He contributed to history more than 150 years ago. Andrew Watson is credited with becoming the first Black soccer player to compete at the international level, per the National Records of Scotland.
Watson was a Guyanese woman named Hannah Rose and the son of wealthy Scottish sugar plantation owner Peter Miller Watson. He was born in Georgetown, Guyana, in 1856.
Annetta was Watson’s sister, and when they were both very little, she and Watson traveled with their father to begin a new life in Britain, leaving their mother behind in Guyana.
Due to the unstable circumstance of two Black children traveling with their White father from an unmarried Black mother
Watson was portrayed as an orphan when he arrived in Britain, enrolling in the English public school system where he attended schools in Staffordshire, Yorkshire and Wimbledon.
While in school, he fell in love with team sports, specifically the fairly newer sport of Association Football, or as we call it in the states, soccer.
Watson’s father passed away in 1869 and he subsequently inherited about €35,000, the equivalent of more than €2 million pounds ($2,394,750 USD) today.
The money was split between Watson, his sister Annetta, and a small amount for their mother in Guyana.
The inheritance granted Watson financial independence and allowed him to spend most of his time playing soccer, an amateur sport at the time that didn’t gain professional recognition until about 1893.
When Watson was 19, he enrolled at the University of Glasgow where he studied Natural Philosophy, Mathematics, and Engineering.
When he was 21, he made the decision to abandon his studies in favor of launching a wholesale warehouse business called Watson, Miller & Baird.
In 1877, the same year, Watson married Jessie Nimmo Armour and the couple birthed two children, Rupert Andrew Watson and Agnes Maud.
While Watson’s work title varies on a number of official documents of the time, from apprentice mechanical engineer to Warehouseman, his relevancy during that time was not in question.
Watson continued to grow his dry goods business while simultaneously nurturing his burgeoning soccer career.
According to Google, he gained quite a reputation for his skills, signing to Glasgow’s Maxwell team before transferring to Queen’s Park FC, the biggest team in Britain, where he played as a full-back and served as match secretary.
Watson eventually led the team to a Scottish football title, earning an opportunity to play for the international team.
As the first Black player to participate in an English Cup game, play in a league in Britain, and represent her country internationally, Watson created soccer history.
When he served as captain, he led his nation to several victories over England, including one victory by a score of 6-1 that remains the greatest home defeat for England in the sport’s history.
Even with his professional successes, the tragic death of his wife Jessie in 1882 left a lasting impression.
After that, Watson brought his kids back to Glasgow and divided his time between there and London, where he played football.