Soccer Almanac

American soccer writing, history & data.

SLSL 1932-33 season

Feb. 8, 2022 |  Categories:  SLSL   St. Louis  

Prior to the 1932-33 St. Louis Soccer League season, Winton E. Barker resigned as president of the league. Barker sold his stock in the Soccer and Exhibition Co. of St. Louis to Otto Schultz who was connected to the Stix, Baer & Fuller team. Don Anderson, sponsor of the Anderson team and president of the Missouri Amateur Golfers' Association, was elected to the post. Anderson was the first person other than Barker to be elected president of the league since its founding in 1915. Jack Dwyer, owner of the Stix, Baer & Fuller franchise was elected vice president. Phil Kavanaugh, owner and manager of the Coca-Cola team was elected secretary as Thomas W. Cahill, last season's secretary, had again left St. Louis and Phil Riley was again re-elected as treasurer. Johnny Marre returned as manager of the Anderson team after a year's absence.

On September 26, 1932, the Monday before the start of the SLSL season, the four teams played a three-game indoor soccer competition at The Arena on Oakland Avenue. The teams were seven-a-side, played 15-minute halves in the opening round and 20-minute halves in the final. Ben Miller and Coca-Cola faced off in the final with the Hatters winning 3-2 before a crowd of 750.

Following their loss in the 1932 National Challenge Cup Grand Final, Stix, Baer & Fuller seized on an opportunity. Owner, Jack Dwyer, and manager, Jimmy Burke, hired Alec McNab, captain of the New Bedford team that had won the NCC title, to be a player and coach of Stix for the coming season. Hoping to change a trend of lackluster showings by St. Louis professional clubs on the field and in the stands Dwyer and Burke began assembling a roster of players to rival the best in the country. Bucking the tradition of home-grown talent, the duo looked primarily to the American Soccer League, an organization currently in turmoil due to infighting and loss of financial backing. Specifically Stix went for players on the New Bedford squad which had disbanded following the 1932 spring ASL season.

Prior to the SLSL season, McNab brought with him a number of New Bedford players including Billy Watson and Bill McPherson. All three players were Scottish and, as the season started, five of the eleven starting players on the Stix roster were Scottish. After losing their first match 4-2 to Coca-Cola, Stix didn't lose another match until mid-December. During that time, in late November, Stix signed forward Werner "Scotty" Nilsen. A Norwegian, Nilsen had been playing for the Boston ASL team during the fall after also being on the NCC title New Bedford squad in the spring. In addition, in early December, manager Jimmy Burke resigned due to work issues and Dwyer hired A.J. "Tate" Brady to replace him. Brady returned to soccer after an absence of almost two years having left soccer at the end of the 1930-31 season when he sold his franchise to Dwyer.

The final piece of the Stix, Baer & Fuller powerhouse was complete when, in the first week of January 1933, the club signed Billy Gonsalves. Arguably the best American forward of the time, Gonsalves had just completed the 1932 fall ASL season with the reorganized Fall River F.C. Gonsalves had also been a member of the NCC title-winning New Bedford squad and was picked up in time for another run at the National Challenge Cup.

Stix won their last three league matches to easily take the season title by nine points over second-place Anderson. The club beat Coca-Cola 4-1 before 3100 at Sportsman's Park in the First Round of the NCC. And, on Sunday, February 12, 1033, a week after the close of the regular season, Stix crushed Jugo-Slav American from Chicago 10-1 at Sportsman's Park before 3000 with Nilsen scoring four goals.

But, two weeks later, Stix, Baer & Fuller were upset by Anderson 2-1 in the Western Semifinal before 3490 at Sportsman's Park. A replay was ordered by the U.S.F.A. after Stix filed a protest due to the referee disallowing a tying goal in the last few minutes due to an offside call. The replay was held on March 12 where the 8000 in attendance at Sportsman's Park saw the Stix squad beat Anderson 4-1 with Gonsalves scoring his first goal for the team.

Stix would face Sparta of Chicago in the three-game series for the NCC Western Final. The first match was another blowout with Stix beating Sparta 7-3 before 4000 at Sportsman's Park. Gonsalves scored four and Nilsen scored a brace. Stix took home the western title, the following Sunday, March 26, edging Sparta 1-0 before 2017 at Sparta Field.

Stix, Baer & Fuller was in their second straight NCC Grand Final against an ASL opponent. This time it would be the New York Americans. The three-game series began Sunday, April 16. Before a massive crowd of 15,200 at Sportsman's Park, Stix beat the American 1-0 off a goal by Willie McLean. He was another Scottish import for the team but came from Bricklayers in Chicago rather than the ASL.

Stix traveled for the second game which took place the next Sunday at Starlight Park in the Bronx. It was another close game but this time the 4200 in attendance saw Stix, Baer & Fuller beat the New York Americans 2-1 off goals by McLean and Nilsen to win the 1933 NCC title. It was the first victory by a St. Louis club in 11 years and the first since the American Soccer League had begun play.

That summer, Stix, Baer & Fuller played Canadian titleholders, the Toronto Scots, for the North American championship. On June 11 at Soldier Field in Chicago, the 5000 in attendance saw Toronto beat Stix 2-1.

©2022 by Daniel Creel. All rights reserved.