YANKEE STADIUM RETURN Part I -- It all started in 1931
By Charles Cuttone
For the first time in nearly 36 years, the beautiful game will be played at Yankee Stadium.
Newly crowned UEFA Champions League winner Chelsea will take on perennial French power Paris Saint-Germain at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday (Real Madrid will play A.C. Milan in another encounter on Aug. 8).
The last game was played there -- by the New York Cosmos -- in 1976.
Soccer made its debut at the House That Ruth Built in 1931. Along the way, the stadium, which was renovated between 1973 and 1975, has played host to many other great events, including Notre Dame football (the “Win one for the Gipper” game was at the Stadium), boxing (Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali, among others, fought there) and soccer.
There has been plenty of soccer at the stadium, from early day tours of great foreign teams to the mastery of Pele.
Here is the first of Big Apple Soccer’s three-part look at soccer in Yankee Stadium.
June 28, 1931
The touring Glasgow Celtics defeated the American Soccer League’s New York Yankees. Charles Napier scored twice for the visitors, while Alexander and Robert Thompson each had a goal. Bert Patenaude had the lone goal for the Americans. The game was the fourth in New York on that trip for Celtic, who already had pocketed wins over the New York Giants (3-2) at the Polo Grounds and the Brooklyn Wanderers (5-0) at Ebbets Field, as well as a 1-1 tie with the Hakoak All-Stars at the Polo Grounds.
September 16, 1934
A team of Jewish All-Stars defeated an Irish All-star team 3-0.
September 27, 1936
Macabees of Palestine defeated a New York selection 6-0. The Palestinians got two goals each from Imri Mausner, Illiya Westerman and Nathan Panz, taking a quick 4-0 lead in less than ten minutes. A crowd of 30,000 turned out for the fundraiser to aid Polish Jews and the Macabee Telaviv Sports Organization.
Nov 8, 1936
An all-star team from the American Soccer League defeated Macabees of Palestine 4-1 in the last game of Macabees’ 11-game American tour. Frank Moniz of the Scottish American Club of Newark scored twice in the game, which was played in front of 20,000.
May 4, 1947
The Hapoel soccer club of Palestine began their American tour with a 2-0 win over a U.S. selection. Hapoel’s 19-year old goalkeeper Yaakov Chodorov made 27 saves. A crowd of 43,177 was on hand on a dreary wet day. Promoters had sold more than 61,000 tickets in advance of the match.
June 14, 1953
Liverpool’s 30-game winning streak, which spanned three different North American tours, came to an end at Yankee Stadium with a 1-1 draw against Grasshoppers of Switzerland. Billy Liddell gave Liverpool a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute, but the Swiss side equalized on a second half goal by Hans Grutter.
June 15, 1952
Tottenham Hotspur routed Manchester United 7-1 in front of 24,582 fans. Spurs forward Len Duquemin scored four goals to exact a measure of revenge after United had dethroned the London club as English champions. Alf Ramsey, who went on to coach England to its World Cup title in 1966, was the right back for Tottenham.
October 12, 1952
The first of a series of American Soccer League doubleheaders is held at the Stadium. The Philadelphia Americans defeated the New York Americans 4-3 and the Brookhattan Galicia defeated Brooklyn Hispano 7-3. A crowd of 5,737 was on hand.
November 9, 1952
Pete McNab of Hispano scored three goals in a 4-1 win over Kearny Scots in the last of the American Soccer League’s doubleheader series at the stadium. Brookhattan defeated Hakoa 1-0 in the nightcap.
June 8, 1953
In their first rematch since the United States’ historic 1-0 win at the 1950 World Cup, England gained a measure of revenge with a 6-3 win over the Americans. The match, played in honor of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, drew 7, 271 after it was moved from Sunday afternoon to Monday night because of wet field conditions. According to the FA, this was the first time England played a game under lights. Tom Finney scored twice, and set up three other goals for the English. Otto Decker scored twice for the Americans, whose lineup included two of the players who had played in that World Cup shocker (Walter Bahr, Harry Keough).
April 29, 1956
The Israel Olympic Team defeated the American Soccer League All-Stars 2-1 as part of a Salute to Israel program. A crowd of 42,455, one of the largest to ever see a soccer game in the United States up to that time, was on hand.