American soccer writing, history & data.
The same teams returned for the 1923-24 St. Louis Soccer League season. The only organizational change was that Harry Ratican took over as player-manager of the Ben Millers. As Ratican had again been hired as the soccer coach for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, his brother, William, directed affairs at Ben Miller for the first two months of the season. The league returned to the traditional 30-minute halves for games but would play games of 35-minute halves to help teams get ready for National Challenge Cup play. Sunday league doubleheaders were again played at High School Field.
Because of the continued growth of the NCC, the SLSL teams were again drawn against other area teams in the early rounds. Only Scullin Steel drew a bye for the first round.
Vesper-Buick retained their league title but only 13 games were played due to disruptions to the scheduled caused by NCC play. The Vespers also made it to the NCC Grand Final.
On January 13, 1924, Vesper-Buick blanked Harmarville, Pa. 3-0 before 5000 at High School Field in a Fifth Round match. On February 10, the Vespers crushed Goodyear of Akron, Oh. 7-1 in the Western Semifinals before 6300 at High School Field. And, on March 16 before 7500 at High School Field, Vesper-Buick handled Bricklayers F.C. of Chicago 5-0 to win the Western Final.
On March 30, Vesper-Buick faced Harry Ratican's old team, Fall River F.C. of the American Soccer League in the NCC Final. The eastern team was too much beating Vesper-Buick 4-2 before 13,686 at High School Field.
The next weekend, another ASL team, Bethlehem Steel F.C., visited St. Louis for a two-game series. Bethlehem Steel defeated an All-St. Louis team 3-2 and 2-1 at High School Field before 1500 and 3000 respectively.
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