American soccer writing, history & data.
In the summer of 1919, after a season away, the Southern New England League made tentative plans to operate for the 1919-20 soccer season. Six clubs returned from the 1918-19 season: Fall River Rovers; New Bedford F.C.; New Bedford Celtics; J. & P. Coats F.C.; Fore River F.C.; and Crompton F.C.
Two new clubs were added to bring the league up to eight members. The General Electric F.C. from Lynn, Mass. and the St. Michael's club from Fall River, Mass. The former club was returning from a hiatus during the Great War. The Pan-American F.C. disbanded during the spring of 1919 and almost its entire roster of players was signed by the newly-organized St. Michael's team which took the Pans place in the league.
Prior to the start of the season, the league made a major rule, later ratified by the Southern New England FA, adopting a substitution clause allowing a club to bring in one player during the first half or at the beginning of the second half. The league began in mid-September, but after the first weekend the New Bedford F.C. was giving a suspension of the club's franchise for one year and withdrew without playing a match.
As with previous seasons, league postponements due to cup competitions and bad weather caused major disruptions to the league schedule starting in late November. The New Bedford Celtics disbanded after the new year and forfeited four matches.
The league schedule was in such bad shape that only two league matches were played. The first was an April 3, 1920 match in which St. Michael's beat the league-leading General Electric F.C. That match is missing from the final league standings. The other match determined the league championship as a league committed had decided that the team in the league on May 1 would be the winners. On that date Fall River Rovers defeated General Electric 4-2 at home to vault into first place and win the Southern New England League title.
Likely the best team in the league, Fore River F.C. only played three league matches (and won a fourth by forfeit) due to deep runs in a number of cup competitions and league opponents failing to show up for matches. Fore River knocked off favorite Robins Dry Dock F.C. 2-1 in the National Challenge Cup semiifinals in front of 10,000 at Coats Field in Pawtucket before losing 2-1 to host Ben Millers of St. Louis before 10,000 in the grand final. Fore River lost to Robins Dry Dock 2-0 in the American Cup semifinals but won the Northern Massachusetts and New Hampshire FA cup 4-3 over United Shoe Manufacturing Co. A.A. of Beverly, Mass on May 30, 1920.
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