How it all started: 1886 - 1900
Soccer had been played in the United States mostly at the amateur, scholastic and collegiate levels since the 1800’s.
Some teams even played as “professionals” and split the money from the gate at certain games. There were numerous teams / clubs and leagues throughout the years but there was no national organizing body to govern the sport.
Whilst in other countries, football was blossoming for both mens and women’s football, the USA was still struggling with the sport and the differences between “rugby” aka “Intercollegiate Rules” or “Handling Code” and “soccer” aka “Association Rules” or “The Dribbling Code”.
Football in the country was primarily made up of teams based upon workplaces, club memberships (such as cricket and various “Orders”), Ships, military, ethnicity, and of course collegiate affiliations. The games were adhoc and came about primarily from teams / clubs advertising in the papers for other teams to play against. Netherless, matches played during this time attracted crowds between 1,000-7,000 people for local games!
In the 1880’s many new developments came about in the Footballing world. International matches were played against Canada, the first matches were played under electric lights, and the first Associations and Leagues were formed.