It used to be called Football here too…

April 13, 2011

 

With a soccer-specific stadium in beautiful Chester, an average attendance that the playoff-bound Sixers don’t rival even in an arena with 2,000 more seats, and a team atop the table early in the 2011 season, soccer fever is running high in Philadelphia.  While most young fans think that Philly’s soccer history goes only as deep as the Zolos, they’re wrong.  And while some of the older guys might think we started in the 70s with the NASL’s Philadelphia Atoms and Fury, they’re wrong too.  Though it seems like we are new kids on the block when it comes to the beautiful game, Philly was playing professional soccer…err football when Grover Cleveland was in office.

Turn back the clock to 1894.  The owners of six teams in the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs (better known simply as the National League) get together to do what sport franchise owners do best: figure out new ways to make money.  They decide to take advantage of their stadiums, which went unused during the winter months and capitalize on a sport with a relatively small, but growing fan base: association (as opposed to gridiron) football.  And so, on June 19, 1894 the American League of Professional Football was born.

While the owners were publicly confident about the ALPF, their actions made it clear that the ALPF was more about extra revenue and marketing baseball than it was about building soccer in this country.  For one, there were no “soccer people” in the ownership of the ALPF.  In fact, Arthur Irwin, then manager of the Phillies was named the league’s president.  Secondly, all of the six teams that made up the league took the names of the baseball teams in their respective cities: the Brooklyn Bridegrooms, the Baltimore Orioles, the Boston Beaneaters, the New York Giants, the Washington Senators, and your Philadelphia Phillies.  And thirdly, only Baltimore hired an actual soccer coach to manage the team, the rest used a combination of their baseball managers and front office members.

Sam Thompson, the Phillies' Hall of Fame OF and gimmick RW.

Not too surprisingly, neither the Phillies nor the league flourished.  Despite charging only $0.25 per ticket (half of the cost of a baseball game at the time), the team drew about 500 fans per game at Philadelphia Base Ball Grounds (later rebuilt and re-named the Baker Bowl after a fire).  In a failed attempt to attract fans, the team also had a few of the NL Phillies play for the ALPF team.  One of those crossover players was Sam Thompson, a baseball Hall of Famer who hit .407 with 13 HR and 141 RBI in 99 games in the 1894 season.  The schedule of the games also severely limited attendance as games were played on weekday afternoons when the immigrant working class was still at work.  With that scheduling, the ALPF missed out on a large segment of the population who was actually familiar with the sport.

The Inquirer’s reporting on the Phillies doesn’t disappoint.  The sport itself is described as “decidedly interesting” even though it is “robbed of the Rubgy roughness.”  The Inquirer noted that “all of the players are of either English or Irish extraction, and some have been imported especially to play in the new league, except Charley Reilly the Phillies’ third baseman, who is new to the game, but who promises to become one of the best players.”  I’m not too sure the Daily News would be so kind to Placido Polanco if he tried soccer on for size.

By all accounts, the ALPF Phillies were the original Broad Street Bullies.  In the Phillies’ first game against New York, a “regular wrestling and slugging match ensued” after a NY player took some liberties with the Phillies’ goalkeeper.  Later in a game against the Washington Senators, “Reilly and Rock were ejected from the field for wrestling.”

They may have been tough, but they weren’t very good.  The Phillies finished 2-7 and only one spot ahead of the last place Senators.

The ALPF itself didn’t fare much better than the Phillies.  Just 18 days into the season, the season was cancelled, most likely because it was not economically viable.  And although the owners originally planned on continuing the league in 1895, that never occurred and the ALPF disappeared for good.

A league that spanned less than 3 weeks almost 117 years ago can’t be considered a success, but it was America’s first professional soccer league and Philadelphia was right in the thick of it.

Credit to The Philly Soccer Page, which contains a host of soccer related pieces.  Its comprehensive two-part series on the ALPF served as a source for this article.




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Size Charts

Select your brand and style to read more about how your purchase will fit:

American Needle fitted hats | '47 Brand hats | '47 Brand apparel | Majestic apparel | Majestic jerseys | Red Jacket apparel | Junk Food apparel | Next Level apparel (Shibe Originals)

Use these tips as a general guide when finding your measurements:

 

American Needle Fitted Hats

If you do not know your size, first determine where on your head you want to wear your hat. Usually it is worn about a half-inch to an inch above the eyebrows and/or just above the ears. Have a friend hold the tape measure (cloth, plastic, or download a printable version here) at the point where you want the hat to rest on your head.  Insert the tip of your little finger between the tape and your head.  Record the measurement and find your Fitted Hat size using the chart below.  This should provide you with a comfortable fit.

 

'47 Brand Hats

 

47 Brand Adjustable Hats Size Chart Size Hat Size Circumference (cm)
Adjustable Hats Men's 6 7/8 - 7 5/8 55 - 61
Women's 6 5/8 - 7 1/4 53 - 58
Youth 6 5/8 - 7 1/8 53 - 57

 

47 Brand Fitted Hats Size Chart Size Hat Size Circumference (cm)
Fitted Hats XX Small 6 1/2 - 6 5/8 52 - 53
X Small 6 3/4 54
Small 6 7/8 - 7 55 - 56
Medium 7 - 7 1/8 56 - 57
Large 7 1/4 58
X Large 7 3/8 - 7 5/8 59 - 61
XX Large 7 5/8 - 7 3/4 61 - 62
XXX Large 7 7/8 63
XXXX Large 8 64
XXXXX Large 8 1/8 65

 

47 Brand Stretch Fit Hats Size Chart Size Hat Size Circumference (cm)
Stretch Fit Fitted Hats Youth 6 1/2 - 6 5/8 52 - 53
Small / Medium 6 7/8 - 7 55 - 56
Medium / Large 7 1/8 - 7 3/8 57 - 59
Large / X Large 7 1/2 - 7 5/8 60 - 61
One Size Fits All 7 - 7 1/2 56 - 60

 

47 Brand Knit Hats Size Chart Hat Size Circumference (cm)
Knit Hats Youth 6 1/2 - 6 3/4 52 - 54
One Size Fits All 6 7/8 - 7 1/2 55 - 60

 

'47 Brand Apparel

 

 
47 Brand Men's Size Chart S M L XL XXL
Neck 14"-14.5" 15"-15.5" 16"-16.5" 17"-17.5" 18"-18.5"
Shoulder 21" 22" 23" 24" 25"
Chest 36"-38" 39"-41" 42"-44" 45"-47" 48"-50"
Waist 28"-30" 31"-33" 34"-36" 37"-39" 40"-42"

 

47 Brand Women's Size Chart S M L XL
Size 2-4 6-8 8-10 10-12
Shoulder 14.25" 15.25" 16.25" 17.25"
Bust 32"-34" 35"-36" 37"-38" 39"-42"
Waist 26"-27" 28"-29" 30"-31" 32"-33"

 

 

Majestic apparel

Men's Sizing (measurements in inches)
  S M L XL XXL 3XL 4XL
Chest 34-36 38-40 42-44 46-48 52-52 54-56 58-60
Waist 28-30 32-34 36-38 40-42 44-46 48-50 52-54
Hip 34-36 38-40 42-44 46-48 50-52 54-56 58-60
Sleeve 32-33 33-34 34-35 35-36 36-36 1/2 36 1/2-37 37-37 1/2
Neck 14-14 1/2 15-15 1/2 16-16 1/2 17-17 1/2 18-18 1/2 19-19 1/2 20-20 1/2

 

Women's Sizing (measurements in inches)
  XS S M L XL 1X 2X
Size 0-2 4-6 8-10 12-14 16-18 16W-18W 20W-22W
Chest 32-33 34-35 36-37 38-40 41 1/2-43 1/2 43-45 47-49
Waist 24-25 26-27 28-29 30-32 33 1/2-35 1/2 36-38 39-41
Hip 34 1/2-35 1/2 36 1/2-37 1/2 38 1/2-39 1/2 40 1/2-42 1/2 44-46 46-48 49-51
Sleeve 29 1/4 30 30 3/4 31 1/2 32 32 1/2 33

 

Youth Sizing (measurements in inches)
  S M L XL XXL 3XL
Size 6-8 10-12 14-16 18-20 20 22
Chest 24-26 28-30 32-34 36-38    
Waist 21-23 25-27 29-31 33-35 37-39 40-42

 

 

 

Majestic Jerseys

Adult Men's Replica Jersey Sizing  
Jersey Size Small Medium Large X Large XX Large
Neck (diameter of neck) 6.5 6.75 7 7.25 7.5
Chest (underarm to underarm) 20 1/2 22 1/2 24 1/2 26 1/2 28 1/2
Sleeve (back of inside neck to end of middle sleeve) 8 1/2 8 3/4 9 9 1/4 9 1/2

 

Apparel Sizing Tips:

Use these tips as a general guide when finding your measurements:

Chest/Bust: With your arms at your sides, measure around the fullest part of your chest, across shoulder blades and under arms.

Waist: To measure your natural waistline, wrap the tape so it intersects your navel. Keep tape flat, but comfortably loose.

Hips: Stand with your heels together and measure the fullest part of your hips. Make sure the measuring tape is level all the way around your body.

Inseam: Stand up straight, and start the tape measure high in your crotch. Straighten the tape down the inside of your leg to the bottom of your ankle.

 

 

Red Jacket apparel

 

 

Junk Food apparel

 

Next Level apparel (Shibe Originals)

General Size Neck
(in inches)
Chest
(in inches)
Waist
(in inches)
Arm
(in inches)
Small 14-14.5 34-36 28-30 31.5-32
Medium 15-15.5 38-40 32-34 32.5-33
Large 16-16.5 42-44 36-38 33.5-34
X-Large 17-17.5 46-48 40-42 34.5-35
XX-Large 18 – 18.5 50-52 44-46 35.5-36