulton Street in San Francisco, all of the officers of the Barbarian A.C. were forced out through a vote of lack of confidence. The officers handed in their resignations and a secretary pro tem was elected. The split in the ranks of the organization was a result of the absorption of the Hornets soccer team into the Barbarian club. That caused friction between the rugby and soccer devotees. The Barbarians started as a rugby team and later took on other sports. It was a request of the Barbarians that the Hornets' manager Edgar Pomeroy consented to allow his team to become part of the Barbarian A.C. The merger went against the wishes of a number of veteran members of the Barbarian club. In addition, Pomeroy was charged with being too active in the affairs of the Olympic and Reliance clubs and with living in Oakland. New officers were elected at the club's next meeting on October 19.

With no changes from the CFA, the executive committee of the Albion Rovers refused to let the team take the field at the Presidio athletic grounds against the Burns Club on March 6 in the first round of the cup.

In early March, during the week of the first CFA cup match, the Albion Rovers, Vampires and Thistles agreed to only pay $25 to used the Presidio athletic grounds for cup matches. They also demanded that all proceeds, minus expenses, be divided among the competing teams and that half of the cup games would be played in Alameda County. The teams stated they would withdraw from the cup tournament if their demands were not met.

The eight-team CAFL began play on the first weekend of October. The Albion Rovers shared their home ground of Freeman's Park with the Thistles. The Vampires moved from their long-time home at the Alameda cricket grounds to the Fruitvale baseball grounds in Oakland. The Independents shared those grounds. The Barbarians and Burns Club shared the Alameda cricket grounds as their home venue. And, San Francisco and the United Caledonians shared the Presidio athletic grounds.

A couple of weeks into the season, the California Football Association scheduled a game during Portola week between a team of British Columbian stars and a picked team from the CFA. The game was advertised as the soccer championship of America. On Saturday, October 23, the All-California team beat the British Columbia team 2-1 at the stadium at Golden Gate Park before 5000 spectators. All-California received a trophy emblematic of the Pacific coast championship. The teams played the next day a the Presidio athletic grounds and drew 5-5.

The league ended in another close finish. After coming in second the prior two seasons, the Thistles ended top of the table with 22 points, just one point better than both Albion Rovers and Vampires.

During February of 1910, as the CAFL season wound down, the CFA began preparations for the cup competition that would start in early March. Tensions again flared up between the CAFL and the CFA on the gate receipts from cup matches. At that time the CFA the receipts of all games before the semifinals were pooled and 10% went to the CFA. The remaining 90% was divided among the competing teams in the ration of one share for each game played. The CFA proposed a change to that where all teams would be given an equal percentage of the first two rounds of the cup and all the gate receipts in the semifinals and finals would go to the CFA. That change would have meant that the two Sacramento teams which were not in the CAFL would get the same as CAFL teams and that any team could join the cup for the $2.50 entry fee and receive tenfold back.

At that time the CFA elected to play all the cup games at the Presidio athletic grounds. That meant that Freeman's Park, the site of most important soccer games in the Bay Area, had been shelved. William Minto, an official with the CFA, controlled the Presidio grounds and would get 35% of all the gate receipts. In the prior season, the CFA only had to pay about $16 to Freeman's Park.

On Feb 12, a few days after the CFA's decision, the CAFL teams met and agreed to elect a different set of officers to the CFA at the next annual meeting. In addition, the league clubs also decided to ask the CFA to divide the cup matches equally between Freeman's Park and the Presidio Athletic grounds. The Albion Rovers were the main club leading the other CAFL teams against the CFA. Jesse Moore resigned as secretary of the Rovers.

On March 11, the CFA expelled the Albion Rovers from the organization for failure to play the cup game against the Burns. On March 13, the Vampires and Thistles played their first round cup matches. The next day the Rovers met and decided to form an outlaw league called the Bay Counties Soccer League. The BCSL formally organized in late March and included the Berkeley Buffs, United Caledonians, and a team of Presidio soldiers. The BCSL teams would play a handful of matches during April. Jesse Moore resigned as treasurer of the CAFL in late April. He had held the post for the past four years. In early June the fledgling BCSL was granted membership in the Pacific Amateur Athletic Association.

The CFA cup went ahead without the Albion Rovers. The final was held on April 24. The Vampires edged the Burns Club 1-0 at the Presidio athletic grounds to take home the cup title.

©2022 by Daniel Creel. All rights reserved.