The withdrawal of Bethlehem from further participation in major league soccer would undoubtedly create not a little surprise and at the same time consternation in major ranks.
For twenty years Bethlehem has sponsored soccer, plying the sport before the United States Football Association was created, and it was really this club that made the parent body possible. Since then Bethlehem remained loyal to all of the association's undertakings and only for its activities in the recent uprising when a number of major league clubs bolted, the warring factions, it is believed, would still be at odds with the U. S. F. A.
The rumor is general and has permeated to far distant points, and as a result no less than half a dozen cities are mentioned as being in the market to secure the franchise and players. Newark, Paterson, both in New Jersey, and St. Louis, Mo., are among the cities mentioned.
There is considerable speculation on what disposition will be made of the franchise which in all likelihood will be left to the league to decide with the understanding, however, that there will be no strings attached to the players and after Bethlehem is through the players become free agents.