American soccer writing, history & data.
During the summer of 1920, a proposed fully professional east coast league was seriously floated. J. & P. Coats F.C, Fall River Rovers and Fore River F.C. were all in line to join. With the Rovers on the fence, Fore River and Coats declined the opportunity and the league never came to fruition.
Prior to the 1920-21 Southern New England League season, the Sayles Finishing Plant F.C. of Saylesville, R.I. was added as a member. But, the General Electric F.C. of Lynn, Mass. decided to play in the Boston and District League, plus the New Bedford F.C. and the New Bedford Celtics withdrew from the league and disbanded. That left the league at six teams for the 1920-21 season.
Fore River F.C. decided to pay their players leaving it up to each individual player if they wanted to stay as an amateur or sign a professional contract. That paid dividends as the Quincy-based club easily won the league. Fore River also won the Northern Massachusetts and New Hampshire FA cup and made it to the finals of the American Football Association Cup and the Fifth Round of the National Challenge Cup. In both matches, they were defeated by the Robins Dry Dock F.C. from Brooklyn which won both national cup tournaments that season.
The St. Michael's club of Fall River, Mass. had a difficult season. In their third league match, Manuel Almeida, their captain and driving force, had his leg badly broken and would need medical attention well into 1922. On top of that, in mid-January, Almeida and his family needed to be saved from suffocation by coal gas at their home. St. Michael's withdrew from the league for the remainder of the season with the Sharp Manufacturing Company team taking their place in the standings.
On a more positive note, Sayles Finishing Plant F.C., better known as Saylesville F.C. won the Southern New England FA's Times Cup competition. The club beat Fairlawn Rovers of Pawtucket 1-0 at Coats Field on April 9, 1921 to win the title.
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