Soccer Almanac

American soccer writing, history & data.

SLPSL 1938-39 season

Feb. 11, 2022 |  Categories:  SLSL   St. Louis  

A meeting was held on July 29, 1938 at the Marquette Hotel under the direction of newly-elected U.S.F.A. president, Harold S. Callowhill, in an effort to revive soccer interest in St. Louis. Marion F. Parker, a retired sports writer and delegate to the Central Council of the Municipal Athletic Association, Walter Giesler, Chairman of the Ozark A.A.U. Soccer Committee, John Scully of the Municipal recreation department, and John Marre, of the St. Louis Professional Soccer League, were named as the committee to assist Callowhill. The meeting was arranged by Thomas Cahill who had spent the previous two weeks attempting to deal with the local soccer situation.

Callowhill urged the Municipal Soccer League to rejoin the U.S.F.A. and enter a team in the National Amateur Cup. With tentative approval granted by Callowhill, the meeting led to the formation of the Missouri Soccer Commission authorized by the U.S.F.A. to supervise and control all soccer in the district. The Muny League was invited to join the U.S.F.A. through the commission. The commission was made up of the four original members plus Rev. Bart Keaney, director of parochial soccer in St. Louis.

A first meeting of the commission was scheduled for August 15 where to be dealt with. These included settlement of the player dispute between the Shamrocks and the SLPSL, ironing out the situation where the Shamrocks were a member of the Illinois state association but allowed to play St. Louis clubs, a settlement of a debt which the U.S.F.A. claimed was owned by the SLPSL as its share of the gate receipts for the February 20 National Challenge Cup Western Semifinal which the league was holding over claimed not settled; an arrangement to schedule important games in the professional and municipal league to avoid conflict, and a discussion of territorial rights involving nearby Illinois towns. In addition the SLPSL would need to apply for membership in the new commission since the body had the full support of the U.S.F.A.

The SLPSL itself was in danger of not playing for the first time since the 1915-16 season since the club sponsors were finding it difficult getting organized for the 1938-39 season. On September 14, members of the SLPSL decided to apply for membership in the Missouri District of the U.S.F.A. but action was initially delayed because several officers could not be reached during the meeting.

Four clubs were due to return from the prior season: South Side (managed by Oscar Mossman); Burke's (managed by Emil Cueto); St. Matthew's (managed by Johnny Marre); and Lindell Trust (formerly St. Patrick's, managed by Andy Fredrick). In the first week of October James Delargy, owner of the South Side club, announced the team's withdrawal from the league. The SLPSL decided to go forward with only three teams for the season.

Two weeks later, the St. Matthew's team also decided not to take part in the season. Players from that club and the South Side team were given their releases and some would be signed by the remaining two clubs to fill in the roster gaps. Alec McNab and Bill Watson both signed with the Burke team.

With only two clubs in the SLPSL, the league decided that each Sunday one team would play an exhibition match against a professional club from another midwestern city. Each month the two SLPSL teams would meet to play each other in regular season matches.

On Sunday, October 16, in the first match of the season, Burke traveled to Sparta Stadium in Chicago and lost 3-2 to Sparta. The next Sunday, Lindell Trust hosted Billy Gonsalves' new club, Manhattan Brewers of Chicago. A crowd of 850 saw the Brewers, formerly Maccabee, blank Lindell Trust 5-0 at West Side Park.

October 30 was the opening game of the SLPSL between the league's two clubs. Lindell Trust beat Burke 2-1 before a meager crowd of 215 at West Side Park. The next Sunday, a crowd of 276 saw Lindell Trust beat Slavia-Bartunek of Cleveland 4-0 at West Side Park. The second SLPSL regular season match took place the next Sunday, February 14 with the teams drawing 1-1.

The two SLPSL clubs had been invited to play in the Peel Cup. It was the first time teams from states other than Illinois were admitted to play in the competition. The four-team cup included the two St. Louis clubs as well as Sparta Garden City and Manhattan Brewers. The two-leg home-and-home First Round took place on November 20 and 27. The Chicago clubs easily took out the two SLPSL clubs.

As announced by SLPSL president John Marre, on November 28 the stockholders of the league decided to disband due to poor attendance and an inability of league officials to reach an agreement with the club managers about the National Challenge Cup competition. The league officials thought neither SLPSL team would make it far in the NCC so recommended breaking up the teams to create one stronger one. Neither club manager was willing to break up their team so the league voted to disband.

Both SLPSL teams received byes in the First Round of the NCC. Lindell Trust knocked out Burke 3-1 in the Second Round on December 11 before 1000 at West Side Park. Lindell Trust beat the National Soda team of East St. Louis 2-1 on Christmas Day at Jones Park in East St. Louis. And, on January 1, 1939. Lindell Trust tied 1-1 with the German Sport Club of the Municipal League before at crowd of 1500 at Fairgrounds Park.

On Sunday, January 8, Lindell Trust traveled to Chicago for their NCC Third Round match against Sparta. Lindell was outmatched and was beaten 7-1 before 1500 at Sparta Stadium. The following day manager Andy Fredrick announced Lindell Trust would disband for the season due to injuries.

In early October of 1939, former league officers Charles de Witt and Johnny Marre announced that the St. Louis Professional Soccer League, a financial failure for the past few years, would not reorganize for the 1939-40 season.

©2022 by Daniel Creel. All rights reserved.