American soccer writing, history & data.
The American Soccer League of St. Louis was organized by Walter Giesler, secretary of the Missouri Soccer Commission and former head of the U.S. Soccer Football Association during 1948 and 1949. The league joined the four-year-old St. Louis Major Soccer League as the only professional soccer leagues in St. Louis during the 1951-52 season. While the leagues competed for soccer fans, there was little animosity between the two organizations.
Both leagues had to find new places to play as there was to be no more league soccer at Sportsman's Park. The administrators of the venue wanted to renovate the old stadium and had also grown tired of the wear and tear to the field from SLMSL soccer games during the baseball offseason. The SLMSL took over North Side Sports Arena at Grand Boulevard and Florissant Avenue while the ASLSL operated at St. Louis Softball Park at Ohio and Shenandoah Avenues on the south side. Both parks, used for many years exclusively for softball, were renovated to accommodate soccer.
As was the tradition in St. Louis, the ASLSL had four member franchises: Southern Equipment aka Seco managed by Oscar Mossmann; Schumacher managed by Ray Berdeaux, Kutis managed by Chick Fernandez; and Zenthoefer Furs managed by George McGann. The sponsors for the latter two teams jumped ship from the SLMSL in the offseason to back the new league. The league scheduled an 18-game split season with doubleheaders Sunday afternoons and Tuesday nights. All four teams entered both the National Open Cup and National Amateur Cup. The league also had a working agreement with the old ASL on the East Coast for inter-league competition but no matches under that agreement ever materialized.
Less than a month into the season, Art Garcia was named manager of the Schumachers replacing Ray Berdeaux. A week later, Garcia brought on Alec McNab, former Fall River and St. Louis soccer star and coach, on board as a coach for the team.
Kutis won the first half of the ASLSL season fairly easily over second-place Zenthoefer Furs. Both teams made it furthest from the league in NOC play. But both were knocked out in the Third Round by SLMSL teams. On February 10, Joe Simpkins of the SLMSL beat Kutis 3-0 at North Side Sports Arena before 400 fans and, the next Sunday, the Mike Breheny Furniture team beat Zenthoefers 4-3 at St. Louis Softball Park. Kutis also made it furthest in the National Amateur Cup beating the Carondelet club 3-2 in the third round on February 24 at the St. Louis Softball Park. But, the next Sunday, the Raiders of the SLMSL blanked Kutis 6-0 before 500 at the St. Louis Softball Park to win the NAC Missouri Final.
Kutis easily won the second half title at the end of April. And, taking both halves, the club won the ASLSL championship for the 1951-52 season.
While the ASLSL did not lose money it only existed for its initial season. In mid-September of 1952, less than a month before the start of the 1952-53 soccer season, the ASLSL decided not to operate due to the uncertainty of the lease with the St. Louis Softball Park. The city of St. Louis planned to take over the park and covert it into a public playground. The four ASLSL clubs were admitted into the Municipal Soccer League's senior division.
©2022 by Daniel Creel. All rights reserved.