While we’re in the middle of all this talk about the US Open Cup, here’s a little piece of history: a story from the Newark Sunday Call from October 5, 1924. What was then called the National Challenge Cup was just getting underway, but some of the country’s top pro teams from the American Soccer League weren’t competing because of a dispute over
gate receipts “scheduling.”
This is one of the early dispatches from the front in the Soccer War that (along with the Great Depression) derailed American soccer’s promising momentum of the early part of the Roaring Twenties. The ASL pulled its teams out of the Cup for the 1924-25 season, for which the then-USFA suspended the league.
Then-USFA boss Andrew Brown said (as you may or may not be able to read in the clipping above), “Despite the absence of the big professional clubs the competition will continue and will be a National affair. Such competitions cannot be dismissed with a gesture. There are 126 clubs, many of them of strength equal or greater than those which quit, many of them representing large investments, many of them clubs of old standing and responsibility and all eager to fight for the honor or being declared champions of the United States. In National sporting matters whether tennis, golf or soccer, the honor and the dollar are important, but the honor is and must always continue to be first if the sport is to prevail.”
The Shawsheen (Mass.) Indians beat Canadian Club of Chicago 3-0 in the final on April 19, 1925, held, oddly enough, a Mark’s Stadium in North Tiverton, RI, the home stadium of the Fall River Marksmen, who were boycotting the Challenge Cup that year.
Four years later, the ASL said they’d play if the Cup was moved to the end of the season. The USFA refused, suspended the ASL again and things went all pear-shaped from there. The ugly dispute, the stock market crash and the ensuing depression helped kill the ASL in the spring of 1933.