Tuesday, February 16, 2010

16 February 1931 - America's Other New York Yankees

On 16 February 1931, the American Soccer League's Fall River Marksmen merged with the New York Soccer Club to form a new team--the New York Yankees.

The Marksmen were one of the ASL's most successful clubs, with seven league titles and three National Challenge Cup trophies from 1922 through 1930. But by the time they won their last league title in 1930 (despite playing only 27 of 30 matches), the Great Depression had lowered attendances across the league. In an effort to revive the team's flagging revenues, owner Sam Mark moved them from Fall River, Massachusetts to New York.

The team competed in the Spring 1931 league season as the New York Yankees, but had already registered for that year's National Challenge Cup under their former name. Accordingly, they participated in the two different competitions under two different names. As the Yankees, they finished third in the league, but as the Marksmen, they won the Cup, defeating the Chicago Bricklayers in a three-leg Final, behind strong play from their US internationals, Billy Gonsalves (above left) and Bert Patenaude (above right).

After splitting the first two matches of the Final, the Marksmen won the third leg 2-0. It was the last match the team ever played under either name, as the owner moved the team back to Massachusetts as the New Bedford Whalers.

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