The Globe -- Bethlehem
Thursday, January 31, 1924
A Swing Along Athletic Row

Advocate Number Soccer Players
That number soccer players would meet with the popular approval of the fans is believed since frequent suggestions have been heard to that end. In fact the plan is advocated so strongly that it has been brought to the attention of the Bethlehem management and it would be little surprise if such a notion was advanced at one of the meetings of the American Soccer league. Especially in Bethlehem would it be an added convenience for the patrons, particularly those who quite recently joined the ranks of the soccer enthusiasts and as yet are still confused in the fundamentals of the game. It is true that programs are distributed containing the name of the players and their positions. But it is safe to say that half the spectators at a soccer game are unable to follow the players in their respective positions throughout the game. Then again changes in the lineup are frequently made after the program has been printed so that quite often the fans are under the impression they are seeing a certain player in action when in reality the individual who they have spotted is a quite different player. Were positions stationary in soccer, it would seem useless to number players, but once the ball swings in action, players in certain positions are engaged in hostilities at almost any position on the field. Identifying players on corner kicks or in a scrimmage in front of the goal almost always confuses the spectators. The suggestion is well merited and not only in Bethlehem but throughout the entire circuit, it is believed that the adoption of such a rule would meet with the favorable accord of the fans. After all it is knowing the different individuals, if by name only, that proves an incentive in adding interest in the game.

New Plan to Decide Title
A plan by which the soccer season could be stretched out for two or three weeks and present as a climax a series of classics is advanced as a means of deciding a National champion. Promoters of soccer football in St. Louis are the originators of the scheme which from a financial standpoint would undoubtedly swell the financial coffers of the club fortunate to be in the swim for the finale. Instead of participation in the National Cup tourney, they propose to have the St. Louis Soccer League and the American Soccer League, the two foremost organizations, remain out of the National Cup competition, and at the end of the season the winners can play a series of three games for the championship. The three games are no doubt to mean the best, two out of three. Meanwhile the National Cup series can proceed and the winner play the professional champions for the title.

Not a Bad Plan
The scheme seems plausible enough and undoubtedly would mean much to the development of soccer in this country. That it originates in St. Louis, a hot bed for soccer, can readily be understood for it would assure the Middle West at least one game with the top notch Eastern club and that is what he fans and promoters in St. Louis are "hollering" for. As it is, Western fans see an Eastern team in action only every two years when the scene of conflict alternates in that district in the final of the National Cup competition. The same is true in the East. Under the arrangement suggested both the East and West would see the leaders of their respective leagues in action and at the same time would have the opportunity of seeing the National Cup play, or to be more explicit, the game that brought with it the National title every two years.

Flatter Offer to Lure Teams West
In each of the last several seasons the foremost Eastern teams have received flattering offers to display their merit against the St. Louis aggregation. And this season was no exception. Possibly the promoters of soccer in St. Louis feel that by the arrangement suggested to decide the title they would be assured at least one visit by an Eastern club. Along around Christmas Day the St. Louis promoters were angling to get one of the leading teams in the East to journey to St. Louis for a new Year's Day game and offered a guarantee of money high in the thousands. The Bethlehems were the favored clan and if the latter refused, the New York F. C. then a contender in the National Cup competition and also a strong contender in the American Soccer League race, was next in order. Bethlehem but casually considered the proposition while it is understood that the New Yorkers were greedy to grab it. It happed that on Christmas Day the Bethlehems and New York engaged in the fourth round National Cup play and when the game ended a draw and a replay was scheduled for the following Sunday, it really became impossible for either team to accept the St. Louis invitation. As a result the St. Louis fans won't see the Eastern clan in action until this section sends its representative to that city for the National Cup final. The purpose of the suggestion by the St. Louis promoters of deciding the title play can readily be gleaned.

Throwing in High for Saturday's Tilt
Out on the Bethlehem Steel athletic field this week the soccer players sporting the colors of the Blue and White have been thrown into high gear in going through their stuff preparing for the replay of the fourth round of the National Cup against Newark F. C. at Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon. Long and hard sessions have been in order and will no doubt be continued for the balance of the week. The surprisingly strong showing of the Newark club has worked wonders with the team and the attitude of confidence so glaringly apparent in their play last Saturday has completely disappeared . The feeling that several changes in the lineup for Saturday's game has proven a wonderful incentive in inspiring the players to get out and do their stuff in the same capable manner which advanced them to the final round in the semi-final.

Bethlehem Steel Soccer Club