American soccer writing, history & data.
In August, 1926, soccer officials from Chicago and St. Louis organized an inter-city league. The four St. Louis Soccer League teams and the four Chicago Soccer League teams joined to create the Western Soccer Cup Association. The schedule called doubleheaders each Sunday in St. Louis and Chicago. The four Chicago clubs were the Bricklayers, Canadian Club, Sparta, and Thistles. The four St. Louis clubs were Ben Miller, the Raticans, Wellston, and the White Banner Malts.
Harry Ratican's team lost the sponsorship by the Pants Store Co. and, without a new sponsor, was renamed Raticans. Owner and manager, Harry McCarthy, whose team previously had the backing of the Vesper-Buick Automobile Company, found a new sponsor and was renamed as the White Banner Malts.
With fans tiring of the run down St. Louis University Field, the Soccer and Exhibition Co. of St. Louis signed a lease to play matches at Sportsman's Park for the season which marked a return of professional soccer to that ball park for the first time in over two decades. The Chicago home grounds where Sparta Field and DePaul Field.
The eight-team league began play on October 24, 1926 with the season to end on January 23, 1927. After that the teams would turn their attention to National Challenge Cup play. WSCA business was conducted by two commissioners and a treasurer. Joseph Triner served as the Chicago Commissioner, Winton E. Barker served as the St. Louis Commissioner and Phil Riley of St. Louis served as the treasurer. In case of a dispute where the two commissioners were at odds, the decison fell to Armstrong Patterson of Detroit who was the Second Vice President of the USFA. In that role, Patterson was the High Commissioner of the WSCA. The league allowed three substitutions each game,; a rule currently in use in the St. Louis league. And, games would be held at St. Louis whenever extremely bad weather was expected in Chicago.
That first weekend Sparta traveled to St. Louis to face Ben Miller while White Banner Malts visited Sparta Field in Chicago to face Canadian Club. Thistles and Bricklayers played in Chicago while Raticans and Wellston F.C. played in St. Louis.
The league played for four weekends except for the doubleheader in St. Louis on November 14 which was postponed due to rain and muddy grounds at Sportsman's Park. Two days later, Winton Barker received a wire from W. R. Cummings, secretary of the WSCA, stating the desire of Chicago officials to discontinue the competition due to lack of interest in that city. Barker could only accept the surprise request.
The Soccer and Exhibition Co. of St. Louis decided to reorganize the St. Louis Soccer League and resume play in that competition the next Sunday. While competitive, the WSCA showed that the level of play in St. Louis had begun to lag behind that of Chicago. The league officials started looking to import soccer talent in an attempt to lift up the decline of the local game over the previous five years.
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