Written by Cameron Steer
For the second instalment in the Scots Seeing Sporting Success Stateside series, I wanted to credit the founders of Scottish ‘Soccer’ in the United States of America, The Kearny Scots-American Club based in Kearny, New Jersey. I briefly touched on their involvement in bringing the game across to these shores back when I was writing the article on Kyle Ferguson, however I thought it would be nice to delve deeper into the history of these pioneers and their story.
It was the 1870s that brought soccer to these shores, the game was part and parcel with the influx of Scottish immigrants into New Jersey at the time. After that, soccer wove its way into the daily routine and lifestyle of many Scottish men, women, boys and girls who sought some element of familiarity as they began their journey in an unfamiliar new world. Around 1895 Kearney Scots was formed as a team and ever since then, they have represented Scotland in America, donning their famous dark blue kit.
Between the years of 1937 and 1941 Kearny Scots enjoyed their most successful period as a club where they won the old American Soccer League 5 times in a row. This dominant run came only about six years following the official opening of the Scots-American Club in 1931 which still stands and serves as the members club bar today.
Further adding to the calibre of the clubs quality in early American Soccer is the quality of players the club actually produced, some who even went on to represent the USA internationally and play for clubs all around the world. Most famously Peter Millar who went on to have a fantastic career in Argentina, playing for Buenos Aires outfit Boca Juniors. Kearny Scots also went on to produce some significant players in and around the USA’s 1994 World Cup squad, most famously from that group being John Harkes who went on to become the first American player to play in the premier league with Sheffield Wednesday.
Kearny Scots are still competing today in the USL and continue to provide a high level pathway through the semi-pro ranks, giving opportunities to young Scottish-American players who hope to take their game to the next level here in the states. We wish them the very best in their upcoming season, and in their mission of growing the game here in America in the name of Scottish sporting heritage.