Soccer Almanac

American soccer writing, history & data.

CFL 1919-20 season

Aug. 11, 2022 |  Categories:  CAFL  

The California Football League met on September 2, 1919 to decide which eight teams would take part in the league for the 1919-20 season. Ten teams applied: Olympic Club; Burns Club; Barbarians; Celtics; Alameda Union Iron Works; Union Iron Works of San Francisco; Moore Shipyards; Rangers of Alameda; Thistles; and Allandale. Following a vote, the Alameda UIW and Allandale teams were left out of the league. John Elliott was re-elected as president during the meeting.

Two weeks later the CFL announced the first week's schedule of matches. It was found impossible to arrange a full schedule due to the uncertainty of finding grounds. The league also decided to increase payments to injured players from $1.50 per day to $2.50 per day up to a total of $50. The league met the following week to complete the league schedule. The Olympics and Barbarians engaged Ewing Field for their home grounds. The Burns Club announced in conjunction with the Celtics that they had secured Ocean Shore grounds at 12th and Mission Streets in San Francisco. The teams added to the seating accommodations at the grounds. Moore Shipyards acquired Croll's Gardens in Alameda as their home which they shared with the Rangers. The Thistles and Union Iron Works teams shared the old Central Park at 8th and Market Streets.

The 14-game CFL season ran from Sunday, October 5, 1919 through January 11, 1920. A rejuvenated Thistle team won the title by four points over Moore Shipyards. The CFA cup competition started a week later.

A major issue arose during the CFA cup. On February 28, the California Football Association indefinitely suspended the Moore Shipyard club and its officials. The Moores had been knocked out of the CFA cup in the first round a couple of weeks earlier by the Olympic Club. Early in the season G. Harrison had signed a transfer to the Union Iron Works team for cup ties but later changed his mind and signed another transfer to the Moore Shipyards. When the second transfer was presented the CFA refused it on the interpretation of the rule that a player can only sign for one cup team. Because Harrison's original transfer had already been accepted and listed with the CFA, the association held that the rules prevented the acceptance of the second transfer.

Two weeks prior, Harrison had been declared a Union Iron Works player by the CFA. Moore Shipyards appealed to the USFA who immediately overruled the CFA and declared Harrison a Moore player. Moore included Harrison in their lineup against Olympic in their CFA cup tie on February 15. The CFA held that, notwithstanding the decision from the USFA, that Moore Shipyards was guilty of contempt and suspended Harrison, along with the team. Moore Shipyards immediately began plans to start a new East Bay Soccer League sanctioned for the CFA which would include other local teams. A couple of weeks later, by a majority vote the CFA refused to hear the Moore Shipyards appeal on ground of no new evidence.

During all this turmoil, the Olympic Club faced the Acorn club of Sacramento in the CFA cup final. The latter club had upset the CFL champion Thistles 3-2 in the semifinals. On March 21, the Olympics beat the Acorns 3-2 at the old Central Park.

©2022 by Daniel Creel. All rights reserved.