Soccer Almanac

American soccer writing, history & data.

Inaugural WISL 1943-44 season

Nov. 19, 2021 |  Categories:  WISL  

The Maryland State and D.C. Soccer Association decided to operate a soccer league made up of various area defense plants along with the Catholic Soccer League, the Baltimore Major Soccer League, and several junior leagues for the 1943-44 season. But, due to the number of players working at war plants and in military service, the BMSL went dormant and was replaced by the War Industrial Soccer League as the top-level amateur circuit that season.

Hasslinger, Rustless Iron and Steel, and Stemmers Run joined from the BMSL. Sacred Heart joined from the Catholic league, Ruggiero's Cafe returned to soccer after a short absence, and Social Club of Baltimore was a newly formed organization that also joined. A number of defense plant organizations rounded out the roster of clubs: Bendix Radio Corp.; Local No. 24, CIO from the Key Highway plant of Bethlehem Steel Co.; United Steel Workers from the Sparrows Point plant of Bethlehem Steel; and Local No. 33, CIO from that same plant.

Bendix Radio was a seasoned outfit that cruised to a perfect record in taking the first-half title. Rustless disbanded in late November after forfeiting two matches. The Martin Bomber club from the Glenn L. Martin Company out of Middle River, Md. replaced them for the second half of the season. But, Social Club of Baltimore disbanded at the start of the second half. United Steel Workers improved over the season and pipped Bendix Radio for the second-half title. While Bendix Radio was the favorite in the title game, United Steel Workers managed to pull a 1-0 upset to win the league.

Bendix Radio made it to the Rowland Cup final but lost 5-1 before 2500 at Patterson Park to the British Combined Services club of Washington, D.C. Bendix Radio also made it to the National Amateur Cup Eastern Final but was handled by Eintracht 7-2 at Eintracht Oval in Astoria, N.Y.

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