Philadelphia Soccer History

Philly Soccer 100: Amateur Peabody side beats Wissinoming pros in Challenge Cup replay

Featured image: Peabody FC, 1913-14

Our series on Philly soccer happenings one hundred years ago continues.

Amateur side tops pro team in National Challenge Cup replay

The Philadelphia Inquirer had called amateur Allied League side Peabody FC’s 1-1 draw with the professional Wissinoming club of the Pennsylvania League on Dec. 6, 1913 in the second round of the National Challenge Cup the “surprise of the season.” When the the two teams met for the replay at Washington Park at 26th and Allegheny on Dec. 13, few could have predicted the amateurs would thump the pros for a 3-0 win, although the Inquirer did report on Dec. 14, “In justice to the Wissinoming team it may be said that it was weakened by the injury to Right Full-back Coventry after the game had gone six minutes.”

The win meant that Peabody would join West Philadelphia and Bethlehem in playing in the next round of the Challenge Cup, known today as the US Open Cup.

Pros want to be paid to play exhibition game

The Football Association of Eastern Pennsylvania and District, the regional governing body for soccer in the Philadelphia area, had been formed shortly after the founding of the United States of America Football Association, known today as the US Soccer Federation. Such organizations naturally need money and so the association had cleared the calendar for two exhibition games on Dec. 20, 1913, the main attraction being a game between a picked team from the professional Pennsylvania League and a picked team of amateur players from the city’s Allied and American leagues.

On Dec. 11, the Inquirer reported Pennsylvania League leaders had decided that its players must be compensated for participating. “The representatives claimed that as long as the league is considered a professional organization, the players should be paid, notwithstanding the fact that the match is for the benefit of the Eastern District.” If the Eastern District was not prepared to compensate the professionals, they would refuse to play “with the result that a new team will have to be substituted or the game canceled.”

League play

With Wissinoming in Challenge Cup play, only one Pennsylvania League game took place on Dec. 13, 1913, a 2-2 draw between reigning league champions Hibernian and Victor. It was the last game at Hibernia Park, located at Second and Allegheny, after the owner of the land had sold it for development. The Inquirer reported on Dec. 14 that, given that the grounds were the home field of both teams, the draw could be considered a fair result.

In the Allied League first division, league leaders Bethlehem, playing at home after their Challenge Cup extra time victory over Braddock FC the week before, demolished Kensington, 8-0. The Inquirer reported that Kensington played the game with only ten men, “one of the players having missed the train.” Bethlehem played the game without three star players who were still recovering from injuries picked up in the Challenge Cup game.

Philadelphia Electrics 1913-14

Philadelphia Electrics 1913-14

West Philadelphia, currently in second place in the league, easily defeated Smith AA 5-2 at 44th and Parkside.

Two third division games were played, Puritan YML defeating Centenary 3-1 to draw level on points with the second place team in the standings.  A hat trick from left halfback Edwards powered fifth place St. Nathaniel to a 5-2 win over last place Edgemoor 5-2.

In the American League, the big match of the day was the battle between league leaders Philadelphia Electric and second place Kensington Boys’ Club at Front and Erie. The Electrics blanked Kensington for the 3-0 win, a result that the Inquirer reported on Dec. 14 “came as a surprise for the partisans of the Boys’ Club, as the latter were expected to beat the Live Wires and assume the lead for the American League pennant.”

In the Cricket Club League, despite fielding what the Inquirer referred to on Dec. 14, 1913  as “a decidedly weak team,” first place Merchantville crushed fourth place Germantown, 7-1. Last place Moorestown defeated second place Merion 4-2 for their first win of the season. The Inquirer reported on Dec. 14, “The result was somewhat of a surprise, but it cannot be denied that the spoils went to the better side.”


  1. I used to coach a team at 29th and Allegheny. The inclusion of the intersections really enriches these pieces, would love to see some then and now photos of the locations.

    • Ed Farnsworth says:

      Happy you appreciate it, that’s exactly why I include them. For some time now I’ve been working on an interactive map of historical Philly soccer grounds. Hopefully I’ll have a workable version here on PSP soon.

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