Soccer Almanac

American soccer writing, history & data.

CFL 1915-16 season

Aug. 8, 2022 |  Categories:  CAFL  

The California Football Association held their annual meeting on July 31, 1915 in the Pacific building. Charles Wright was elected president. Applications for membership from a number of teams, including the Union Iron Works team of San Francisco, were held up by a ruling of the executive committee that no proxy votes would be allowed. The Union Iron Works team was eventually admitted to the CFA.

A few days later, the Panama-Pacific Exposition soccer committee of the CFA took up an offer made by the exposition directors to play soccer games on the grass plot on the Marina. Four teams made up of the best players in the CFA would play in two games during the exposition under the banner of a newly formed Exposition Soccer League. On August 15, Jewel City beat the Golden Gates 4-0 and, on August 22, the San Francisco ESL team beat Oakland 4-3 on the Marina.

Another change during the season was that the CFL teams would play their initial CFA cup tie games as soon as possible after January 1, 1916. This would be the first time the CFL teams would play cup matches before the league season ended.

The California Football League met a during the first week of August in the headquarters of the Recreation League at the 1058 Phelan building. The Pastime Club, three-time reigning CFL champions, had withdrawn. The league admitted the Celtic and Union Iron Works club.

On Labor Day, September 6, 1915, CFA picked teams representing the Labor Council and the Building Trades Council met on the Marina at the Panama-Pacific Exposition grounds. The teams played to a scoreless tie. On September 9, The Exposition Soccer League was reorganized as the University and Club Soccer League which would play matches on Saturdays. The team were University of California, Stanford University, a team from the Olympic Club, the Casuals, and the All-Stars.

Alameda would share Lincoln Park of that city with the Rangers. The Argonauts and Vampires would share Croll's grounds in Alameda. The Barbarians and Union Iron Works would play at Ocean Shore grounds at 12th and Mission Streets in San Francisco. Burns Club and Thistles would share the old Central Park at 8th and Market Streets in San Francisco. The Celtics played at the St. Ignatius grounds. And the San Francisco and Olympics would share Ewing Field but the latter club moved their first few matches to the Panama-Pacific Exposition Marina. This would be the first season that the CFL had neither a club based in Oakland nor a soccer grounds in that city.

The CFL season began on Sunday, September 19. The Burns Club looked to have the league locked up by early January. The Burns won their first 12 matches before drawing 1-1 with the Vampires on January 19, 1916. The Burns Club won their next match but were held to a scoreless draw to the Thistles on the following Sunday in their preliminary round CFA cup tie. Burns struggled after that winning three and losing three (including the CFA cup replay).

The Burns Club's troubles let the Olympic Club catch up. The Olympics won five in a row down the stretch putting them just one point behind Burns with one game left to play. That streak included a game on Sunday, February 20 where 10,000 watched the Olympics beat the Vampires 4-0 at the Panama-Pacific Exposition Grounds. On April 2, the Burns Club lost their last game 3-1 to the Barbarians. Two weeks later the Olympics beat the Union Iron Works team 3-1 on their last game to win the league title by one point.

In the CFA cup the lowly Celtics made a run to the final. On Sunday, May 21, they tied the Union Iron Works team 1-1 at Ocean Shore grounds. The next Sunday the Celtics' run ended as Union Iron Works won the CFA cup 3-1 on the same field.

©2022 by Daniel Creel. All rights reserved.