Pawtucket rich with soccer history
PAWTUCKET, R.I. —
Newspaper clippings from the turn of the century, tell of the greatest local sports story you've probably never heard.
A lot of people think that this country doesn't have a lot of soccer history, but right here in our own backyard we have a tremendous amount of soccer history.
When you're talking to people about this tournament, sometimes they look at you like you're talking about bigfoot or something, because it just seems like such a legend.
The US Open Cup our national championship in soccer began in of all places Pawtucket. The event is thought to be one of the oldest on-going tournaments in the world.
Historians say it all began here on Lonsdale Avenue in 1913.
What's now a Price Right was once Coates Field.
10 thousand spectators watched two teams from Brooklyn battle for a national title.
And the tournaments have been played every year ever since.
Four times teams from Pawtucket reached the finals including a win in 1941. Jack Scott is one of the few who can say "I was there".
They were in back of the goal five and six deep and all the way around the field.
Local ties to the US Open Cup aren't limited to Pawtucket either, teams from Fall River have won the trophy six times, and even a team from New Bedford was once national champions.
These teams were all great teams that were at least partially responsible for putting soccer on the map in this area.
And if you think these games were friendly think again. When combined with 10s of thousands of spectators, bad behavior wasn't hard to find.
Some of those games would get so rough that after the game they'd go after the referee.
There were even times when the game had to be abandoned, because there was so many fans threatening the referee in the middle of the game.
These days the tournament is dominated by MLS teams who have won the cup every year but one since the league came into existence. But to this day the US Open Cup remains just that open to almost any amateur soccer team in America.
These guys are playing their guts out against these MLS teams and it's one of the least recognized, epic American sporting events of our time.
A long history that began 100 years ago in Southern New England.