chapter  5
‘Joy the Corinthians are coming!’ The Corinthian Football Club on tour in Canada and the United States
ByChris Bolsmann, Dilwyn Porter
Pages 16

Soccer increased in popularity across the United States and Canada in the 1880s, particularly in the north-eastern industrial centres. In 1888, a Canadian soccer team toured Britain, while attempts to bring over English teams to North America were unsuccessful. George Parker, who played soccer in London in the 1890s, moved to South Africa and managed the Corinthians on their visits to the country in 1897 and 1903. He returned to London and began arrangements for a Corinthians tour to North America in 1905. The tour did not materialize, and the Pilgrims, an ‘all-star’ team of sorts visited North America instead. The following season, the Corinthians toured North America. The visitors were thrust into the on-going debates on safety of players and violence in American football during this period. The Corinthians were billed as ‘missionaries and educators’ during their 1906 tour. As on their first tour to South Africa, the visitors proved too strong for local opposition. The Corinthians returned to North America in 1911, however, matters off the field of play dominated the headlines. The American Football Association, recognized by the FA, refused to sanction matches against the visitors by any of its affiliates. This brought about the reorganization of American soccer with the formation of the United States Football Association in 1913. The Corinthians returned to North America for their final visit in 1924. As in the case of the third and final visit to South Africa, the Corinthians were no longer the force they had previously been in their visit to North America. The tour was characterized by disappointing results and crowds.