Being a member of Group A, I read a few articles this week, most of which focused on the early history of soccer in the United States.
“It seems appropriate that since the reason for the league’s existence in the first place had to do with baseball, the reason for its sudden demise should also.” (Allaway 2015)
In Roger Allaway’s article, “A Stumbling Start for U.S. Pro Soccer,” he presents multiple cases for the American League of Professional Football Clubs (ALPFC)’s extremely short run, most of which pointing towards baseball for being at fault. From using soccer to keep baseball stadiums busy during the offseason to scheduling soccer games at times that made it difficult for its primary audience–factory workers–to attend, this quote shows Allaway critiquing the league for their failure at promoting soccer and for their decision of rather fueling their baseball needs. Allaway uses the ALPFC’s case as an example of why using baseball’s blueprint for establishing a soccer league was not a good idea for the start.
“…Billy Gonsalves, the ‘Babe Ruth of American Soccer,’ who described the center forward as being like ‘a little truck,’ told Schroeder he wouldn’t play if Donelli wasn’t on the starting roster against Mexico.” (Farnsworth 2015)
In “USA vs. Mexico and the ‘Little Truck’,” Ed Farnsworth discusses the leadup to the U.S. team’s one-off qualifier versus Mexico with 1934 World Cup participation on the line. One key story that Farnsworth discussed throughout his article was Aldo “Buff” Donelli’s. As an amateur, Donelli’s rise to the starting roster did not sit well with some professional players on the team; this warranted Billy Gonsalves to defend his teammate, as shown in the quote. Donelli would eventually go on to have a tremendous impact in the U.S. team’s qualifier, scoring all four goals to help the U.S. beat Mexico and qualify for the World Cup. Despite being underestimated by his own team, Donelli was able to cement himself as a legend of U.S. soccer in the short time that he played.
“Even as he mined through the library’s archives, he didn’t know what a corner kick looked like, until he finally attended a D.C. United game with a friend.” (Kay 2017)
Stanley Kay’s “Pastor Keeps History of Storied U.S. Club Bethlehem Steel Alive” article tells the story of a pastor–Daniel Paul Morrison–who is responsible for upholding the legacy of the Bethlehem Steel Soccer Club. This quote from Kay’s article demonstrates how Morrison lacked knowledge of the sport of soccer at the time he was researching about Bethlehem; despite dedicating his time to diving deep into the history of a former soccer club, Morrison did not quite understand the game itself until he experienced it live. I was really taken aback by this quote; but at the same time, it reminded me of myself and what I am doing right now in this course–introducing myself to the early history of soccer and being fascinated with it, despite not having a thorough understanding of soccer itself and its rules.