Steel Workers Still Have the Edge
By defeating Vesper-Buicks of St. Louis yesterday, in the final of the National Challenge Cup competition, Fall River gradually moved a peg closer to the record established by the Bethlehem Steel soccer team in this important classic. However, the Bethlehems still have the edge on Fall River in having won the cup on four occasions while the victory yesterday gave Fall River the crown for the second time. In the matter of dual affairs, Fall River settled the score by forcing Bethlehem out of the running on two occasions after Bethlehem had done likewise. Twice when the Steel Workers annexed the crown it was in the final against Fall River. Once the New Englanders defeated Bethlehem in a final and on other and most recent during the present campaigning, Fall River eliminated Bethlehem in the Eastern final. Previous National soccer cup winners were as follows:
1913-14 -- Brooklyn Field Club 2; Brooklyn Celtics 1.
1914-15 -- Bethlehem Steel 3; Brooklyn Celtics 1.
1915-16 -- Bethlehem Steel 1; Fall River Rovers 0.
1916-17 -- Fall River Rovers 1; Bethlehem Steel 0.
1917-18 -- Bethlehem Steel 3; Fall River Rovers 0.
1918-19 -- Bethlehem Steel 2; Paterson F. C. 0.
1919-20 -- Ben Millers 2; Fore River F. C. 1.
1920-21 -- Robins Dry Docks F. C. 4; Scullins Steel 2
1921-22 -- Scullin Steel F. C. 3; Todd Shipyards 2
1922-23 -- Paterson F. C.- Scullin Steel F. C. (forfeited)
1923-24 -- Fall River 4; Vesper Buicks 2.
Honors in the East
If not mistaken, the victory of the Fall River team over the Vesper Buicks is the first time an Eastern team won the title in the West. By the victory of Fall River the honors have been captured three times by an Eastern team and twice by the Western teams. Some fans, however, contending that the 2-2 tie score played by the Scullins F. C. and Paterson F. C. should be recorded as a draw in spite of the fact that the title was forfeited to Paterson when Scullins refused to remain in the East for the replay. The National Challenge Cup came into existence in the season of 1913-14, but the East-West matches did not start until the season of 1919-20. The Ben Millers of St. Louis was the first team to take the trophy West but the robins Dry Docks eleven again brought it East. Once again did the trophy go West, but this season the East bears the distinction of being first in retaining the trophy two consecutive years.
The Growing Popularity of Soccer
Critics and fans are hastily recognizing the popularity of soccer which in its brief history seems to have attained a strong foothold on the American public. One comment of interest, after briefly summarizing the National Cup competition, refers to the game as follows:
"The history of the preliminary competition should just what a hold the English version of football has taken on the American public. A decade ago there were forty teams entered in the first soccer championship; this season there were so many that the United States Football Association has found it necessary to recommend that the limit of entries be placed at 128 teams in the future. A decade ago it would have been ridiculous to send a soccer team 1,300 miles to play one game with any hopes of covering the expenses of the trip from the gate receipts. Now it is taken as a matter of course. A decade ago he would have not thought of entering a team in the Olympic games. This year the first American soccer team will go to Paris for the Olympics, and its expenses will be paid by the gate receipts from exhibition games and contributions in the country.
Forecasting International Competition
In view of the extensive growth of soccer in this country the time is probably not far distant when an international match will be the highest pinnacle to be obtained in soccerdom. The time then may come when the winner of the English Association Cup ties will meet the winner of the National Challenge Cup competition in the United States for the world's championship. With England and the United States meeting in tennis, golf, yachting, horse racing and polo, it is not at all impossible that American and English soccer teams will battle for an international trophy in a few years.