Soccer Almanac

American soccer writing, history & data.

CAFL 1911-12 season

Aug. 5, 2022 |  Categories:  CAFL  

On August 15, 1911, a meeting was held at Lily Hall, 133 Gough Street in San Francisco, jointly by the officers of the California Football Association, the California Association Football League, and the Bay Counties Soccer League to try to bring peace among the organization. Nearly 50 attendees took part in the discussion. No concrete actions were taken but there was discussion to merge the bodies. The CFA was anxious for the outlaw BCSL teams to return to the fold. The CFA's only request was for the BCSL teams to file applications for their reinstatement or admission to membership at the upcoming annual meeting of the CFA. On behalf of the BCSL, W. R. Stewart stated that the best way to move forward was to dispense with the CFA and allow each league to direct the affairs of their clubs; After discussion the general opinion was to leave thing the way they were.

The CFA annual meeting was held on the night of August 25. Peace was made as an agreement was reached for BCSL and CFA to play in the same organization. The outlaw clubs were accorded representation on the executive committee and Frank Inganni, secretary and treasurer of Alameda F.C., was elected secretary. The "insurgents" desired that the game be governed by direct legislation rather than via the CFA executive committee but it was deemed that another meeting would be necessary to discuss that issue. With 15 teams of the CAFL and BCSL ten under the same organization it was thought necessary to form another league. J. P. Booth was elected president of the CFA.

The annual meeting of the CAFL was held the evening of September 1. The Burns Club reorganized and was re-admitted to membership along with the newly organized team from the University of California. That brought the league to nine teams with all clubs returning from the prior season except for the United States Soldiers squad. After playing as an independent team since 1907, the Thistles would be run in connection with and financed by the San Francisco Scottish Thistle Club. Alexander King would act as secretary and Tom Wood was retained as manager.

Applications from the Albion Rovers, Alameda, Corinthians and Alameda Rangers were refused because the league thought too many clubs would make the CAFL unwieldy. Those former BCSL clubs reorganized that league for the 1911-12 season. Prior to the BCSL season, the Albion Rovers decided not to field a team for the season because they were unable to field a team due to their players joining the CAFL teams. Professor R. R. Long of Stanford University was elected president of the league.

At the beginning of the school year, the executive committee of Stanford's student body voted to provide $225 to support soccer. That put soccer on footing with other minor sports at the university. Because soccer had received official sanction as an intercollegiate sport, the Stanford team was awarded the ability to wear the small S with a circle around it.

In November, the CFA refused to join the American Football Association. That decision meant that California soccer players would be deprived of the right to take part in international matches sanctioned by the AFA. Soon after, the Independents resolved to join the AFA as a club.

The CAFL began the last weekend of September of 1911 and the 16-game season ran through the first weekend of February of 1912. The Barbarians shared Croll's Gardens (the renamed cricket grounds) in Alameda with the Burns Club. The Independents took a lease on Freeman's Park and were joined there by the Pastime Club part way through the season. The latter club had started playing at the Presidio athletic grounds which they shared with the Vampires. San Francisco and the Thistles shared the Ocean Shore grounds at 12th and Mission Streets in San Francisco. Stanford University played on the soccer field adjoining the gymnasium while California played at California field on the Berkeley campus.

University of California put a soccer team on the field for the first time in their 3-0 loss to the Barbarians on September 30 at Croll's Gardens. In November, C. Y. Williamson, the president of the Barbarian A.C. and coach of the University of California team, offered a cup to be awarded for a series of soccer matches between Stanford and California. After some discussions over the next couple of months it was decided that a single non-league game would be held between the teams on Washington's Birthday, February 22, 1912, to decide who would hold the cup for 1912. Stanford ended up being the better of the two teams beating California twice in the CAFL and winning the Williamson Cup final 4-2 on Stanford Field. After the 1911-12 season, the team winning a series of nine games, played on a basis of three games each season over a period of three years, would gain permanent possession of the Williamson trophy.

The CAFL ended the regular season with the Pastime and San Francisco clubs tied for the lead with 24 points each. The league ordered a playoff for the season championship. On February 12, 1912 at Freeman's Park San Francisco beat the Pastime Club 3-2 to win the title. After eight straight seasons of never coming in better than fourth position, the San Francisco team won their first league title.

The CFA cup saw two mid-table teams, the Burns and Independents, meet in the final. On Sunday, April 14 the two clubs drew 2-2 at the Presidio athletic grounds. On the same pitch the following Sunday, the Burns Club beat the Independents 2-1 to win the CFA cup.

©2022 by Daniel Creel. All rights reserved.