President: Len Peto
In December 1925 talk of an International Soccer League was started by Len Peto. Peto was the main financial backer of the Montreal Carsteel team in the Inter-Provincial League.
Formed in April 1926 by disgruntled IPL clubs Ulster United and Montreal Carsteel. The league began play in May by enticing Hamilton Thistle and Windsor Rovers to leave the IPL. Other members were Toronto City and Montreal Maroons from the International League.
Montreal Carsteel and its Thornton Park ground
Montreal Carsteel was formed in November 1923 by empolyees of the Canadian Car and Foundry Company Limited and was sposnsored by Len Peto. In the 1924 and 1925 Seasons they played in the Canadian Football Association Inter-City League. Carsteel played their matches at Thornton Park, St. Henri, Montreal. The Windsor Star newspaper described the ground as that the atmosphere is “very similar to that of an Old Country ground at match time. Thornton Park is very similar to that of West Ham’s at Boleyn Castle. It is a band-box, decidedly small with very little space between the touch lines and the front line of the spectators. Along one complete side of the pitch and at one end substantial covered stands are erected, while the press and the shareholders are accommodated in a smaller covered structure on the other side. A fence separates the crowd from the playing pitch”.
Ulster United and Ulster Stadium
In January 1926 Ulster United was taken over by the Ulster Stadium Limited, being a pioneer of soccer football under a stock ownership proposition. The Ulster Stadium covered grand stand had a seating capacity for 6,200 persons. In addition, they bought 1,800 seats from Scarboro Beach Park and had standing capacity for 2,800 fans. This gave them an approximate total capacity of 10,800. On Saturday May 29 a picked Toronto XI was defeated by the touring English Football Association team in front of 8,000 spectators at the stadium.
Windsor Rovers and Kelsey Park
Windsor Rovers Football Club handed over its assets and liabilities to the Windsor Rovers Football Club, Limited in March 1926. The club had applied for incorporation as a joint stock company with a capital of $50,000, divided into 1,000 common shares of $50. Rovers played their home matches at Kelsey Park. Kelsey Park was an enclosed ground that had been built for the Rovers in 1924. It had a seating capacity of 6,000.
In March Hamilton Thistles strengthened its team by signing three players from the Chipmans. These three were David Eadie, a fullback; Totten, a half-back and Leslie, a forward. Hamilton Thistles was for a while known as Hamilton Pro’s as this was a professional league. After the season Eadie joined the star-studded Bethlehem Steel team in the American Soccer League. He returned to Canada in 1927 to star for Ulster United for many seasons.
The reorganization of the Toronto Thistle led to Toronto City being formed, this was to have a club to alternate with Ulster United at the Ulster Stadium. The club was headed by Colonel Harry Cameron of the Toronto Transport Commission. The secretary was Harry R. Adamson, who was formerly the secretary of the All-Scots club and the defunct C.F.A., the manager of the team was Duncan Cameron. Cameron had been the manager of the Caledonian Football Club of Toronto for a number of years. The Caledonians and Toronto Thistles had recently merged.
The Montreal Scottish Football Club was formed to alternate with the Carsteel Club and was backed by a small group of influential business men of Montreal. With W. D. Moore acting as president. The popular Carsteel skipper Adam Smith was signed to lead the team.
Review of the season
The first game of the 1926 NSL season was played on June 19, 1926, when Ulster United defeated Windsor Rovers 5-3. The following weekend three games were played, with Ulster United beating Montreal Carsteel 4-1, Montreal Scottish trashing Hamilton Thistles 10-2 and Windsor Rovers shutout Toronto City 7-0.
Colin Jose wrote in Soccer Illustrated in 1981: “Often weeks went by without a game being played and the league president Len Peto admitted in a story in the Hamilton Spectator on December 2, 1926 that no league table had been issued”.
Results and standings:
Final league standings GP W L T GF GA Pts 1. Ulster United 2. Montreal Maroons Montreal Carsteel, Montreal Scottish, Toronto City, Hamilton Thistles and Windsor Rovers were the other members.
1926 NSL Championship final (two-game series)
April 25, 1927 Toronto
Ulster Ulster United 5 (Grant, Galloway, Graham 2, Williams)
Montreal Maroons 1 (Gibbs)
May 1, 1927 Montreal
Montreal Maroons 0
Ulster United 1 (Graham)
National Soccer League Cup
First round, first leg
August 2, 1926 Ulster Stadium, Toronto
Ulster United 7
Hamilton Thistles 1
First round, second leg
August 8, 1926 Hamilton
Hamilton Thistles 4
Ulster United 7
First round, first leg
August 7, 1926 Toronto
Toronto City 5, Windsor Rovers 2
First round/Semi-final, first leg
August 14, 1926 Toronto
Ulster United 4, Toronto City 1
August 29, 1926 Thornton Park, Montreal
Montreal Carsteel 0
Ulster United 2