The Curtain in Soccer
The edge will be off soccer after the game on Sunday afternoon to which the Bethlehem Steel clan meets the Ben Millers of St. Louis in the grand final of the National Cup competition. Unfortunately, this game or competition should have been reserved to climax the season, instead of being followed by another cup competition, which will include only the clubs in the American Soccer League. By the time the latter is completed the baseball season will be well advanced and interest in soccer lost to a large extent.
The Blue Ribbon Event
The national championship is the blue ribbon event of the soccer season and as such should climax the booting season, as does the world series in baseball. The winner of the National Cup competition is recognized as the National champions, the highest soccer honors to be attained. While the American League Cup competition will command interest, it is really the national affair that all clubs aim for.
Schedules Probably Too Extensive
Bethlehem is something like seven or eight games back in their schedule play and with the baseball season ready to be launched, it is doubtful if the Steelmen can catch up to equal the number of games of other clubs or complete the schedule as designated by the league executives. This is particularly true if the Steelmen survive in the American Cup competition, and true more so if any of these games end in a draw results and replays are necessary. The first round in the American League cup is slated for April 17 and 18 and the second round the week following. Another week will then elapse before the semi-final and then a week more before the final. Meaning that the cup competition, barring replays, will consume a full month. After that, the weather together with other conditions will not be very favorable for the sport. In view of the cup games, and taking into consideration warm weather conditions, it might be well to somewhat curtail the league season.
An Excellent Winter For the Sport
It is doubtful if ever before has the sport experienced the excellent winter weather conditions of the past season. The Steelmen had their field available for play every weekend, with the exception of one and other clubs with the same initiative could have done likewise. The winter was a decidedly open one, with only one heavy snow storm to hold up the progress of the soccer campaign. And in spite of these conditions, many of the teams are way back in their schedule. It is not believed that the league schedule will be completed. Games will probably be forfeited and clubs benefit by the points thereby. But that is not a satisfactory end to competition such as is fostered by the soccer league. Points garnered by forfeits do not represent a test of merit. Therefore, a shorter schedule would probably appeal more strongly to the fans.
League Schedule Comprises 48 Games
Cutting down the schedule is a job that will call into play an abundance of gray matter to successfully accomplish. With twelve clubs identified with the league, about the only loophole in curtailing a schedule would be to classify into divisions, or cut down the number of times each club meets the other. Under the present method, each club is scheduled for four games with each of the other opponents, two games away and two games at home. With twelve club in the league, the schedule calls the forty-eight games. Without other competition, this number would nicely span the season allotted for soccer. However, the weather is always a gamble, and there are other conditions to be reckoned with. Various suggestions have been heard. One that seemed most logical was to admit several more clubs, to comprise at the most eight for each division, and at the end of the season have the last four clubs in the first division drop to competition in the second division for the following year. And the first four clubs in the second division graduate to the first division. Such an arrangement should prove an incentive to the management of the weaker clubs in trying to build up their aggregations to cope with the best, and would contribute materially to more equal competition. In major baseball we have two divisions -- a National League and American League. So why not in soccer?