Most histories of Portland’s PGE Park, like this official history at PGEPark.com, focus on the legacy of baseball, and generally don’t include soccer in the list of athletic activities hosted at the location in its early days. The early days start in 1893 when the Multnomah Amateur Athletic Club (now the MAC – Amateur was dropped) leased the present site and dubbed it Multnomah Field.
Andrew Guest uncovered some of the soccer history in his excellent article on the New Portland Stadium with Old Soccer History in April, including that in 1905, during the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition, Multnomah Field hosted a Pacific Coast Championship of soccer; what could be described as a precursor to the Cascadia Cup.
But was that the first time soccer was played at Multnomah Field?
After spending a day digging around in the Oregonian archives, I found reference to what may be the first soccer game ever played at Multnomah Field, which eventually became Multnomah Stadium, then Civic Stadium, and is now known as PGE Park.
From page 3 of the The Morning Oregonian, Saturday, October 21st, 1893:
The third game between the Astoria and Portland football association teams will be played on Multnomah field this afternoon, commencing at 3 o’clock. There is a marked difference between association and university or Rugby football. The latter is the more commonly played in the country, though in the former science is brought into play more than actual strength, the foot being used to carry the ball, instead of the hand. The only exception to this rule is the goal-keeper, who is permitted to handle the ball.
Read the entire article below. It’s definitely soccer that is described. (The following day’s Sunday Oregonian reveals that the Portland team beat Astoria 5 to 0, and that attendance was very good, and a great deal of interest was expressed, especially by the crowd of Astorians who came up to back their team.)