American soccer writing, history & data.
After being inactive for the 1921-22 season, the Southern New England League met in the summer of 1923 to organize for the 1923-24 season. Officials decided to rename the league as the New England Soccer League in order to avoid confusion with the Southern New England Football Association.
Seven clubs entered the league. Sayles returned after winning the Pawtucket and District League. Fore River F.C. returned after a year in the Boston-area Industrial League and Crompton F.C. returned to the league after a number of years away.
The remaining entrants had never played in the league: Prospect Hill F.C. from Lonsdale, R.I.; Fairlawn Rovers from Fairlawn, R.I.; Fall River Athletics, a new team formed by Connie Lynch; Cove Albion, champions of the New Bedford City League; and a reorganized New Bedford F.C.
By the end of summer, the league had dropped down to six members. Waypoyset F.C., a new club from Central Falls, R.I., joined, but a number of other teams withdrew. Fore River decided to stay in the Industrial League, Cove Albion decided to stay in the New Bedford City League, and the Fall River Athletics failed to organize.
The league began to play on September 22 but New Bedford F.C. quit before playing a match leaving the league with only five clubs. As with the prior season, teams played a handful of matches each but league play fell into the background due to cup competitions and cold weather.
Information is incomplete and the final recorded match was a 3-1 victory by Sayles over Prospect Hill. The match was likely the seventh one for each club and may have pushed Sayles into first place as a news report on February 8 noted that Sayles was leading the league using Prospect Hill as a "stepping stone." It is not known if the league schedule was completed or if Sayles was named the formal champions.
The New England Soccer League would not return for another season. During the spring, plans were launched to form a new, professional league made up of the best New England teams including Fore River, Fairlawn Rovers, Sayles, and Waypoyset. This new competition, named the National Soccer League, would begin play in the fall of 1924.
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