More old parks

parks scan0001 About a year ago, I wrote about some American soccer stadiums of decades ago. Here are some more of those. The first group was concentrated in the northeast. With some of these, I've moved farther west, and included some that are larger than those in that first group. Thanks to Pablo Chicago and Dave Lange for help in choosing these.

---The Polo Grounds (above) in New York, which was torn down in 1964, was the leading soccer stadium in the country at one time. The upper Manhattan stadium hosted the touring Hakoah team in 1926 and '27, Scottish tour games in 1935 and '39, U.S. Open Cup finals in 1943 and '44, and International Soccer League games in 1960 and '61. It had soccer crowds of 20,000 or more in five different decades. Although it was primarily a baseball and football stadium, which held 55,000, it had a field that was quite well shaped for soccer, because it was not as narrow as most football stadiums.

---Downing Stadium in New York, more often referred to by its location, Randall's Island, was built as a WPA project in the 1930s and held 22,000. It was replaced by a much smaller stadium in 2004. New York semipro teams in the middle of the 20th century generally played their league games at smaller parks around the city, but Randall's Island was a go-to place for larger events such as visits from touring European or South American teams. In addition to being where Pele played his first season with the New York Cosmos in 1975, it's also where he made his American debut in 1966.

---Sparta Stadium, the home of the Sparta ABA club, was a regular standby for important games in Chicago. The biggest Chicago games sometimes were held in big-league baseball or football stadiums, but Sparta, located in the Lawndale area on the west side of Chicago, was another frequent choice for games between touring foreign teams and Chicago clubs or all-star selections. It had a capacity of about 9,000.

---The Philadelphia stadium that for decades was that city's most iconic soccer location went by a number of names, including Cahill Field, Edison Field and Northeast Field. Most freqently, however, it was referred to not by a stadium name but by the name of a nearby intersection, usually 29th and Cambria but sometimes 29th and Clearfield. The North Philadelphia field held about 5,500 spectators. A number of outstanding Philadelphia teams, from the Philadelphia FC of the original American Soccer League in the 1920s to the Ukrainian Nationals who won a string of titles in the 1960s, used it as their home ground.

---Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, like the Polo Grounds in New York, is more famous for other sports, but was a frequent location of major soccer games for decades. In 1875, the field, then called the Grand Avenue Baseball Ground, was the site of the first soccer game ever played in St. Louis. The St. Louis League played most of its games there from 1907 to 1939, and the St. Louis Major League did from 1948 to 1952. U.S. Open Cup finals were played there in 1929, 1932, 1933 and 1948, as were numerous international friendlies over the years. The stadium was the home of major-league baseball teams from 1876 to 1966. During the years that it served as St. Louis' main soccer venue, the capacity ranged between 8,000 and 34,000.

---Of the "other" stadiums in St. Louis, Public Schools Stadium ranks ahead of such rivals as Walsh Stadium and Robison Field. Soccer moved out of Sportsman's Park in the early 1950s because of increasing rental costs, and nearly all games involving foreign teams visiting St. Louis after 1946 were played at Public Schools Stadium, as was a World Cup qualifier between the United States and Canada in 1957.