The Globe-Times Bethlehem
Monday, May 21, 1928
A Swing Along Athletic Row

Says Mr. Wilcox
Levi Wilcox, writing in the Philadelphia Inquirer, refers to the experiment of the Bethlehem Steel soccer team plying in Philadelphia as a financial flop. One could hardly call it that. It is quietly likely that if Bethlehem adopted the name of Philadelphia the game would have taken a greater interest and pride in a bona fide home town product. As it is, the Steelmen are finishing their home season in the Quaker City retaining the name of Bethlehem. Referring to the Steelmen and their games in the Quaker City, MR. Wilcox types the following: "Bethlehem Steel, Lewis Cup champions, have proven a financial flop, insofar as turning the crowds away from one American League soccer matches since they made the city their home pasture. The Steelmen have not proved a flow, however, in the won column, for they have made quite a showing during the last few weeks- - and in many cases have been unfortunate in not cashing in victories when their opponents have held them to a tie. On account of lack of support it is rumored that next season Bethlehem will return to its up-State grounds and stage its American League matches. The reason for making the change, it is hinted, is not owing to the fact that the team has not been tendered the support anticipated by local fans, but mostly through the team being razzed at various stages by local followers of the game. When the Phillies threw up the sponge the followers of soccer in this city were without a representative in the American League. And at that for the first time since the A. L. circuit was organized. Therefore, when Manager Lewis decided to bring his Bethlehem team here to take the place of the Phils in the league series the Bethlehem mentor was filling a niche in soccer which had every indication of producing results from a box office standpoint. Regardless that he Steelmen cannot be considered a local team yet Bethlehem is so close to this city from a soccer standpoint that local fans should have given them stronger support. What happens next season insofar as an American League team in this city is problematical. It may happen that the Lewises, the pioneer of soccer in American league circles, will change their decision. If that comes to pass, it is also likely that Bethlehem will stage their home games at one of the ball parks, where the spectators have the opportunity of witnessing the games in comfort, regardless of the elements.

Should Keep the Club Here
Unlike other teams in the league perhaps, the sponsoring of the Bethlehem team is a sporting venture and not a commercial proposition. "Show us returns that will maintain the team and Bethlehem will have a team as long as soccer is played," has frequently been the ultimatum of the local management. That's the condition that grieves. The club is not a commercial proposition. It is sponsored by sportsmen for the benefit of sportsmen and the latter have rated miserably in showing their appreciation by failing to cooperate in [] its success. The fact that big league baseball magnates are sitting up and taking an interest in soccer is in itself evidence that the sport is now quite popular. There is a chance of brining the club back to Bethlehem next year. All that the management asks is the assurance that the team will be self-supporting. And these terms are by no means drastically exacting. IT is understood that with the assurance of $1,000 for each game or the sale of that many season tickets, which after all seems a paltry number, the club would remain in Bethlehem. The boosters, it is understood, are again becoming active. The service clubs in Bethlehem have also taken an interest in the team. Perhaps with the combined support of all service clubs and the boosters Bethlehem will be playing for Bethlehem again next year and local fans can wend their way to Lehigh Field for the home games.

Danger Somewhat Eliminated
The threatening New York Nats fighting to oust Bethlehem from the running to qualify for the round robin series to determine the American Soccer League championship, were shoved down a peg over the weekend and the situation insofar as Bethlehem is concerned, is slightly relieved. The Steelmen are in third placed, trailing New Bedford, with Boston brining up in fourth position. Incidentally both New Bedford and Boston, winners of the first half of the schedule, will be eliminated in the reckoning of the final half of the league and as a result Bethlehem is very much in the running. The standing of the contending clubs after the weekend games follows:

 

P

W

L

D

Pct.

Fall River

23

14

5

4

.696

New Bedford

22

12

4

6

.682

Bethlehem

20

10

5

5

.625

Boston

20

9

6

5

.575

New York Nationals

20

7

5

8

.550

Although Bethlehem is in third position the record of the team compares favorably with that of both top clubs. Having played less games than the leader, the Steelmen have lost only one point more than Fall River and have lost the same number of points as New Bedford.


1927-1928
Bethlehem Steel Soccer Club