Monday, November 28, 2011

28 November 1885 - The First International International

On 28 November 1885, the United States hosted Canada in the first international match to be played outside the United Kingdom. Canada won, 0-1.

The match, played in New Jersey, predated the formation of both the Canadian and American football federations. Instead, Canada's Western Football Association arranged the contest with the unofficial governing body of US football, the American Football Association. As a result, both countries consider it an unofficial international.

According to the match report in the New York Times, the match was "played according to the American Association rules," but they conferred no advantage to the hosts, who went down 0-1 in the tenth minute. After that goal, a correspondent for the Globe of Toronto said "the balance of the game was simply an exhibition of reckless kicking and rough and tumble play." A fistfight broke out between a couple of players.

Canada's goalkeeper, J. N. McKendrick, was outstanding and repeatedly denied the Americans' attempts on goal as the match ended as a Canadian victory.

The match was such a success that a repeat was scheduled the following year on the same pitch, with the US winning 3-2.

(For more details on the match, visit Richard Whittal's excellent blog, A More Splendid Life.)

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