Montreal was a major player on the Canadian soccer scene long before the Montreal Manic and the Montreal Impact came on the scene. Railway teams like Grand Trunk, Canadian Pacific and Canadian National had powerful teams as did Grenadier Guards, Vickers, Blue Bonnets, Emard St. Paul, Maisonneuve, Verdun Park, the Aldred Building, Royal Victoria Hospital, Carsteel and across the St. Lawrence River, the explosives factory in Beloeil.
Grand Trunk Railway won the national title in 1919, CPR were in the national final on the losing side in 1923 as were Explosives the following year, while CNR lost in 1928, won the title in 1929 and lost again in 1930. But in 1935, Verdun Park were victorious as were Aldred Building in 1936, while Carsteel lost in the 1939 final.
Montreal also supplied players for Canada’s national teams. Joe Kennaway, Eddie MacLaine, Andy Clark, Bill McKean, Dave McKenzie, Alex Smith, Harry Barnes, Malcolm Moon and Jimmie Baillie all represented Canada against the U.S. in 1925 and 1926. In addition, Hank Noseworthy and Bill Sanford were members of the Canadian team that toured Australia in 1924, while Noseworthy, again, and Moon toured New Zealand in 1927.
Many of Montreal’s best players, including Kennaway, MacLaine, Jimmy Montgomerie, George Jenkins, Jack Renfrew, Ned Tate, Alex Kemp, Bobby Drummond, Bill Westwater, Dave McEachran, Bob McAuley and Johnny Nicol made their mark in the professional American Soccer League in the U.S.
A regular part of the scene in those days was the Carls-Rite Cup. Games were played between the Montreal and Toronto All-Star teams, one game in each city in most years, starting in 1914 and continuing until 1931. Among the many outstanding players who played in these games, in addition to the above, were Artie Wouteresz, Jimmy McLeish, Eddie Stott, Alec Rae, Chic Craigie, Adam Smith and Bob Calder.
Montreal men also played a major role on the national scene in the administration of the affairs of the then Dominion of Canada Football Association. Fred Barter was the first president of the DCFA in 1912; Craig Campbell from 1915 to 1919 and Len Peto from 1935 to 1939. Tom Mitchell, Neil Hepburn, Jim Keith, Jock Somerville and Horace Lyons also played significant roles.
On the provincial scene the Province of Quebec Football Association was formed in 1911 with Fred Barter as president and Joshua Wilson as secretary. Frequent turbulence caused the DCFA to appoint a Commission to run the provincial association in 1929. That Commission was led over the years by Jim Keith, Tom Brown, Duncan Cameron, Bill Clapp, Ernest Goat and Bob Walker. Bob Walker became DCFA President for a few months in 1947.