Black Soccer, High School Soccer, Kearny, New Jersey: In the fall of 1922, Leonard H. Raney played on the first-ever varsity soccer team for Kearny High School. That New Jersey town, which would later be dubbed Soccer Town, USA, had long been a soccer hotbed. It was rare for African Americans to play soccer in the 1920s, and while African-American participation in the game still lags today, Raney was a soccer pioneer.
O’Neill pointed out that the Kearny Recreation soccer league was formed long before the current staple of youth soccer, the Thistle program, was ever thought of. “The Kearny Rec league started in 1961,” O’Neill said. “Thistle started in 1977. This was the breeding ground, where it all began.”.
Soccer in Kearny got a huge boost after the Clark Thread Company expanded operations there and brought over hundreds of workers from its plant in Paisley, Scotland. In Paterson, the silk business was booming in the 1870s.
The town's nickname, "Soccer Town, U.S.A." is derived from a soccer tradition that originated in the mid-1870s, when thousands of Scottish and Irish immigrants settled in the town, after two Scottish companies, Clark Thread Company and Nairn Linoleum, opened two local mills and a factory.
Boys soccer: Rojas’ 4 goals lift Kearny over Fair Lawn - North East G Group 4 - First round. Megan Mulligan | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com | Nov 14, 2020. Subscriber Exclusive.
Soccer was shipped to Kearny--arriving literally aboard the ships that carried the Scottish, Irish and English workers bound for Kearny’s thriving Coats & Clark thread mill at the turn of the ...
After leaving the NAFBL in 1919, the Scots continued to play in city leagues. They returned to high level competition when they were an inaugural member of the second American Soccer League in 1933. Originally known as the Scots-Americans, the club was officially renamed the Kearny Americans beginning with the 1941/42 season. The club continued to be better known as the Kearny Scots and returned to their original name before the 1950/51 season.
Soccer was first played in Kearny in the late 1800's, when Scottish immigrants arrived to work in the town's textile mills, bringing along their national pastime.
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