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maqroll
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The upcoming Villa tour to the USA has got me wondering what was the first European football club to play a match in the States....

I'm going to take a guess and say it was either Benfica or Celtic....eh, I'll say Benfica.

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It would have definitely been an English side. Whether that side still exists today is another question entirely, but there is evidence of association football being played in the USA in the 1880s, and it was probably played there before that. We were exporting football to South America in the 1860s, and the USA played Canada in a full international in 1885, which before either Benfica or Celtic were even founded.

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But what club? What has me thinking it might have been Benfica is because of the huge Portuguese community in Massachusetts in the early 1900's. Also, there was a flood of Scottish immigrants around that time, hence my Celtic guess...

:detect:

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I'd think it is undocumented. If the USA played Canada in an international 19 years before Benfica were even founded then it certainly wasnt the Portuguese who got there first though.

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Shamelessly stolen from Wikipedia:

Oneida Football Club has been named as the first soccer club in the United States but there is still discussion on what rules the club used, and it broke up within the space of a few years.[5] According to Encyclopædia Britannica, the club is often credited with inventing the "Boston Game", which both allowed players to kick a round ball along the ground, and to pick it up and run with it. The first U.S. match known to have been inspired by FA rules was a game between Princeton University and Rutgers University on November 6, 1869, which was won by Rutgers 6-4. The FA rules were followed in the Princeton-Rutgers contest: participants were only allowed to kick the ball and each side had 25 players. Other colleges emulated this development, but all of these were converted to rugby by the mid-1870s and would soon become famous as early bastions of American football.[6]

Doesn't really answer your question, but provides an idea of when soccer itself was first played in the USA.

Maybe you could try here? It's just the type of question that is frequently asked there.

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The oldest club playing "the kicking game" was "Mr. Dearing's Team" from Eastie in 1843 (cite).

The earliest cite I can find for a British club playing in the US was 1873, when Eton played Yale.

David Litterer"]

In 1873, inspired by the English Football Association's rules unification, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, and Rutgers met in New York to draw up a uniform set of rules based on the London 1863 rules. They established 20 players on a team, a field measuring 400 feet x 250 feet, 25 foot wide goal, 6 goals to win, and a point scored by passing the goal past the goal posts. Carrying the ball was prohibited. Shortly after the first game under these rules, a Yale victory over Princeton, an English team, the Eton Players visited New Haven and played Yale, to whom they lost 1-2, in the first Anglo-American international match. Yale was persuaded to adopt the English custom of 11 players to a side, and subsequently argued for its universal adoption, which was generally achieved by 1880.

(and it was Yale's insistence on 11 a side which led to gridiron sharing that feature with association football... the link does get certain things wrong about the Yale-Harvard concessionary rules (hybrid of football and rugby) game that led Yale (and then Princeton, et al) to adopt something more like rugby... tries/touchdowns weren't scored separately until a few years later (in any of the rugby variants))

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Interestingly enough, at about the same time as Football League clubs in England (including Aston Villa) formed baseball teams to have events to sell tickets for in the summer, the more easterly franchises in the National League decided that football would be a great way to make money in the winter, in the process introducing substitutions and home/away shirts to the sport.

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Interestingly enough, at about the same time as Football League clubs in England (including Aston Villa) formed baseball teams to have events to sell tickets for in the summer, the more easterly franchises in the National League decided that football would be a great way to make money in the winter, in the process introducing substitutions and home/away shirts to the sport.

That is why a lot of clubs have the suffix "United" as they were multiple sports clubs. Most were football and cricket, but I can see baseball and other sports being incorporated too.

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