The American Soccer League, operating between 1921 and 1933, was the first significant viable professional soccer league in the United States. The league operated primarily in the northeastern United States, particularly in the New York-New Jersey-Philadelphia triangle.
Additionally, the ASL was one of the first American soccer leagues prestigious enough to attract talented players from overseas. The league, in fact, was quite well attended, and was quite competitive with the nascent National Football League in terms of popularity.
The league was founded by eight teams: Philadelphia Field Club, New York Field Club, Todd Shipyards, Harrison Soccer Club, J&P Coats, Fall River United, Holyoke Falcos, and Jersey City Celtics.
After the end of the 1933 spring season, the league collapsed. However, it was reorganized and, in the fall of 1933, a second American Soccer League was established.
Categories: United States soccer competitions (defunct)
The AmericanSoccerLeague emerged from this combination of immigration and native-born talent, the league lasting from 1921-31, folding and reconstituting in a lesser form that continued through 1983.
The ASL attracted some of Europe's best players, including the entire Hakoah Vienna team, whose players were fleeing Nazi repression, but had also recognized a golden opportunity after a crowd of 46,000 arrived for one of their exhibition games at the Polo Grounds in 1926.
Harrison Soccer Club was an original member of the ASL, and Major LeagueSoccer's Red Bull Park is to open in 2008 in Harrison, N.J., an area that continues to produce professional players such as John Harkes, Tony Meola, and Tab Ramos.
His league, the second International SoccerLeague was unique in that it consisted of existing foreign clubs, who played during their offseason as members of the ISL.
The league was able to avoid direct competition with the locally oriented AmericanSoccerLeague, which continued its fairly low-key approach based on established franchises, with a new focus on developing quality American players.
Soccer was relatively inexpensive as well as democratic -- it did not require specialists, tall players or behemoths as many of the other sorts did, and youth soccer did not have the overly competitive stigma and the political mudslinging that was plaguing Little League baseball and Pop Warner football.
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