American League of Professional Football was the first professional soccer league in the United States, existing for one season in 1894. It was also one of the earliest professional leagues in the world. It was created by the owners of the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, partly to fill their dormant stadiums in the winter months and partly for publicity reasons to keep their baseball seasons visible to the public during the off-season.
The 1894 schedule included six teams sponsored by National League teams that played a total of 23 games. Although the club owners encouraged attendance by setting ticket prices low, typically 25 cents, the turn out was light averaging about 500 spectators—by comparison, average crowds in the National League that year ranged from as much as about 6000 (New York Giants) to as few as about 600.Baltimore Orioles F. C. regularly attracted crowds as large as 8,000 for some matches. However, other club owners accused Baltimore of illegally employing British players, and U.S. immigration officials soon began to investigate the allegations. At the same time, with rumors circulating that a new baseball league was being formed, the club owners became convinced that the soccer league was a distraction from the serious business of possible competition from a new, rival league. This was combined with a move by the American Football Association to ban players from the ALPF from playing in the AFA. This came as the AFA saw the ALPF encroaching on its territory. The combination of these new competitive pressures and the ongoing immigration investigation scuppered the planned 1895 season and the League itself.