The Kearny Trail
(and Paterson)

The town of Kearny in New Jersey has two epithets, both deserved and both followed by the initials USA and, more than likely, a wild but silent ye-ha. They are Scots-Town and Soccer-Town, in that order chronologically, indeed with the latter derived unquestionably from the former with the genesis in a cotton-thread mill erected there from 1875. However, the mill was not any old one. It too had a sources, one, the Clarks, the industrial, indeed industrious, family that provided the funding and original expertise, and Paisley in Renfrewshire, the hometown both of that family and many of the workers, who were sent and attracted to the new, New World facility.  

And continuing the chain of causality it was from that Diasporan-Scots mill that two of the earliest football clubs in America, Kearny Rangers and Clark's ONT, members from inception of both of the first American Football Association, were from 1883 to emerge. Indeed ONT, founded and initially captained by another if unrelated Paisley Clark, William Clark, (Left), essentially the "Father of American Soccer", was in 1885 to take the first playing of the American Cup. It was also to win the next two, defeating Kearny Rangers in both finals.  

And Kearny's association with "the beautiful game" has continued ever since with Scots-Americans a team there to this day, indeed the Scots-American Social Club, formed in 1895 and on Patterson St., is still at the heart of its now more diversified cultural life. From the 1890s it was to become a place where emigrant Scots footballers of note would settle, James Adams, the causer of the penalty, would settle. In the 1910s it would begin to produce real players of its own - Glasgow-born Archie and Tommy Stark, Davey Brown, Kearny-born of Scots parents - who would go on to be stars of boom in the US game in the 1920s. And even in the years of the Depression of the 1930s its kept the light shining, whilst it faded to almost extinction elsewhere. It meant that in the post-World War era there was a base, from which to stutter several times but grow. It did not provide players to the American squad that would defeat England at the 1950 World Cup but would do so to the next time the USA was to qualify in 1990 and again in 1994. In fact it was to have produced much of the spine on-field with in goal Diasporan-Italian, Tony Meola, and in mid-field, John Harkes, Diasporan-Scot, and Tab Ramos, Diasporan-Uruguayan, the El Yoni of the team all raised in the town, coming through its youth systems. 

The Pioneers

William Clark

Robert Raeburn              David Ferguson

John & Willam Hood        James Lennox

John Gray                  Roderick McDonald

 

The Players

  Archie & Tommy Stark       Jack Marshall

  Jimmy Adams                     John Harkes

  Tony Meola                           Tab Ramos

  Davey Brown                        James Ford

  Tommy Duggan                   Alex Rae

  Shamus O'Brien                   Hugh O'Neill

 

Paterson

The Turners

James Ingram

John McGuire

 

 Clubs

                            Kearny Scots

The Kearny Scots-American Club

 

Other Sources

The Oldest American Team

"Soccertown USA" Film

Paterson  Whilst Kearny was in the early decades of soccer the centre of the game, at least in New Jersey, it did have competition in the silk- rather than cotton-spinning town of Paterson, with a single "t",  just thirteen miles to the north. Here too there were from the beginning teams and players of Scots origin. The first playing of the American Cup included Paterson Thistles. Later there were the Rangers and the True Blues and throughout the decade and a half of the first iteration of the the trophy the Turner family of Newmilns in Ayrshire and others were prominent on-field, officiating and as administrators. 

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