The First Canadian Soccer Book

If nothing else, there is one thing that underlines soccer's long history in Canada, a book, published in Toronto way back in 1879. That book is simply titled "Association Football." Its sub-title is: "The Game and How to Play it, Rules and Constitution of the Dominion Football Association." The book was written by a man named David K. Brown, and published by J.R. Robertson. It can be found on a piece of micro-fiche in the National Library in Ottawa. The book is 18 pages long, and is a combined history book, and coaching manual, along with the Constitution of the Dominion Football Association, the first attempt at forming a national governing body for football by a country outside of Britain.

The Dominion Football Association was formed in Toronto on February 22nd, 1877. The Toronto Globe of February 23, 1877 reports as follows. "On Wednesday night a convention called by circular, of all the clubs in Canada playing association rules, was held in Toronto. Mr. Ross of the Lacrosse Club, Football Club was called to the chair, and Mr. Lowrie, elected Secretary pro tem. On the suggestion of the Chairman, Mr. Riddell, captain of the Carlton eleven, informed the meeting of the circumstances attendant upon the admission of the Carlton Club into the Scottish Football Association, and made motion of the gratification expressed at a meeting of that Association and by the press, at the successful introduction of the game into Canada."

Mr. Riddell went on to say that The Scottish F.A. had sent a consignment of annuals containing the latest rules and directions for playing the game. On the motion of Mr. Liddell the chairman proceeded to read the rules, which met with unanimous approval and were adopted in full as the rules to be played in Canada by all clubs affiliated to the association, which the meeting then proceeded to form. The meeting decided that the Association should be known as the Dominion: all clubs playing association rules to be eligible for admission for a fee of $3, which is to be charged annually. It was then decided that the management should consist of a president, hon. secretary treasurer, and a committee consisting of three officers and a representative from each club, the election of officers to be annual.

The meeting then elected the officers for that first season. President R.M. Liddell (Carlton); Hon Secretary-Treasurer W. Lowrie (Charlton); Members of Committee; W. Ross (Lacrosse), Kennedy (School of Medicine), Hartle (University), Goldie (Carlton), all Toronto clubs, Sasaw (Kingston), and Solly Brubacher (Berlin).

As for the clubs in membership in 1879 the book lists the following. Carlton, Toronto Lacrosse, School of Medicine, University College, Knox College and Medical School, all from Toronto. Berlin High School, Berlin High School Juniors, Port Hope and Victoria University College (Cobourg). In season 1877-78 the competition doesn't appear to have been completed, while in 1878-79 Knox College beat Berlin High School in the final 1-0.
The Dominion Football Association remained in existence until the spring of 1881, when a meeting was called to reorganize. Nothing seemed to come of it and the organization passed into history. At the same time in 1880 the Western Football Association was formed in Berlin, Ontario and lasted until 1940.