“You Are Only As Good As Your Sources:”A Shout-Out to the American Soccer History Archives
Historians love archives. We love the physical archives with dusty books, old paper smells, and passionate archivists who know just the thing we need to look at. Mostly we love the information, and our work is lost without it. Technological advances have liberated some of that information from the back of the stacks and onto any computer screen with an internet connection.
This morning, as I was sorting through a variety of projects in various states of completion, I was reminded again of one of the best archives for US Soccer. By best, I might actually mean the only one I thoroughly trust and use nearly daily: The American Soccer History Archive.
I know nothing of David Litterer. He is an anonymous archivist who has, with the help of a team of volunteers, built a nearly comprehensive list of every professional or mostly professional soccer league the United States has ever known.
The ASHA has allowed me to start digging into the data that makes up soccer in the United States. While I envision traveling to various physical archives, these digital archives have provided a jumping off point, saved me time and money, and allowed me to begin working on my own passion project with this site.
So from one of the many people that use this site, thank you for doing it and keeping it online for all of us to use. If I knew where to send money I’d donate to the cause today!
If you haven’t ever checked out the archive it is a lot of fun. It is mostly raw data, so you have to be a bit of a nerd to really appreciate it, but if you have to win a debate about who won the American League of Association Football in 1894, this is the site. (It was the Brooklyn Bridegrooms, in case you were wondering) There are also some fantastic essays on league, team, regional, and yearly histories. There are also great sections on college soccer and links to other resources.
Photo used with Creative Commons permissions and credit to Melodi2