American soccer writing, history & data.
During the early months of 1910, Professor H.W. Maloney, instructor of physical training, formed a soccer team at Stanford University. That team, the newly organized Pastime Club of San Francisco, a team of U.S. Soldiers from the Presidio, along with Oakland F.C., another new club, were admitted as new members of the California Association Football League for the 1910-11 season. That meant the league would have nine teams for the season. The United Caledonians had ceased to exist prior to the season after jumping from the CAFL to the newly-formed Bay Counties Soccer League during the spring of 1910. There was a departure of many players from California to British Columbia during the offseason. Burns Club was one of the hardest hit and they decided not to field a team for the season. The Independents lost a greater portion of their team as well.
The CAFL held its annual meeting on August 12, 1910 at Lily Hall. The league arranged to hold Saturday games for the first time in order to suit the Stanford team. On a motion from Sam Goodman of the Pastimes, the delegates resolved that the CAFL itself would apply for membership in the California Football Association in order to be represented at meetings of the parent body. Douglas Erskine was elected president of the league. The CFA met a week later and re-elected the same officers including Douglas Erskine as president.
The Barbarians and Thistles shared the Webster Street cricket grounds in Alameda. In July, the grounds were sold to John G. Croll by Oakland parties who had purchased the property some time before from the Pacific Investment Company, an organization formed to take over the holdings in the city of the estate of the late Senator James G. Fair. Croll was said to have paid less than $10,000 for the property. In the late 1800s, the grounds had been used as a baseball park by the old California League. Since then, the field had been used in the winter by teams from the CAFL and in summer by clubs in the California Cricket Association.
The Pastimes were a new organization made up of the best players from the Burns Club, which decided not to field a team, and Albion Rovers who had left that team when the Rovers jumped from the CAFL to form the BCSL early in 1910. The Pastimes, organized by Charles H. Minto, played at the Presidio athletic grounds which they shared with the Vampires. The San Francisco and United States Soldiers teams played most of their home matches at Freeman's Park. The Soldiers team was a late addition to the CAFL as the squad basically jumped from the BCSL just before the season started. The Stanford team played their Saturday home matches on the Encina gymnasium field.
The Fruitvale ball grounds were home for the Independents who shared the venue with Oakland F.C. The Oaks were largely made up of players from the Reliance A.C. which went bankrupt in August of 1910. During the first week of December, the Oaks decided to withdraw from the CAFL and jump ship to the BCSL. As that league already had a team called Oakland F.C., the Oaks were renamed the Corinthians when they joined the other league. The CAFL removed all Oakland games from the league standings.
The CAFL ended with the Vampires taking the season title by three points over the Thistles. It was the third time in four years the Scottish club had come second in the league.
On January 5, 1911, a special meeting of the CFA was held at the Barbarian Club on 867 Eddy Street in San Francisco to draw the first round of the CFA cup competition. Ten clubs had entered: the eight clubs of the CAFL plus two clubs from Sacramento. That night, the University of California entered a team at the last moment which meant that the CFA added a preliminary round of three matches.
The CFA cup began in mid-February, a week after the final matches of the CAFL season. In the preliminary round, the University of California squad was due to face Stanford at Berkeley but had to forfeit because they were unable to field a team. Stanford made it to the semifinals before falling to the Vampires. The final was held on March 26 at the Presidio athletic grounds. The Pastimes beat the Vampires 1-0 to win the up in their inaugural season.
J.O. Bellis presented the CAFL with a massive silver cup to be held by the league champions and was to be known as the J.O. Bellis perpetual trophy. The cup was made of sterling silver lined with gold and stood on a pedestal with a shield in the form of soccer footballs. The cup was to be inscribed with the winners of the league. In April, at the annual banquet of the Vampire club, the new trophy was presented to the Vampires as league champions. The old league cup was returned to the CAFL by the prior champions, the Thistles. That cup would be held by the league as the prize for a new junior competition the CAFL was forming.
©2022 by Daniel Creel. All rights reserved.