Soccer didn’t come to America with the advent of MLS in 1996. Nor did it arrive with the NASL in the 1960s. It was here long before that, and we now have proof (not that we never it needed in the first place).
Footage from the 1924 U.S. Open Cup final surfaced earlier this week. The short clip shows action from the game between the Fall River (Mass.) Marksmen and Vesper Buick of St. Louis, Mo.
YouTube user soccermavn uploaded the clip. The video’s description aptly sets the scene.
“Perhaps the oldest extant professional U.S. soccer footage — snippets from the 1924 U.S. Open Cup final, played on March 30, 1924.
“Fall River Marksmen, champions of the American Soccer League, traveled to St. Louis to face Vesper Buick, champions of the St. Louis Soccer League. Before a crowd of 14,000 at High School Field, the Marksmen completed their ‘double’ with a 4-2 win.
“The match was tied 1-1 at the half, but Fall River prevailed on a brace by Fred Morley and goals from Johnny Reid and Harold Brittan. Harris (whose goal is captured on film) and McCarthy scored for the St. Louis team. Findlay Kerr notched the win in goal for Fall River; Labarge manned the pipes for the losers.”
The 1924 final pitted teams from two American soccer hotbeds against each other. St. Louis has a history and appetite for the game that few, if any, American cities can match. Fall River produced many great players in the early 20th century, including John “Clarkie” Souza, who passed away in March at age 91.
Those communities’ passion for soccer helped lay the foundation for the American game as it exists today.
See a clip of the 1924 U.S. Open Cup final in the video below.