The claim to the right of the soccer title of America credited to the Bethlehem Steel Workers is being disputed by the St. Louis soccer league and will probably continued to be so unless a return series of games is arranged in which the honor is decided. It is understood that Manager Sheridan is at present endeavoring to arrange such a series, the contests to be staged in the east and most likely on the Bethlehem Steel field in Bethlehem. If successful the games will be staged some time during the months of March or April. In the three games' series played during the holidays between Bethlehem and St. Louis, the teams emerged with a fifty-fifty break, Bethlehem winning the first, tieing the second and lost the third and final game on New Years day to the pick of St. Louis.
While the right to the title, believed undisputed, was awarded to the Bethlehem team, owing to the wide range of territory covered, it is impossible to bring all teams together. Despite the showing of the Steel Workers, St. Louis has laid claim to the title ever since the game has been sufficiently popular in this country to have a championship. No St. Louis team ever entered the National championship conducted by the United States Football Association, the clubs out there declining on the ground that, because of the geographical location of St. Louis, entrance in the National competition would break up the decidedly profitable all winter schedule of the St. Louis Soccer League.
The claim of the middle west in no way discredits the right of the Bethlehem team in claiming the honors. It rightfully earned the title through actual conflict in the east, having in three years of the five in which the National cup has been contested, been awarded the trophy and gained official recognition as the first team in the country accomplishing this feat. While the majority of teams, numbering each year from forty to ninety in the national competition have been from the east, of recent years the middle west has been fairly represented. Among these Joliet, Ill., has entered teams in addition to a half dozen more that have come in each year from Detroit, Cleveland and Akron. Just about this time last year, Joliet, Ill., heralded as the strongest of the western clubs, came east and were handed a severe trouncing by Bethlehem on the latter field. In this game there was no doubt as to the supremacy of the local team.
St. Louis has continually refused to get into the formal competition and have been carrying on a more or less outlaw circuit. However, the team has been a torn in the side of Bethlehem for a number of years and to arrange a return series this season would settle for once and all the question of supremacy in soccerdom. Two years ago Bethlehem sought to determine definitely, the team journeyed to St. Louis where, after playing the Ben Millers, then leading the St. Louis league, to a tie, lost, 3 goals to 1, to a team representing the league as a whole. Should the all-stars come east and return home victorious it is again a question whether or not they could claim the right to the honor of champions. In St. Louis the Innisfadle, leaders this year in the St. Louis league, was the first team to try conclusions with Bethlehem and were decisively defeated. The all-stars representing the pick of all the teams was partly successful against the champions, but in order to win the honor of being the first team this year to defeat Bethlehem, had to augment the best players from all the teams to accomplish it.
Philadelphia soccer enthusiasts are dickering for a game with Bethlehem on a Quaker City grounds. They contend that if such a match was arranged the Philadelphia fans would turn out greater than for any other contest staged there and the meeting would mark a new epoch in soccerdom in that city. It is probable that since Bethlehem was defeated in St. Louis the Quakers believe the ice broken and that the same feat can again be accomplished. The Merchant A team is mentioned as the strongest contender this by virtue of their showing against Bethlehem when a penalty kick decided the match after extra periods.
Soccer critics fail to fathom why Bethlehem did not hold Todd, the Merchant A right back. He is credited with being on par with Ferguson and would have made a brilliant partner for the start left fullback.