By John Whritenour
They turned the calendar back 20-30-40 years last night at H. F. W. Johnson Legion Post as the Old-Timers' Soccer Assn. held its first reunion with a capacity crowd filling every bit of space in the rathskeller.
For a few hours it was early 1900, or later, until the days when the sport faded into tyhe background of Bethlehem's athletic picture.
Archie Stark, one of the greatest of the greats where Steel Co. soccer was concerned, was scheduled to deliver the principal address. As old-timers report he did in his playing days, the former center-forward turned in the unexpected.
Now a resident of Kearney, N. J., he acknoweldged toastmaster Bill Elek's introduction, greeted the guests and congratulated the legion post on its efforts to help revive soccer in Bethlehem.
Then, scoring a goal with fellow players and fans who were anxiously waiting for a chacne to break off into huddles to swap stories, he sat down amidst a solid round of applause.
Actually, there hadn't been much left for him to say.
Bill Stark, Billy Sheridan and Chili Altemose had talked of various periods in Bethlehem booting history. Paul Troxell, superintendent of city recreation; Frank Broad, physical education director of the school system, and scotty Romig, Johnson Post athletic director, ahd spoken of soccer as it is today, its advantages and various ways of brining it back to local prominence.
There were some partularly interesting quotes, including:
Bill Stark, developer of champions at Bethlehem High School -- "It's good to be remembered . . . recalls the golden days . . . let's elevate soccer, it's the greatest sport in the world."
Sheridan, veteran Lehigh wrestling and soccer coach -- "wouldn't miss this for anything . . . big need is for better instruction in fundamentals at an early age . . . American boys don't want intramural sports, they want competitive sports . . . new appraoche to soccer needed . . . juvenile delinquency is realy adult delinquency."
Altemose, member of the 1936 Olympic team at Berlin -- "three groups are here tonight . . . young, middle-aged and old-timers . . . Lehigh Valley Leaguers, among middle-aged group, were as good as many present-day pros . . . we learned soccer watching the great Steel Co. teams, wearing our blue booster caps and trying to imitate the stars . . . Bill Carnihan here tonight, was my boyhood hero."
Night For Remembering
Bill Highfield, of Steel Co. days, added this to Altemose's remarks:
"He remembers the blue booster caps. So do I, for I passed them out."
It was a night for remembering and many of the middle-aged group, stars in their own rights, spoke along similar lines.
Before the meeting adjourned Romig talked of the Legion post's position solidly behind the present move to revive interest in soccer.
"Our facilities are available," he said. "We hope to help get a big team going and then branch out with various squads for youngsters. We're for it 100 percent as an aid in fighting juvenile delinquency."
Elek called upon many of the guests for bos, outstanding acs of years past and present.
At the conclusion of the session Carl Albarell was chosen secretary of a formal Old-Timers' Soccer Association. He will attempt further organization and another meeting with be called to elect officers.