When the Bethlehem Steel F. C. fields its soccer team in the cup and league campaign next season, Dave Eadie, a fullback, and Andy Rankin, who played a role of general utility man, will be among the missing. Both Eadie and Rankin sailed for their homes in Scotland and it is learned were given their release prior to sailing.
Several other Steelmen will visit abroad, but will be back late in summer to rejoin the team. These include Willie Reid, former Philadelphia halfback, who was signed by Bethlehem late in the season, who will visit his native heath on the Emerald Isle. The players who left on the visit were the only ones signed by the management, a mere matter of formality at this time in keeping with controversies that have frequently arisen with European soccer powers.
Just what the plan of the management is insofar as the personnel of next year's squad is concerned is not known. Whether or not more releases are to follow was not stated and if so will hardly be made known until late in the summer. However, the club maintained probably one of the biggest squads in the league and it is intimated that several more players will be let go.
The recent action of the team prior to the closing of the season in signing James McConnell, former Springfield and Providence center forward, indicates that the club plans a shakeup on the forward line and at the same time is taking unusual precaution to have available a strong line of forwards in the event of injury.
With McConnell included on the forward line it is most certain that he will be assigned to his regular position at center forward, a berth held down during the latter half of the season by Tom Gillespie. By his dashing and aggressive play Gillespie in his first year with the Steelmen became a very popular and much feared forward throughout the entire circuit.
Should McConnell be considered for center forward the pivot berth will likely be flanked and well fortified with Archie Stark and Gillespie for the inside jobs. Gillespie and Stark were the high scorers of the team during the past season and with McConnell, another good goal getter on the line, the scoring possibilities would undoubtedly be greatly increased. Johnny Jaap, outside right, broke in for honors as being among the twenty high league scorers for the season. That, together with his dashing and clever play assures him his berth at outside right. For the other wing Malcolm Goldie is the strongest possibility.
In view of the many double bills played over the weekend in schedule arranged by the week, forwards are certain to alternate frequently in positions. TO do this the club has available Johnny Granger, John Rollo and George Forrest.
One department which is most certain not to be tampered with is that of the celebrated halfback line, which comprises Messrs. Carnihan, MacGregor and McDonald. An able understudy, to meet any emergency and which would not in the least weaken the strength of this department is Willie Reid.
With Eadie no longer a member of the club, it is likely that a new acquisition will be made to the list of fullbacks. William Allan, absent in the lineup due to injury since the first round of the National Cup competition played at Philadelphia, returned to his old position in the exhibition game against Wilkes-Barre last Sunday and was seemingly none the worse for his long layoff. Allan and Barrie will probably be the regular fullback. The veteran Jock Ferguson, who in the capacity of trainer, has donned his togs to relieve more than one emergency during the past season, will probably be left to confine his entire duties to trainer.
Relations between players and the club management are the best and when the 1927-28 forms are presented for signatures no trouble is anticipated. The signing will probably be delayed until some time in August.