American soccer writing, history & data.
In the summer prior to the 1925-26 season the Soccer and Exhibition Co. of St. Louis, formerly the St. Louis Soccer League, held a meeting and decided to sign player to contracts for a weekly salary with guaranteed minimums of $10 for a win, $7 for a tie, and $6 for a loss. The franchise owners were bound under a league agreement to pay players at least this fixed amount but were at liberty to pay more to any player if they desired.
The American Soccer League and the SLSL clubs decided to rejoin the National Challenge Cup competition after the USFA decided to take only a 15% cut of the receipts from the divisional semifinals, finals and the grand final along with a smaller cut of earlier rounds. The USFA also continued to exempt the bigger clubs from all the preliminary rounds.
The SLSL continued to play Sunday doubleheaders at St. Louis University Field. But, instead of playing NCC dates as doubleheaders, only once game was played each NCC date which helped spread out the interest and raised the overall attendance. Tate Brady, owner of the franchise formerly called Scullin Steel, found a new sponsor in the Wellston Business Men's League. As such, the team was renamed Wellston F.C. Brady retired as a player to focus on managing his club. He played for 15 years and was considered on of the greatest fullbacks in the U.S. As a player-manager, his Scullins squad was the first time to reach three straight NCC finals.
Willie Foley's Ben Millers again won the league title. On March 28, 1926, the Hatters defeated the Canadian Club from Chicago 2-0 in the NCC Western Division Final before 7000 at St. Louis University Field. Two weeks later, on April 11, Ben Miller met Bethlehem Steel in the Grand Final. At Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, Bethlehem Steel crushed the Hatters 7-2 before 13,000 fans.
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