ISL Soccer History

(revised 8/20/02)

In 1948 eight local private schools banded together to form one of the first high school soccer leagues in the area. A number of the schools had been competing informally and a structured league was desirable. Full round robin play was not achieved until 1952 but has been a constant feature since that year. The original eight schools included Belmont Hill, Brooks, Browne & Nichols, Governor Dummer, Milton, Nobles, St. Mark's, and Tabor.

In 1948 a championship cup was procured and was named in honor of Richard Gummere, a longtime teacher and coach at both Browne & Nichols and Haverford College; the Gummere Cup is undoubtedly one of the oldest secondary school soccer trophies in the country. In 1968 Middlesex joined the group and in 1971 Roxbury Latin competed before joining permanently in 1974. 1972 saw Tabor leave the league and Groton join. That brought the league to ten schools where it remained until 1984.

The original Private School League had expanded during this time and had grown into the 16 school Independent School League. In order to include the six ISL schools not in Gummere Cup play at the time (Lawrence, Rivers, St. George's, St. Paul's, St. Sebastian's, and Thayer) the Athletic Directors created a separate ISL soccer league in 1980. 

Because full round robin play was not possible at that time, North and South Divisions, each with eight schools, were established. A Championship Final was held on the Wednesday following the regular season. The Founder's Cup was awarded to the winning school.

Both the Gummere Cup and ISL competitions operated simultaneously from 1980 through 1983. Due to the ban on postseason league-sponsored play no finals were held in 1982 and 1983. In 1984, a full round robin schedule was adopted and all sixteen schools began competing for the Gummere Cup. The Founder's Cup is now awarded to the second placed team.


There are four trophies associated with ISL play:

1. The Gummere Cup is awarded to the league champion. Points are awarded in standard form, i.e. three for a win, one for a draw, none for a loss. All games pertinent to deciding the championship must be played.

In the case of a tie in points at the season's end, co-champions will be declared.

2. The Founder's Bowl is awarded to the second place team. In the case of a tie for the championship, both cups will be shared during the year.

3. The Blood Trophy, first awarded in 1985, was established in reaction to the group's growing concern over violence in league play and in memory of a longtime stalwart member of the group, Marc Blood of Groton. The trophy "is awarded to the team that, in the opinion of the other ISL teams, best exemplified the spirit of the game of soccer through its enthusiasm, effort, sportsmanship, dignity, and competitiveness... a team that both earned your respect and was an enjoyable opponent." Each team votes at the season's end and brings to the final meeting an ordered list of its three selections. A team is not allowed to nominate itself. Tabulation of the votes is completed at the end-of-season ISL Coaches meeting.

4. The Improvement Plate, first established in 1986, and renamed The Fritz Weidergott Improvement Trophy in 1997 in honor of longtime St. Mark’s soccer coach and leader in the ISL Fritz Weidergott, is awarded to that team which improves its standing in the league by the most number of points from one season to the next. In the case of a tie the team that finished lower in the previous year is declared the winner.

The league also selects All-ISL and Honorable-Mention honors at the conclusion of the season, as well as an Offensive Player of the Year, and a Defensive Player of the Year.