Kendall Wanderers born of MIT anarchist organization in 1970s
Kendall Wanderers (formerly the Black Rose), one of the oldest amateur soccer teams in Massachusetts is steeped in History and intrigue. Although there are conflicting accounts of its true birth rite, it is clear that its roots lie in a secret socialist faction down at MIT in the early 1970s. As a reflection of their clandestine movement, this anarchist group took the name "Black Rose" (Roisin Dubh) a metaphoric term for Ireland oft used by poets of yore, forbidden by the British occupiers to explicitly recount the hardship of their oppression. Unsubstantiated rumors abound that some of the early cake sales were organized to raise a dollar in support of the republican struggle across the water. Soccer for the group began with casual family kick-arounds at Magazine Beach in Cambridge, continuing this way until some of the players desired a more serious game. In 1976 John Hess founded the Black Rose Soccer Team, co-ed initially and one of the first of this kind in its day.
In its first years, Black Rose played on Sundays in the Mass Soccer Association. Early successes in the league included a 1-0 win over a Brazilian side that had not lost in two years, the goal in this game coming from 45 yards out off the foot of John Hess, and of a type not seen again until 2001. John led the team for another few years until he left in 1980, and is still active in soccer as a referee for various school leagues. In 1981 the Black Rose baton passed to Werner Lohe, in '82 to Jeff Cohen , and in '83 to Eric Krathwohl. In 1984 the team joined the Bay State Industrial League, later to be called the Bay State Soccer League.
From 1984-90 the Black Rose was managed by Neill DePaoli and finished strongly in Division II in its first few years in the BSSL but then struggled through the late '80's. In 1990 Eric Bertz rebuilt the team and in the early 90's the Black Rose was promoted to Division I, and advanced to the final of the BSSL Cup in both 1991 and 1992, but losing to Harvard Alumni and Lexington respectively. Chris Craven took over as manager in '93 as the team moved back into Division II and again began a rebuilding cycle.
In a search for sponsorship, Chris and longtime player Ambrose Donovan approached Mike Tallon, then manager of the Black Rose Bar in Harvard Square, who not only sponsored the team, but began playing for the Black Rose as well. A few years later Mike opened the Kendall Cafe, which soon became the team's "home base." The team changed its name to "Kendall Wanderers" in honor of its favorite watering hole. Under the rotating management of Chris, Jim Shaw, Neil Cox, Mike, Tom MacDonnell, Steve Kenny, Frank Pluck, and Dennis Cunningham, the team again strengthened and advanced to the Bay State League Cup final in 1998, beating Harvard Alumni in the semifinals, but once again losing out in the final, this time to Busy Bee.
In 1999 the club recruited a number of new players and a second team was formed. The 2nd team, Wanderers, entered the BSSL in Division 4, and the following year was promoted to Division 3. The second team were promoted to Division 2 in the 2004 season finishing runners up to Union Brew House. The 2005 season saw the team narrowly miss out on promotion to Division 1.
In 2001 Kendall Wanderers finished 3rd in division 2 and achieved one of its longtime goals by winning the elusive Bay State League Cup, beating Harvard Alumni 3-2 with a golden goal by Declan (Pecker) White. The club also celebrated its 25th anniversary on Dec 17th 2001 at a Christmas party held at 608 in Somerville where club founders, long time players and newcomers gathered for a memorable occasion.
2002 brought another successful year when the first team built on its achievements from the previous year and clinched the club's first league title by winning Division 2 of the BSSL and, in the process, guaranteed themselves Division 1 football for 2003. 2002 also saw the formation of an over-30's team in the New England Over the Hill Soccer League(NEOTHSL), which plays its games on Sundays.
Due to significant increases in active players in recent years, the 2005 season saw the formation of a 3rd team. The team entered a BSSC Summer League and won it. It then combined with Cambridge Central to play in Div. 3 of the BSSL in the fall of 2005. The club's first official Golf Outing was held in August 2005. 2006 saw Kendall with a team in each division of the BSSL. Remarkably, all 3 teams finished 4th.
The Over 30s, having had mixed fortunes since their formation, won Div. 5S1 and returned to Div. 4. We held the first ever Race Night in June 2006 and it proved to be a successful fundraiser. Spring 2007 brought more silverware as the Over 30s, under the continued stewardship of Dennis Cunningham, won Div. 4 South, and won both play-off games to clinch the overall Div. 4 Championship.
Kendall teams met competitively for the first time as the A team won a tight cup game against the B team 2-1. We will see more of this in 2008 as Kendall C finished a tremendous year by gaining promotion to Div. 2, where they will compete with Kendall B.
The club's long wait finally ended in 2008 as the Kendall finally took the BSSL title in style. Having lead the league almost for the entire season the A team clinched the championship with a game to spare with big wins against their closest rivals. An historic year for silverware was capped off with the Over 30's winning the Division 3 playoffs after narrowly missing out on promotion. The B and C team clashed on the field in Division 2, and honours were shared over the two legs. Both teams finished comfortably mid table and will renew acquaintances again in 09.