Abstract

This article examines the migration of Irish-born footballers to the American Soccer League (ASL), which in the 1920s emerged briefly as an alternative professional career path for some players rather than Britain’s soccer leagues. Players were attracted by higher wages, and a number of ASL clubs used agents and managers to entice Irish players or simply sent telegrams and letters. Despite the political conflict in Ireland in the early 1920s, recruitment of Irish-born players remained low in comparison with that of Scottish footballers and did not begin to become more prominent until the latter half of the decade. It was assisted by Irish players with experience of the ASL and the efforts of a club intent on developing a distinct Irish identity, Philadelphia Celtic. Irish soccer authorities’ and clubs’ attitudes to these migrants varied, and the majority of players returned to Ireland.

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