Thursday, September 24, 2015

24 September 1922 - Crossing The Pond (And The Gender Gap)

On 24 September 1922, English women's side Dick, Kerr's Ladies opened their North American tour with a 6-3 loss to Paterson FC.

The Ladies began in 1917 as the works team for the Dick, Kerr & Co. munitions factory, located in Preston, Lancashire. They and other women's clubs soon grew so popular that the FA saw them as a threat to the men's game and issued a 1921 ban preventing the women from using league grounds. Nevertheless, they continued to play on non-league grounds and in 1922, were invited on their 1922 overseas tour.

The tour was scheduled to start in Canada, but upon their arrival on 22 September, they were informed that they were no longer welcome in Canada. They crossed the border to the US and made their way to New Jersey, where they faced Paterson FC. Paterson, a men's club, had won the 1917 National Association Foot Ball League title.

Paterson won that opening match 6-3, but it was one of only two losses Dick, Kerr's Ladies suffered in the eight matches they played against some of the strongest US men's sides of the time. They also lost to New York Centro-Hispano, won against the New Bedford Whalers, the New York Football Club, and the Baltimore Soccer Club, and drew with J&P Coats, Washington Stars, and the Fall River Marksmen. After the match against Fall River, a local paper reported "The score in no way explains how well these English lassies can play the national game of their homeland. Nor could the fans at the game tell just exactly how expert are the women tourists for the opposition was from a team of the best men kickers in the country."

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