J & P Coats
1913-14 RIL 1st Half Champions
1917-18 SNESL 1st Half Champions
1922-23 ASL 1st Half Champions
1933-34 ASL NE Division
1939-40 ASL NE Division Champions
1940-41 National Open Cup Champions
When soccer first came to the United States it was referred to as "football", "association football" and "soccer football". In the 1880s amateur teams formed in Rhode Island challenging teams in the state and nearby Massachusetts. The Rhode Island League was played as early as 1893. High school teams competed against each other as early as 1885 informally. The US Open Cup, our national championship in soccer, began in of all places in Pawtucket at Coat's Field on Lonsdale Avenue in 1913. Four times teams from Pawtucket reached the finals including a win in 1941. J. & P. Coats was an American soccer club founded in 1900 as the team of the Pawtucket, Rhode Island branch of the J. & P. Coats thread-making company of Paisley, Scotland (following a 1952 merger this firm became part of the Coats Group). The club won the Rhode Island League in 1914 and was a member of the semi-pro Southern New England Soccer League before joining the professional American Soccer League. After financial troubles they became the Pawtucket Rangers. The Providence Clamdiggers were a member of the American Soccer League. They were renamed the Providence Gold Bugs and won the American Soccer Association Cup in 1929. Portsmouth's own Billy Gonsalves was called the "Babe Ruth of American Soccer". He played over 25 years in American pro leagues and US FIFA World Cup in 1930 and 1934. He was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Soccer in Rhode Island had an auspicious period after the Golden Era (1921-33). The game continued primarily on the semi-pro and amateur level with many of the most successful teams being tied to ethnic communities and service clubs. The city of Providence started a City Middle School Soccer league and City High School Soccer League in the 1920s. Prep school and colleges consistently fielded teams. The Interscholastic League and high schools offered soccer inconsistently and independently from 1928 through 1941 until it's renaissance in the mid 1960's. Brown University soccer first attained varsity status under coach Samuel Fletcher in 1926. Brown did not post a winning season until 1933, when a string of six highly successful seasons began. Perhaps the best of the early Brown teams were Fletcher's squads of 1936 (7-0-3) and 1937 (8-1-2), both these teams were New England Intercollegiate Soccer Association champions.