American soccer writing, history & data.
All seven clubs from the prior season returned for the 1916-17 Southern New England Soccer League season. The league originally awarded a franchise to a newly organized Providence Grays team. But, when that club was deemed unable to compete, Providence was dropped and the franchise was awarded to Crompton F.C. from Rhode Island. The Crompton club had won the championship of the Rhode Island league three years in succession. William F. Garcelon of Boston donated a trophy for the winners of the league competition.
During August, the Southern New England FA passed a rule prohibiting its affiliated clubs from competiing in more than one competition besides the FA's cup competition (the Times Cup). As such, none of the clubs in the SNESL took part in the American Cup and only entered the Times Cup and the National Challenge Cup.
The early season schedule was complicated by an issue with Fall River's Athletic grounds. While the league scheduled the first two weeks of the season to begin mid-September, Fall River's baseball clubs had already leased the grounds through October 1. That meant a number of games during the first two weeks were postponed or simply played as exhibitions.
Another factor causing issues early on involved the league champions. A labor strike at the Fore River shipyards mean many of Fore River F.C.'s players were unavailabe to the club. Fore River had teams entered in both the SNESL and the Boston and District League. The club had difficluty putting together rosters in both leagues and was forced to withdraw from the Boston and District league at the end of October by the SNESL because Fore River had only played one match in the senior league up to that point.
Even with the SNEFA's two-cup rule, the SNESL's season played out much as the prior season. Most clubs hadn't completed the first half of the season before the new year and match congestion plus bad weather meant few league games were played in the spring.
The SNESL season again ended unfinished with no clubs completing a 14-game schedule. At the end of the season, New Bedford had the most points with 13 - three points ahead of their nearest competitors. The league awarded the championship to New Bedford because the club had the best percentage of the teams. The Fall River Rovers, which came in second in the league, won both the National Challenge Cup and the Times Cup, beating the great Bethlehem Steel F.C. in the former and the J. & P. Coats F.C. in the latter.
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