Soccer made its first appearance at Brown in 1912 when the Athletic Board voted to purchase a soccer ball and to erect goal posts on Lincoln Field. The first attempt at a soccer scrimmage was held on April 25, too late in the season to organize a team. The main interest in soccer at that time was in providing recreation and suitable exercise for the football team. Soccer became an organized sport in 1925 with an informal team coached by basketball coach Harold Evans, which on November 14, lost its only game, 0-1, to the Pawtucket Y.M.C.A. Brown’s first official soccer coach, Samuel Fletcher, lasted for 21 seasons, before he resigned in 1946 to move to Florida. In that time he had two championship teams and one undefeated season, but mostly he had to build up teams from inexperienced players. He was interested in promoting soccer, which lacked the glamor of football with its large number of spectators and public recognition. He used to see that soccer equipment was available to grade-schoolers in hope of raising future soccer players, but admitted, “Give a group of American boys a soccer ball, and the minute you turn your back on them they will line up in a T formation and start running plays through tackle or around end.” Brown’s first winning season came in 1933. Fletcher’s top season records were 6-1-1 in 1934, 6-0-2 in 1936 when William Margeson ’37 led the team to a New England Soccer League title (and personally scored three goals in Brown’s first victory over Yale), 8-1-2 in 1937 (the only loss was to West Point), and 6-1 in 1945. His 1945 team, with Costa Rican star Joseph Novas, lost only to Yale. His last season’s team won three, lost four, and tied two. The ties were with Harvard and Yale. The season ended with a 1-0 overtime defeat of M.I.T., but by that time the team was under the coaching of Joe Kennaway, who succeeded Fletcher on November 1, 1946. In 1956, Brown, with only a 3-3 record in the Ivy League, was undefeated by non-Ivy opponents and finished with also undefeated Trinity College at the top of the New England Soccer League. Kennaway coached until 1959, with a fourteen-year record of 44-71-10
Cliff Stevenson was the first full-time soccer coach. He arrived in 1960, in time to play on the new field on Aldrich-Dexter Field which he described as “the only field in the United States where if it rained real hard, you could put a ball on the field and watch it float across to the other side.” The grading of the field improved, and so did Stevenson’s teams, from 1-9 the first year to a 1963 record of 11-2-1 and a tie with Harvard for the Ivy League championship, the first of six straight Ivy League titles for Brown. The 1963 team also went to the NCAA tournament where it was defeated by Army, 1-3, in the quarterfinals. The 1964 Ivy championship was shared with Dartmouth. The 1965 team had a 12-1-1 record, was undefeated in the League, and lost, 2-6, to Navy in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament. In 1966 the record was 11-1, and Brown beat Army for the first time. The Ivy League record was 7-0, with four shutouts. Brown scored a record 49 goals, and only eight were scored against Brown in the twelve-game season. In spite of this record, the team was not allowed to compete in the NCAA tournament because the Ivy League’s opposition to the NCAA’s 1.6 ruling made Brown ineligible for post-season tournament play. In 1966 Victor DeJong ’68 was the first Brown Player to make the National Soccer Coaches of America first All-American team. The 1967 record was 13-0-1 (the one tie was with the University of Pennsylvania), but Brown was still barred from the NCAA tournament. The next year Brown, undefeated in 26 games since a loss to Dartmouth in October 1964, lost to Penn in the second game of the 1968 season. The 1968 team did get to play in the tournament and after beating Fairleigh-Dickinson in the NCAA opener at Brown, defeated Army, 3-1, then lost to Michigan State, 0-2, in the semifinals at Georgia Tech’s field. Ben Brewster’s twelve goals and seven assists for the season brought his career goals to 33 (tying Alan Young’s 1961-1963 record) and his career point total of 50 to a Brown record. Charles “Chip” Young ’72 made the All-Ivy team three times from 1969 to 1971.
Brown finished third in the Ivy League in 1972, but it was a good year, as Brown won its first New England championship since 1968, and the team scored the most goals in a season, 57, and the most points, 93. In the NCAA playoffs Brown defeated UConn, and was eliminated by Harvard. In 1973, after winning the Ivy title, the team advanced to the semi-finals of the NCAA tournament by defeating UConn, 1-0, Yale, 2-1, and Hartwick, 1-0, all in sudden-death games, only to lose to St. Louis, 1-3, in the semifinals. The 1974 team won another Ivy title and was defeated by the University of Connecticut in the NCAA regional playoffs. Fred Pereira’s 24 goals and seven assists for 31 points was a new Brown record. In 1975 Brown shared the Ivy title with Cornell and won the New England title, defeating the University of Connecticut in a game with four sudden-death overtime periods, followed by three penalty shots by Tom Walsh ’76, Steve Milone ’ 80, and Fred Pereira ’77. Brown went on to win the Eastern title, defeated Cornell, 3-2 in the NCAA quarterfinals, and then lost to San Francisco, 1-2, in the semifinals. The record for 1976 was 11-3-1 overall and 7-0 for Brown’s fourth consecutive Ivy League title, and it was UConn’s turn to defeat Brown, 1-0, in the NCAA regionals. In 1977 Brown played and miraculously defeated top-ranked Clemson, 2-1, in the NCAA quarterfinals, then lost to Hartwick, 1-4, in the semifinals. The 1987 team finished with an 8-7 record, the best since 1983, when the record was 10-4-1 overall with a second place (5-2) finish in the Ivy League. During Stevenson’s thirty-one years of coaching at Brown his record was 251-160-30, and his teams had 24 winning seasons, captured ten Ivy League and seven New England titles, and advanced to the NCAA playoffs thirteen times (eleven of them from 1968 to 1978), and to the semifinals four times, in 1968, 1973, 1975, and 1977. His teams also won ten Ivy League championships and seven New England championships. Brown placed second in the Ivy League in 1981 and 1983, fourth in the EAIAW in 1981. The record of coach Trevor Adair’s first season in 1991 was 7-6-2 overall and 3-3-1 in the league.
Soccer coaches at Brown have been Sam Fletcher from 1925 to 1946, Joe Kennaway from 1946 to 1959, Cliff Stevenson from 1960 to 1990, and Trevor Adair since 1991. Brown’s All-American soccer players have been Phil Solomita ’65, Allan Walsh ’65, John Krupski ’66, Pat Migliori ’68, Vic DeJong ’68, Ben Brewster ’69, Herman Ssebazza ’70, Chip Young ’72, Jim Ohaus ’72, Ferdinand Treusacher ’74, Fred Pereira ’77, Steve Ralbovsky ’76, and Tom Walsh ’76.
After several unofficial seasons the women’s soccer team coached by Dom Starsia ’73 won two of five games in its first varsity season in 1975. The 1976 team finished 7-1, losing only to Yale, and the 1977 team, the first coached by Phil Pincince, improved on that, with a 13-1 season in which they outscored their opponents 50-14, and lost only to Lake Champlain College in the final round of the Castleton State Tournament. Women’s soccer became an Ivy League sport in 1978. Brown hosted the first women’s Ivy championship and came in second. Pincince’s teams won the Ivy League championship in 1980, and every year from 1982 through 1990, tying with Princeton in 1982 and with Cornell in 1987. In 1990 the Brown team was ranked 13th in the country. The winning streak ended in 1991, when the team finished below the .500 mark for the first time in the history of women’s soccer at Brown. At the end of that season, Pincince’s fifteen-year record was 149-67-15 overall and 49-4-4 in the Ivy League, and his team had participated in five NCAA tournaments. Brown has had three four-time All-Ivy choices, Colleen O’Day ’86 from 1982 to 1985, Theresa Hirschauer ’89 from 1985 to 1988, and Suzanne Bailey ’91 from 1987 to 1990. Two others were named three times, Frances Fusco ’83 from 1979 to 1981, and Michelle Mosher ’83 from 1980 to 1982.