Wednesday, September 2, 2009

2 September 1929 - Apparently, We Once Called It "Football," Too

On 2 September 1929, the Eastern Professional Soccer League (otherwise known as the Eastern Soccer League, or ESL) launched its second--and last--season.

The ESL was created as the result of a schism between the older American Soccer League and the United States Football Association. For financial and scheduling reasons, the ASL had objected to playing in the USFA-sponsored National Challenge Cup and boycotted the tournament. In response, the USFA suspended the ASL and helped launch the Eastern Professional Soccer League as a replacement.

The new league included eight teams, three from the former ASL (Bethlehem Steel FC (pictured, from 1924), Newark Skeeters and New York Giants), four from the Southern New York Soccer Association (New York Hispano, New York Celtics, Philadelphia Centennials and IRT Rangers), and one new team (New York Hakoah).

For the second season, Centennials and Celtic had dropped out and were replaced by Victoria Hungaria and Newark Portugeuse.

The ESL managed to play only half of its new season before financial pressures--including the October 1929 stock market crash--took their toll on the sport nationally. In November 1929, the ASL reconciled with the USFA and the Eastern Professional Soccer League was dissolved.

At the time, Bethlehem Steel were at the top of the standings and were thus declared champions.



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