by Fred S. Nonnemacher
In hopes of dislodging the Bethlehem team from the first place in the National League race and for the American Cup honors, the Merchant A team, of Bristol, announces that they have signed three Canadian stars and with these men added expect that the team will be strengthened sufficiently to down the champions. The signing of three men is considered a ten strike in soccerdom. The men who are signed played with the pick of the Canadian players, defeated twice by Bethlehem in exhibition contests, and are Fidler and Hallowell, of the Toronto Scottish; and Teddy Young, of the Toronto Albions. Fidler plays inside left and is leading goal scorer in the Toronto league this season. He is also considered one of the fastest forwards in Canada, besides being a clever team worker. Young is a halfback of more than ordinary ability while Hallowell is heralded as the best goal keeper in Canada. Even at Hallowell's best it is hardly likely that he can replace Harry Pearce, considered the greatest goal keeper in the game today.
These new men will probably get their first chance against the champions, a National League match being scheduled between these two teams at Harriman on Sunday afternoon. Bethlehem has gone through the National League without a goal scored against them, a record that no other team in the country has achieved.
According to Manager Sheridan, the Bethlehem players are not in the least disturbed by the announcement of the new men who have cast their lot with the Merchants. Instead Billy replied that this announcement has only added ginger to the work of the champions who are going through with their practice this week with greater "pep" and determination than has been displayed by the organization all season. Just what players he will pit against the Shipbuilders he is not ready at this time to announce but has stated that so many are in good condition that it will be hard to select the eleven men to uphold the honors of the local club.
Recently when the Bethlehem team toured to St. Louis, where they won, lost and tied a game, soccer scribes in that city were inclined to size up the champions as "rough-necks" in addition to criticizing their conduct in the field and their poor sportsmanship in making alibis after the contest. This is the first time the local crowd was ever accused of such action and the charges were scouted by local soccer enthusiasts. Not since soccer has been adopted as a major winter sport at the steel plant, can it be recalled where any of the players participated in any rowdyism or engaged in a fist fight. In reply to these charges we cannot help commenting on the conduct of the players in the St. Louis soccer league, "rough-neck" tactics being chronicled in the columns of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch under the caption of "FISTS AND POLICE FIGURE IN SOCCER LEAGUE BATTLES." A friend of the local soccer team forwarded the clipping to this city. An extract of the article says: "Fist fights and wrangles with Referee Kavanaugh proved more interesting to the 1,500 fans who turned out for the double bill of the St. Louis soccer league. All the trouble came in the clash with the Innisfalls and the former St. Leos. The first squabble came about the middle of the first half when Referee Kavanaugh stooped to place the ball for a free kick after calling a foul, Eddie Mulligan deliberately booted the sphere out of his hands and was ordered off the field. Later two of the players jumped into each other, one being knocked down. The latter squared off and started a fist fight. However, before any damage was done the police interfered and both players were taken to the police station."
To be dubbed as "rough-necks" by players who commit the above flagrant violations of the rules seems entirely out of question and furnishes the local fans excellent data upon which to base their own opinion. At least rowdyism similar to the above has never been witnessed on the local athletic field.