Knew Nothing About Soccer
Ideas on soccer have changed materially in Baltimore since the visit of the Bethlehem Steel team last Sunday for an exhibition game. And Baltimoreans are modest enough to admit that they "knew nothing about soccer," simply played at it, after seeing the display of the national champions. "Not even a good scrimmage," chirped one of the players on the return of the team. This assertion seemed a bit exaggerated in view of the 4 to 1 score, but can be taken as substantiated by a brief extract clipped from an account in a Baltimore newspaper:
"Bethlehem Steel showed why it is national soccer champion by vanquishing the Canton Soccer Club, Maryland State champion, by the score of 4 to 1. The score might easily have been a dozen goals for the Steelmen. They played at top speed for twenty minutes of the first half.
"Having gauged accurately the caliber of opposition they eased up their game and played safe, fighting hard only when their goal was threatened or a worth-while scoring opportunity presented itself.
"At the start of the game their forwards and halfbacks made some of the city's most experienced players look as if they kicked the ball for the first time. The tricky Bethlehem players feinted, maneuvered for position and ran around the Canton boys as if the latter were not even there. Tallying twice within a single minute was one of the exploits of the invading Steelmen. Then they stopped trying, etc."
So after all the player was right when he remarked that the game "wasn't even a scrimmage" for the local club. Accounts of the game give the attendance at five thousand, just about four thousand more than really witnessed the contest, and which is verified by the cash portion the champions collected. However, it is not cash that worries Bethlehem in their exhibition games. If the team can do some missionary work along the lines of developing the booting game, the management is open to any half reasonable suggestion. That is why there is a likelihood that the champions will be visitors to the Pacific Coast for a series of exhibition games at the close of the current season.
A Word of Warning
Johnny Jaap, the diminutive right wing of the championship outfit, contributed to a bit of fisticuffs at the Philadelphia game last Saturday. Of course, no one could blame Johnny for the part he played and, in fact, if he hadn't retaliated he would have been dubbed as being "all wet." Johnny stopped before his red blood boiled and it was more or less in self defense that he responded before Mose Bloom, the arbiter, settled the argument. Bethlehem players will have to "eat" plenty from now until the close of the season. The baiting type of booters will be turning all their guns on the Bethlehem dribblers. President "Bill" Cunningham is drastic in doling out punishment for just such affairs which occurred on Saturday, and a suspension coming at this time to any one of the players would undoubtedly prove disastrous to the cup ambitions of the national champions. As an illustration we refer to the Stevens case, the New Bedford star drawing an indefinite suspension. Then there is some chatter gong the rounds of the American Soccer League, in which it is whispered tat Prez Bill is alleged to be leaning in favor of several clubs. Of course, this talk is idle gossip insofar as the Bethlehems are concerned. However, the players should be warned to play it safe. It's pretty hard, of course, to swallow the guff of some baiting payers but after all a cup title is more important than a punch on the button. The writer has witnessed more than one occasion where players were tantalized in hopes of bringing a fistic response, which would not only mean banishment in that game but for an extended future period. Cups are too important to have them lost by indefinite suspension and a fine plastered on in the bargain.