Association Football in The Wild West
In the 1880s the territory of Wyoming was a rough and ready place, small rudimentary settlements based on mineral mining and cattle driving. The sparsely populated area was a refuge for outlaws such as The Hole-in-the-Wall Gang .
As recently as 1876 there had been war between 'settlers' and the indigenous people. The territory was not granted state status until 1890.
And yet against this frontier backdrop of riders and gunslingers Association football was being played.
I came across this fact in Andy Mitchell's First Elevens.
Robert Smith, the former Scottish international had settled in Wyoming, where he established a business with fellow Queen's Park member William Klingner. Smith was a general trader, and was later involved in the newspaper business and politics.
On July 4th 1883 Smith, who was then 35, arranged a match between Green River and Rock Springs, Smith captained Green River. Rock Springs won 4-0. This appears to have been a one off, and football didn't really catch on in Wyoming.
Smith was a founder member of Queen's Park and the first club captain.
He played in the 2nd,3rd and 4th 'Alcock Internationals' (the rarity of an actual Scotsman in the Scots XI). He represented Scotland in the 1st and 2nd official internationals whilst playing for South Norwood. Smith also played in the FA Cup for Queen's Park and was an FA committee member.
He went to the USA in 1873.