Soccer Almanac

American soccer writing, history & data.

Inaugural SLSL 1915-16 season

Jan. 11, 2022 |  Categories:  SLSL   St. Louis  

The rival factions of the St. Louis Soccer League (the Robison Field league) and the Federal Park Soccer League ended their war after the 1914-15 season and, in the spring, organized a new St. Louis Soccer League made up of the best two clubs from each league. Ben Miller (managed by Pete Ratican) and St. Leo's (under new manager Billy Monahan) joined from the FPSL while Columbus Club (managed by Tate Brady) and Innisfails (managed by Willie Foley) joined from the SLSFL. The league affiliated with the U.S.F.A.

Winton E. Barker was elected president of the new league by a unanimous vote of the four managers and, at the suggestion of former St. Leo's manager Billy Klosterman, the league decided to run its affairs through an executive committee not affiliated with any of the clubs patterned after St. Louis' Municipal Soccer League. Dr. Alexander Murray, Charles Bartley and Glenn Waller were selected as committee members. Prior to the season, Tate Brady's Columbus Club team was renamed the Missouri Naval Reserves. The league decided not to take part in the National Challenge Cup as officials did not think there was enough money in the treasury to do so. Teams had to pay their own expenses to compete the 1915-16 season.

The league reached an agreement to use Robison Field for the 1915-16 season which kicked off on Sunday, October 17 with the scheduled doubleheaders to run through the last Sunday in March. Mayor Henry Kiel was on hand to kick the first ball at the opening of the season.

With the advent of one, more stable and more competitive league fans began returning to soccer. The second weekend drew 2200 to see the doubleheader which was the largest crowd to see soccer ever at Robison Field and the largest crowd for professional soccer since St. Leo's left the old St. Louis Soccer Football League three years prior. The league was a success as attendance continued to average between 2000 and 3000 per doubleheader. Because of this, in late February, the league officials and managers decided to make the organization a permanent one with the same teams for the 1916-17 season.

Ben Millers was the class of the league and won the season title. St. Leo's suffered without Klosterman in charge and ended at the bottom of the standings. Billy Monahan resigned as manager of St. Leo's in mid-January and was replaced by "Bull" Brannigan.

The St. Louis clubs also made a case for being the best teams in the West. During the winter holidays, both Innisfails and St. Leo's beat Pullman F.C. from Chicago while Ben Miller and Naval Reserves crushed the Nationals from Detroit 12-0 and 9-3 respectively.

Following the season, Ben Miller made a case for being the best team in the West beating Hyde Park from Chicago 7-2 at Robison Field and then beating the Nationals again 7-1 and an All-Michigan team 3-2, both at Mack Park in Detroit.

©2021 by Daniel Creel. All rights reserved.