U.S. Soccer's Unlikely Birthplace: Waukesha, Wisconsin

Nov 11, 2012


This afternoon in Waukesha, members of SC Waukesha will play an exhibition soccer game at Saratoga Park.  That wouldn't normally be enough to attract a lot of attention outside the friends and family members of the players themselves.  But this match will look a lot different than the dozens of other soccer games played around southeast Wisconsin on any given afternoon.

A montage of what 19th Century soccer looked like. The first-ever soccer game in the United States is believed to have taken place in Waukesha.
Credit archival photo

That's because the first half of the game will be played according to the sport's 1863 rules.  The match commemorates what is believed to be the first soccer game ever played in the United States, which happened on this date in 1866, on that very spot in Waukesha.

Eric Anderson is the publisher, owner, and operator of Wisconsin Soccer Central, and a co-founder of the Wisconsin Historical Soccer Society, which recently uncovered details of that historic occasion.  Anderson tells Lake Effect's Mitch Teich what we know about the game that was played on this date 146 years ago.