Philadelphia Soccer History

History

Meet the Spartans: Philly’s original pro team

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The Philadelphia Spartans were the city's first major league professional soccer team. Steve Holroyd recounts their story, from inception to demise.

The Front Row: Why history matters

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In the debut episode of The Front Page podcast, Steve Holroyd discusses why soccer history matters.

US Open Cup

The life — and murder — of a U.S. Soccer president

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In September 1953, Elmer Schroeder, U.S. soccer's first American-born president, was brutally murdered in his West Philadelphia apartment. No one was ever convicted for his murder. PSP's Ed Farnsworth writes about the life and death of a man who was an American soccer pioneer in more ways than one.

US Open Cup, 1916: Bethlehem Steel tops Hibernian in third round

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After a series of replays over second round opponents, Bethlehem Steel and Philadelphia Hibernian met in the third round of the US Open Cup on January 15, 1916.

New Year’s Day soccer, 1916

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After drawing for the second time on Christmas Day in 1915, Philadelphia's Hibernians and Marcus Hook's Viscose met for the third time in the second round of the US Open Cup on New Year's Day, 1916.

New Year’s Day soccer, 1916

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After drawing for the second time on Christmas Day in 1915, Philadelphia's Hibernians and Marcus Hook's Viscose met for the third time in the second round of the US Open Cup on New Year's Day, 1916.

Philly and the US Open Cup Final

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As the Union prepare to host their second US Open Cup final, a look at Philadelphia-area teams in the final throughout the history of the country's oldest national soccer tournament, which has had local winners ten times since 1914.

The Union and the US Open Cup

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The Union play Kansas City in the 2015 US Open Cup final on Wednesday. Here's a look back at the Union's past US Open Cup campaigns.

The founding of the Eastern Pennsylvania Soccer Association

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A look at the founding of the EPSA, originally known as the Foot Ball Association of Eastern Pennsylvania and District, in April, 1913, six days after the founding of the United States of America Football Association, known today as the US Soccer Federation.

A champion’s medal comes home

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Last Friday, a 103-year-old championship medal won by a Scottish goalkeeper in Philadelphia returned to the city to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Soccer Hall of fame. Here's the story of the goalkeeper who won that medal and how it came back from Scotland to Pennsylvania.

The Union and the US Open Cup

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The Union play Seattle Sounders in the 2014 US Open Cup final on Tuesday. Here's a look back at the Union's past US Open Cup campaigns.

It’s time to remember the Ukrainian Nationals

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Steve Holroyd on the remarkable record of the Ukrainian Nationals, which included four US Open Cup titles between 1960 and 1966.

1960 US Open Cup final is a tough act to follow

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In the 1960 US Open Cup final, Philadelphia's Ukrainian Nationals came from behind three times over 120 minutes to win the championship with Mike Noha scoring all five of the Uke Nats goals. Roger Allaway has the story.

Philadelphia German Americans win the 1936 US Open Cup

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On May 3, 1936, Philadelphia German Americans became the first amateur team, and the first team from the city of Philadelphia, to win the US Open Cup.

Walter Bahr

Happy 90th, Walter Bahr

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Roger Allaway on Walter Bahr, arguably the greatest soccer player ever produced by Philadelphia and one of the prototypes of the American soccer prodigy.

2015 SEPA Soccer Hall of Fame class honored

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Bob McBride reports on the banquet honoring the 2015 class of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Soccer Hall of Fame.

Bethlehem Steel FC

Christmas soccer in Philly, 1916

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Philadelphia's tradition of Christmas Day soccer games continued a hundred years ago in 1916 with games within the city and beyond.

US Open Cup, 1916: Bethlehem Steel advances to the final

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After defeating West Hudson on April 2, 1916 in the quarterfinals, Bethlehem Steel faced Chicago's Pullman FC twice in the semifinals of the 1915-1916 National Challenge Cup, with the deciding game Lehigh University's Taylor Stadium on April 22, 1916.

Third Lanark/All-Scots in Philly, 1921

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In 1921, the first-ever US tour by a professional international side included games in Bethlehem and Philadelphia.

American Football Association

1916: Bethlehem Steel wins the US Open Cup and American Cup

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On May 6, 1916, Bethlehem Steel became the first team to win the National Challenge Cup, known today as the US Open Cup, twice in a row.

Philadelphia and the other first professional soccer league in the U.S.

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Philadelphia was central to the formation of the first two pro soccer leagues in the US, the National League baseball-backed American League of Professional Football, and the American Association of Professional Football, which played its first games before, and outlived, the ALPF.

The origins of soccer in Philadelphia, part 9: Manz wins the 1897 American Cup

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After the quick demise of the Philadelphia Phillies pro soccer team in 1894, Philadelphia's other pro team would return to the amateur ranks before going on to win Philadelphia's first national soccer championship in 1897.

The origins of soccer in Philadelphia, part 8: Troubled times Philly’s first league and the city’s first professional soccer clubs

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The decline of Philadelphia's first organized league is followed by the appearance of the first professional soccer teams in the city.

The origins of soccer in Philadelphia, part 6: The first league

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Our series continues with the start of Philadelphia's first organized soccer league, the Pennsylvania Football Union, in 1889.

University of Pennsylvania

Christmas soccer in Philly, 1915

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Inter-city exhibition games and two US Open Cup playoff games were among the Christmas Day games involving Philadelphia area teams one hundred years ago in 1915.

The origins of soccer in Philadelphia, part 10: It’s only just begun

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Our series on the origins of soccer in Philadelphia concludes.

The origins of soccer in Philadelphia, part 10: It’s only just begun

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Our series on the origins of soccer in Philadelphia concludes.

The origins of soccer in Philadelphia, part 7: Philly’s first league continues to grow

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Philadelphia's first organized soccer league continued to grow in its second and third seasons with more teams, rising attendance, and intercity games.

The origins of soccer in Philadelphia, part 5: Local college-based football after the 1863 Laws of the Game

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Our series continues with a look at college football in Philadelphia after the 1863 Laws of the Game, and how rival rules of the game resulted in what would become American gridiron football supplanting soccer-style football in intercollegiate sport.

Thanksgiving soccer in Philly, 1914

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Philadelphia's tradition of Thanksgiving soccer continued with two big American Cup games and a game between two longstanding rivals.

The origins of soccer in Philadelphia, part 4: The first account of soccer-style football after codification?

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Our series continues with a look at football in Philadelphia after the 1863 code, including what may be the first newspaper accounts of a soccer-style game in the city.

The origins of soccer in Philadelphia, part 3: 19th century football before codification

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Our series on the origins of soccer in Philadelphia continues with a look at 19th century football before the 1863 Laws of the Game.

The origins of soccer in Philadelphia, part 3: 19th century football before codification

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Our series on the origins of soccer in Philadelphia continues with a look at 19th century football before the 1863 Laws of the Game.

Fran O’Brien

Exit the Fury: History of the Philadelphia Fury, Part Three

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Steve Holroyd's history of the Philadelphia Fury concludes.

The Fury simmers: History of Philadelphia Fury, Part Two

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Steve Holroyd's look at the history of the Philadelphia Fury continues.

Enter the Fury: History of the Philadelphia Fury, Part One

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Part one of Steve Holroyd's look a the history of the Philadelphia Fury.

The Rest

Like father, like son

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At 94 years old, Ray Lynch may be the oldest surviving Lighthouse Boys Club player. But his story isn't just that of a Scotch-Irish immigrant playing the game of his father, it's also part of the story of the movement of soccer in the US from its urban origins to the suburbs.

Christmas soccer in Philly, 1914

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The long tradition of holiday games continued for Philadelphia soccer teams in 1914.

The origins of soccer in Philadelphia, part 2: Colonial football

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Our series continues with a look at football in colonial and post revolutionary Philadelphia.

The origins of soccer in Philadelphia, part 1

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Our series looking at the origins of soccer in Philadelphia begins with a look at the football traditions British colonists brought with them, and those of the Native Americans they encountered.