American soccer writing, history & data.
The California Football Association initially thought the soccer season would not be seriously affected by the United States' entry into the Great War. The majority of club managers thought they would not lose many players to the draft or enlistments because a majority of active players were over draft age and a very large percentage were married with children. But the affect was larger than that. One big was that two of the oldest California Football League clubs, San Francisco and the Vampires, dropped out during the offseason before the 1917-18 season.
The CFA held its annual meeting on Saturday, August 4. J. Hanlon was elected president. The CFA made a change in its rules that a player could transfer from teams in the cup competition if he had not participated in any game or had been signed up in any manner. There was also talk of limiting teams in the CFL and cup to only six clubs so that there would be more quality.
The CFL met on August 10, 1917. John Elliott was elected secretary. No new clubs were admitted and the league returned as an eight-team competition. The Bay Counties Soccer League was also reorganized on August 20. The competition included four clubs and would play on Saturdays.
The CFL opened its 14-game season on Sunday, September 30. The Barbarians moved into their new grounds at 40th Street and San Pablo Avenue in Emeryville. The Argonauts and Rangers shared Croll's grounds in Alameda. The Celtics, Burns Club, Thistles, and Union Iron Works all played at Ocean Shore grounds at 12 and Mission Streets in San Francisco. And the Olympic Club again made their home at Ewing Field. The Olympics made a strong push to reclaim the league title. Before the season they acquired George Elliot, a former Bethlehem Steel halfback, Oliver Johnston (from Staten Island), James Harrison from Fore River of Quincy, Mass., and A.A. Catton from Honolulu.
The league season ended on Sunday, January 6, 1918. The Union Iron Works team defended their title in relatively easy fashion by running up 24 points, six more than second place Thistles. UIW also recorded their second straight double when they beat the Thistles 4-0 in the CFA cup final at Ocean Shore grounds on April 21.
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