Monday, May 30, 2016

John Milne Donaldson and the Portland Soccer Football Champions of 1925

The history of soccer in Oregon and Portland in the distant past is sometimes deeply murky and so it is, that when a moment of that history is illuminated,  it provides a spotlight on a snapshot of how robust the game has been.   

Patrick Donaldson, a local Portland business leader, has occasionally shared found records from his grandfather's career as a champion footballer in the early years of the 20th Century.   

Most recently, he sent me this previously unknown photo of the PSFA Championship team from 1925.   The team, The Camerons, were sponsored by passionate soccer supporter "Pops" Bennett.    

Bennett, with Judge George Cameron, was a significant figure in Portland's early soccer landscape.  The Bennett Cup and the Cameron Cup were competitive trophies in Portland in the early century. Judge Cameron was at the time a controversial figure in probes of vice and illegal liquor sales.  As a former District Attorney, City Council member and later Municipal Judge, Cameron was a target of city reformers.  

Apart from these issues, however, Cameron was a purist in his support of soccer. He supported leagues and teams and individuals in the 1920s and his creation of the Cameron Cup sparked a "Holy Grail" quest eighty years later to discover what had become of this substantial symbol of early Portland soccer.   

In the photo of the 1925 Champions,  John Milne Donaldson is at the far left in the front row.  
Notably, the photo shows the Cameron Cup, the central one with the orb,  the Bennett Cup, the cup with the ear like handles,  and the individual player trophy,  small and echoing the orb.   The trophy on the far left is not clearly defined.  (for more on these trophies and the detective story recovering them , see the March 2011 posts on this blog). 

We who play the game, love the game, support the game here are the descendants of those who set the stage nearly a century ago.   When we sign or say RCTID,  I hope that our vision includes these long ago players and organizers and coaches and supporters of the beautiful game.