A historic athletic achievement

This monument on Boston Common caught my eye when we were visiting a few weeks ago.

Erected in honour of the Oneida Football Club, it recognizes "one of the first organized teams to play any kind of football in the United States" (Wikipedia).

Followers of soccer and American football both claim the Oneida landmark as their own, but it's likely that the game mentioned on the plaque was a unique brand of competition, with a formalized set of rules that no longer exist. A regular roster of Boston high school students played matches in the 1860s against all-comers.

The plaque shows a soccer ball, but historians still argue whether the game was more akin to today's American football. The most interesting thing about the monument is the inscription, which I tried to capture in my photograph. It reads:

"On this field the Oneida Football Club of Boston, the first organized club in the United States, played against all comers from 1862 to 1865. The Oneida goal was never crossed.

This monument was placed on Boston Common, November 1925, by the seven surviving members of the Team."

Oneida, by the way, is the name of an American Indian Nation. The Oneida people are known as the "first allies of the United States" because they fought alongside George Washington in the War of Independence. They are honoured in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.


1. Read more about Boston Common, at the City of Boston's web site.
2. For more on the Oneida, see the Oneida Indian Nation site.
3. See also the fascinating story of Washington's ally, the great Chief Shenendoah

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