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  Soccer history   
 

American Soccer History Timeline
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Dating back to 1620 this is a brief view of chronology of United States soccer history.

1620

American folklore asserts that Pilgrim Fathers, upon settling at Plymouth Rock found American Indians along the Massachusetts coast playing a form of soccer. The Indians called it "Pasuckquakkohwog," which means "they gather to play football."

1820

Many American colleges played soccer, but there was no intercollegiate competition. Rules were casual and changed often.

1862

The Oneidas of Boston, the first organized soccer club in America, were formed by Gerritt Miller Smith. The Oneidas were undefeated from 1862-65. A monument now stands in Boston Common, where the Oneidas played their home matches.

1865 - 1876

Soccer was initiated as an organized college sport in the USA in the years following the Civil War. Princeton and Rutgers Universities engaged in the first intercollegiate soccer match November 6, 1876, in New Brunswick, N.J. Rutgers won the match 6-4. The game was more similar to both rugby and soccer than gridiron football.

1876 - 1880

Thousands of British immigrants arrived in the metropolitan areas of the East, Midwest and Pacific Coast. Communities with textile mills, shipyards, quarries or mines also had soccer teams among its immigrant population, a pattern occurring all over the world during the time of the Industrial Revolution.

1884

The American Football Association was organized in Newark, N.J., uniting the numerous metropolitan area enclaves of the East to maintain uniformity in the interpretation of rules and provide an orderly and stable growth of soccer in America.

1885 - 1886

The U.S. and Canada played a game a year against each other, representing the first "international" soccer games to take place outside of the British Isles.

1904

The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was formed in Paris on May 21. Charter members included: France, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. The International Board, the authority over the rules and their interpretation continued under the jurisdiction of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, even though they were not affiliated with FIFA. The Olympic Games of 1904 in St. Louis included soccer as an official Olympic sport where club teams competed under the national team banner. FIFA did not become active in Olympic soccer until 1908.

1913

FIFA became a member of the International Board, increasing their influence on the interpretation of rules. The United States Football Association (USFA) was granted provisional membership by FIFA on August 15.

1914

The United States Football Association (USFA) was incorporated under the laws of the state of New York, May 30, and was granted full membership in FIFA at the annual congress at Oslo, Norway, June 24.

1916

The first United States Football Association (USFA) Men's National Team traveled to Norway and Sweden. The Americans played six matches on this tour, finishing 3-1-2.

1919

Bethlehem Steel (PA) became the first American professional team to play in Europe when they toured Sweden.

1920

The Dick-Kerr's Ladies Professional Team, which toured the United States in 1920. They outscored their male opponents 35-34, and left with a 3-3-2 record.



1921

The original American Soccer League (ASL) began. Franchises were granted to Fall River (MA), Philadelphia, Jersey City Celtics, Todd Shipyard of Brooklyn, New York FC, Falco FC of Holyoke (MA), and JP Coats of Pawtucket (RI).

1923

The world's first indoor soccer league with 11-a-side teams on a full-sized field opened the winter season at the Commonwealth Calvary Armory in Boston.

1926

The Hakoah team from Israel played before 46,000 fans at the Polo Grounds against an ASL select team. The ASL won, 3-0.



1930

The USA was one of 13 nations to compete in the first FIFA World Cup competition in Montevideo, Uruguay. Bert Patenaude (Fall River, MA) was the third leading scorerof the U.S. team was the third-leading scorer in the tournament. He also was the first player to tally three goals in a World Cup match. At the first World Cup, 90,000 electrified fans watched as Argentina beat the US in the semi-final. The United States team, who was favored to win, finished third overall.


1932

At the 10th Olympiad in Los Angeles, soccer was eliminated due to a controversy between FIFA and the IOC over the definition of amateur and the reluctance of most of the strong soccer countries to travel to California because of the expense involved.

1933

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), governing body of college athletics in the United States, released their official rulebook covering all intercollegiate soccer in the United States.

1934

The United States Men's National Team took part in their second consecutive World Cup, going winless in Italy.

1938

West Chester State College and Salisbury College played in the first intercollegiate soccer game under floodlights.

1941

The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) was organized by 10 coaches attending the annual meeting of the intercollegiate Soccer Football Association of America in New York.

1945

The USFA changed its name to United States Soccer Football Association (USSFA).

1950

Joe Gaetjens' goal lifts the USA over England 1-0 at the World Cup in Brazil. It was called the biggest upset ever in international soccer. The first college bowl game was played in St. Louis January 1. Penn State tied the University of San Francisco 2-2. The National Soccer Hall of Fame is organized by the Philadelphia Old-Timers Association. There were 15 inaugural inductees.

1953

In an agreement with the Old-timers Soccer Association, the USSFA assumed administration of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

1958

The American Soccer League (ASL) was granted permission from the USSFA assumed to create an International Soccer League (ISL), made up of top-class European, South American and United States professional league teams that would operate in the cities throughout the United States.

1959

The first National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics college championship was held in Slippery Rock, PA. Pratt Institute was victorious over Elizabethtown College 4-3. The first NCAA championship tournament is held in Storrs, CT. St. Louis University defeated Bridgeport University 5-2.

1960

The International Soccer League (ISL) began play under the sponsorship of William Cox and the ASL. For more than a decade foreign teams visited the USA to play American teams. The new league, composed of first class European, British and South American teams, was an attempt to test the support of American soccer fans for a top-flight league.

1961

The North, Central American and Caribbean Football Confederation (CONCACAF) was formed as the successor of the Central American and Caribbean Confederation on September 18 in Mexico City. Later that year, the CONCACAF was officially recognized by FIFA as the governing body of soccer in this part of the world.

1967

Two new major professional leagues made their debut in the USA, the USSFA-sanctioned United Soccer Association (USA) and the independent National Professional Soccer League (NPSL). By the end of the year, the leagues merged at the request of FIFA and the North American Soccer League (NASL) was established. The Hermann Trophy award for the college player of the year was initiated. Dov Markus of Long Island University was the first recipient.

1971

Pelé retired from international competition after Brazil tied Yugoslavia 2-2 before 150,000 at Rio de Janiero's Maracana Stadium.

1973

Kyle Rote, Jr. became the first rookie and the first American to win the NASL scoring title with 10 goals and 10 assists for 30 points.

1974

The USSFA changed its name to the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). The NASL reached a membership of 18 teams. Kyle Rote, Jr. won the first of his three victories on ABC-TV Superstars competitions against elite athletes from other major sports.

1975

In April, the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League signed Pelé for a reported $4.5 million.

1977

The NASL signed a seven-game contract for national television. On October 1, Pelé participated for both sides in his farewell game at Giants Stadium between the Cosmos and FC Santos (his former team from Brazil), in front of a crowd of 77,202.

1978

The Chicago Sting played the Cuban National Team in an exhibition game in Havana, the first time since 1959 that an American professional sports team had visited Castro's island. The New York Cosmos became the first NASL team to break one million in home and away attendance. In September, the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) debuted with six franchises: Cincinnati Kids, Cleveland Force, Houston Summit, New York Arrows, Philadelphia Fever and Pittsburgh Spirit.

1981

The United States Under-20 National Team competed in its first World Youth Championship in Australia. The U.S. team lost to Uruguay 3-0, tied Qatar 1-1, and lost to Poland 4-0.

1982

The United States made a formal bid to host the 1986 FIFA World Cup. The MISL season opened with 14 teams, including three teams participating for a season from the NASL (San Jose, Chicago and San Diego). The National Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum opened in the Wilber Mansion, Oneonta, NY.

1983

FIFA awarded the 1986 World Cup to Mexico, rejecting the bid from the United States.

1984

Four NASL teams permanently joined the MISL (New York, Chicago, San Diego and Minnesota). The ASL canceled what would have been its 50th season. The American Indoor Soccer Association (AISA) was formed. The United Soccer League (USL) was formed.

1985

The first U.S. Women's National Team competes internationally in August in Italy. The North American Soccer League and the United Soccer League both ceased operations.

1986

At the UNICEF All-Star game in Pasadena, CA, FIFA officials suggested that the USA should bid for the 1995 World Cup.
The Western Soccer Alliance (WSA) kicked off with seven teams.

1987

New 4,000 sq. ft. interim National Soccer Museum opens in Oneonta, including the Hall of Famer's from USSF, NSCAA, and NISOA (National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association).

1988

The ASL began play with 10 teams.
On July 4, the United States was awarded the 1994 World Cup during the FIFA Congress in Zurich.

1989

The United States Futsal National Team won the bronze medal at the inaugural FIFA World Championship in the Netherlands. Paul Caligiuri scores the biggest goal in U.S. Soccer history since Gaetjens goal in the 1950 World Cup against England. Referred to as the "shot heard around the world," Caligiuri's 35-yard dipping shot found the net in a 1-0 victory over Trinidad & Tobago Nov. 19, in front of 35,000 red-clad Trinidadians, clinching the USA's first appearance in the World Cup since 1950.

1990

U.S. Men's National Team competed in the World Cup for the first time in 40 years. The WSL and the ASL merged to form the American Professional Soccer League.

1991

The United States Men's National Team won its first-ever regional championship July 7 when it captured the CONCACAF Gold Cup defeating Honduras 4-3 on penalty kicks. The U.S. Women's National Team captured the first-ever FIFA Women's World Championship in China with a 2-1 win over Norway November 30. This is the only time an American team had ever won a world title. The women qualified for the world championship by defeating its five CONCACAF opponents by a combined score of 49-0. The United States Under-23 team won the gold medal at the Pan Am Games in Cuba. The National Soccer Hall of Fame dedicated the Wright National Soccer Campus.

1992

The U.S. Men's National Team won the inaugural U.S. Cup '92 in June. The USA defeated Ireland 3-1, Portugal 1-0, and tied three-time World Cup champion Italy, 1-1. The Major Indoor Soccer League folded after 15 years in existence. The U.S. Fustal Team won the silver medal at FIFA World Championship in Hong Kong.

1993

In February, U.S. Soccer held first-ever Strategic Summit where more than 250 soccer leaders and personalities met in Chicago for four days to plan the development of soccer into the 21st century. U.S. Cup ''93 was used as a dress rehearsal for World Cup organizers, officials and volunteers, as well as U.S. National Team. The USA's 2-0 defeat of England made headlines around the world. Attendance and media interest were high, with 286,761 people attending the tournament's six matches, and ABC-TV broadcasting the June 13 U.S./Germany match. The United States Under-20 National Team defeated Europe's number one seed, Turkey, 6-0 in the first game of the FIFA World Youth Championship in Australia. FIFA officials called the trouncing one of the most extraordinary results in the history of the tournament. The APSL was declared a Division II professional league. The United States Interregional Soccer League (USISL) was given Division III status. Plans for Major League Soccer - a Division I league to follow the legacy of World Cup '94 - were presented by Alan I. Rothenberg. Pelé, the most recognizable soccer figure in the world, is inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame along with John Nanoski and Dennis Long bringing the total to 194.

1994

The United States served as host national association for the 1994 FIFA World Cup, staging the greatest event in FIFA history. More than 3.5 million fans flocked to stadiums - still a World Cup record - and soccer fever in the United States was at all-time high. The U.S. team advance beyond the first round for the first time in 64 years, falling to eventual champion Brazil 1-0 in a July 4th round of 16 showdown at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, CA. On June 4th, 91,123 fans jammed the Rose Bowl to watch the U.S. defeat Mexico 1-0, in its final tune-up prior to the World Cup. Match proceeds netted $1million in the U.S. Soccer contributions to UNICEF/Children's Defense Fund. The Women's National Team won the Chiquita Cup, a four-team international tournament in which the United States hosted Germany, China and Norway. The U.S., went on to successfully defend its CONCACAF championship, qualifying for the 1995 FIFA Women's World Championship by outscoring the opposition 36-1 en route to winning all four qualification matches. Women's National Team Head Coach Anson Dorrance announced his resignation and U.S. Soccer named assistant coach Tony DiCicco to succeed him.

1995

U.S. Women's National Team placed 3rd at the Women's World Cup in Sweden, falling to eventual champion Norway in the semifinals 1-0, then defeated China in the 3rd Place Match. U.S. Soccer announced in February its intention to host the 1999 Women's World Cup and began the formal bid process with FIFA. U.S. Men's National team won U.S. Cup '95 in June, defeating Nigeria and Mexico and tying Colombia. The 4-0 victory over Mexico during the U.S. Cup was the most lopsided U.S. victory in the rivalry's history. In July, the men's team made international headlines by advancing to the semifinals of Copa America, one of the world's most prestigious tournaments. The U.S. scored its first-ever victory over Argentina, 3-0, and advanced via penalty kicks (over Mexico) into the semifinals before falling 1-0 to defending world champion Brazil. Steve Sampson, who had served as interim national team coach since April, was named full-time head coach in August.

1996

U.S. Women's National Team won the first-ever gold medal in Women's Soccer in the Olympic Games in Atlanta defeating China 2-1 in the championship game. The Women posted a 21-1-2 overall record and won the Brazil Cup and the U.S. Women's Cup '96. The United States men's Olympic team narrowly missed advancing to the quarterfinals with a 1-1-1 record. Major League Soccer was launched, providing the United States with its first Division I outdoor pro league since the North American Soccer League ceased operations n 1985. MLS averaged more than 17,000 fans per game. The A-League and USISL merged to form a larger and stronger Division II outdoor league. FIFA awarded the 1999 Women's World Cup to the United States and the U.S. Soccer pledged it would be the biggest and most successful women's sporting event ever.

1997

Men's National Team qualified for their third straight World Cup, completing their grueling 16-game run with just two losses and advancing with a game to spare. Women's World Cup Organizing Committee had awarded the '99 games to seven U.S. locations: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York/New Jersey, Portland, San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington, D.C. The United States Women's National Team continued their impressive play by winning their fourth straight Nike U.S. Cup. The Continental Indoor Soccer League ceased operations on December 23 after five years of competition.

1998

A disappointing World Cup finished with the United States in last place after two difficult match-ups against Germany and Yugoslavia, and a heartbreaking loss to Iran. Brian McBride scores the team's only World Cup goal. The tournament concludes with the resignation of head coach Steve Sampson, who is eventually replaced on October 27, by Bruce Arena. Dr. Bob Contiguglia took over as U.S. Soccer's new president, replacing Alan I. Rothenberg, who had reached the eight year term limit. The women's team continued their impressive play. losing just twice in 1998 while playing in front of record crowds all across the country.

1999

In front of over 90,000 fans at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA, the United States Women's National Team won the 1999 Women's World Cup by playing Chian to a 0-0 tie through regulation and overtime and then defeating them 5-4 on penalties. Their road to victory incited soccer hysteria in Ameria as the women appeared on every top news program, at the White House, on the cover of Time, Sports Illustrated, Newsweek and People. U.S. Women's National Team head coach Tony DiCicco resigned in November as the winningest coach in in U.S. Soccer history with a record of 103-8-8. National Soccer Hall of Fame opened its doors to its new $5 million hall of fame and museum on June 12. In Bruce Arena's first full year at the helm of the U.S. Men's National Team, the team records triumphs over Germany (twice), Argentina, Chile, and earns the Bronze medal at the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup in Mexico. The Under-23 Men's National Team beat Canada for the bronze medal at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg. The Under-20 advanced to the second round of the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship in April, with their only two losses coming to eventual finalists Spain and Japan. Taylor Twellman scored four goals to earn himself the Bronze Boot, the first American male in the modern era to earn FIFA scoring award. In November, the Under-17s extended their record unbeaten streak to 24 games, advancing to the semifinals of the World Championship before losing on penalty kicks to Australia. In addition to the fourth-place finish, forward Landon Donovan and midfielder DaMarcus Beasley earned the Gold and Silver Balls as the tournaments top two MVPs. The Under-18 Women's National Team captured the gold medal at the Pan American Games in Winninpeg. The Under-21 Women's National Team also earned the 1999 Nordic Cup title. The Premier Soccer Alliance, which began in 1998 with four teams, was renamed the World Indoor Soccer League.

2000

Bruce Arena's squad continued to advance toward their ultimate goal of qualifying for the 2002 World Cup. The team secured 10 out of a possible 12 points in its last four qualifying matches - all shutouts - to win their semifinal qualifying group. The United States women maintained the momentum from their historic Women's World Cup title with a record 41 matches in 2000, posting a 26-6-9 record. The U.S. won a whopping six tournament titles in 2000, however had to settle for a silver medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics, losing in overtime to archrival Norway in the Gold Medal Match. The American men and women put on an impressive display for the world at the Sydney Games, as the U.S. is the only nation to have both teams advance to the semifinals. The men are the surprise team of the tournament winning their group and advancing to the semis before grabbing fourth place, the highest Olympic finish. The United States Futsal National Team fails to qualify for the 2000 FIFA World Championship, coming in third place at the CONCACAF qualifying tournament.

2001

The United States Men qualified for a fourth straight World Cup appearance, boosted by four wins and a draw to open the final round of CONCACAF qualifying. For the first time in United States Soccer history, the Men's National Team clinched a spot in the World Cup at a home qualifier, topping Jamaica 2-1 behind two goals from Joe-Max Moore in front of 40,483 fans at the last soccer match played at Foxboro Stadium. The United States Women play only 10 international matches in 2001 as the new Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA) begins play, with the Bay Area CyberRays winning the inaugural Founders Cup. Mia Hamm is named the first-ever FIFA Women's World Player of the Year, beating out teammate Tiffeny Milbrett and Chinese superstar Sun Wen for the historic award. The United States Under-21 Women won their third straight Nordic Cup with a 6-1 rout over of Sweden in the final. The United States Under-19 Women's National Team prepared for the 2002 U-19 Women's World Championship by going undefeated in five international matches, outscoring opponents 23-1. The United States Under-17 Men's National Team advanced to their ninth consecutive FIFA U-17 World Championship, but were drawn into the Group of Death in Trinidad & Tobago with Japan, Nigeria and France, and were eliminated in the first round. The United States Under-20 Men's National Team qualified for their third straight FIFA World Championship, where the team finished second in their group in Argentina and were eliminated in the second round by Egypt. The National Professional Soccer League, in existence since 1984-85, merges with the WISL and is renamed the Major Indoor Soccer League.

2002

The United States Men's National Team advanced to the quarterfinals at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan, the team's best World Cup showing since 1930. The United States shocks the world with a stunning 3-2 opening game upset of Portugal before eventually finishing in second place in Group D. The United States the posts their first-ever victory in the World Cup knockout stage, blanking CONCACAF rival Mexico 2-0 in the Round of 16. The World Cup run ended in the quarterfinals with a 1-0 loss to Germany. Midfielder Claudio Reyna was named to the All-Tournament Team, while Landon Donovan earned World Cup Honorable Mention. The United States began 2002 by winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup in January with a convincing 2-0 victory over Costa Rica for the first Gold Cup title for the United States since 1991. The United States Women's National Team qualified for their fourth consecutive FIFA Women's World Cup after capturing the 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup with a 2-1 overtime victory over Canada at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. The United States Under-19 Women's National Team topped the host Canadians 1-0 in overtime to win the inaugural FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship. Forward Kelly Wilson won the Bronze Ball as the tournament's third MVP and the Silver Boot, while forward Lindsay Tarpley earned the Bronze Boot. For the men, the United States Under-20 National Team qualified for their fourth consecutive FIFA Youth Championship. The United States National Futsal Team played their first-ever home matches, defeating Canada and tying Mexico in March in Baltimore, MD, and Washington, DC, respectively.

2003

Due to the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, FIFA relocates the Women's World Cup out of China. The United States' bid to host the tournament is successful, and United States Soccer faces the unprecedented task of hosting the tournament with just four months of preparation. The United States Women's National Team, now defending their title on home soil, easily won Group A and then got past Norway in the quarterfinals 1-0. But in the semifinals, Germany stunned the United States with a 3-0 victory, which led the United States to top Canada in the third-place match. Shannon Boxx, Joy Fawcett and Mia Hamm all earned all-star honors from FIFA. The Men's National Team, preparing for World Cup qualification in 2004, finish in third place at the CONCACAF Gold Cup with a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Costa Rica. The Men also compete in the FIFA Confederations Cup in France, but cannot get out of their group in losing to Turkey and Brazil, and drawing with Cameroon. The United States Under-21 Women's National Team won their sixth Nordic Cup title in seven years. The United States Under-17 Men's National Team bowed out in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Brazil in Finland. The Under-17s finished fifth. The Under-20 Men's National Team made an improbable run to the quarterfinals of the FIFA World Youth Championship before being stunned by Argentina who came from behind with stoppage and overtime goals for a 2-1 win, denying the United States a spot in the semifinals. The Under-20s finished fifth. The Women's United Soccer Association suspend operations.

2004

United States Women's National Team qualify for the Olympics. United States Futsal Team defeats Cuba 2-0 to win the CONCACAF Futsal Championship. Major League Soccer announce the expansion of Utah and Los Angeles bringing the total number of MLS teams to 12.




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