Revolt Smoldering in Soccer Ranks
Intimated in this column a week or more ago, the discontent that is going the rounds in the American Soccer League is just being brought to public attention through leaks here and there of the doings of the recalcitrant members of the organization. That there is to be a reorganization of the American Soccer League or members thereof before very long is practically a foregone conclusion. However, instead of going to it in a heartless manner, the revolting clubs have been persuaded by wiser counsel to do it in a diplomatic matter. And this wiser council happened to be the management of the Bethlehem Steel Club.
Plans All Cut and Dried
When the New England representatives journeyed to New York last Saturday to attend a league meeting, they came prepared to push across the reorganization project and had their plans all cut and dried. There were to be no ceremonies other than to oust the clubs unfavorable to the proposed plan and then reorganize with the clubs preferred electing executives of their choice. Bethlehem Steel was included in on the new project, but balked at the ruthless manner in which the recalcitrant members hoped to strengthen their ramparts. The Bethlehem management objected to those methods and suggested that if any changes were desired by certain clubs, they should make known their wants in open meeting and then take action to work out their plans. Bethlehem would be no party to the methods the New England clubs desire to employ and when the attitude of the Steelmen was made clear, the others fell in line. The prestige of the Steel club is well known. The New England organizations as well as the Metropolitan district clubs want to be aligned with Bethlehem and the latter's attitude is considered worthy of appreciation.
Tear Down What Was Built Up
Soccer has arrived. That is the general opinion of sports critics throughout the country. The game is established after years of hard work. The ranks of patrons is yearly being increased and more publicity given the game today than ever before. The merits of soccer as a sport are being recognized. With few exceptions, it is self supporting and the management of these clubs are in position financially to leave nothing undone to strengthen their forces. In Bethlehem the support has been lacking, but that will probably come now that the development is complete in other districts. The American Soccer League had much to do with the development of the sport. The title is the trade name and is recognized as the parent organization of major league soccer. Therefore, to change the name would be nothing less than outlawry, if by legitimate business methods the same results desired can probably be attained in an open league meeting. IF unsuccessful, then is the time to balk. In the plans drafted it is understood that the league was to be known as the United States Soccer League. That would be a step in the wrong direction. In the first place, it would be confused with the United States Football Association and would threaten the patronage built up by the American Soccer League. True, the new organization would have the cream of the old league, but a change of name might prove fatal.
Soccer Needs a Judge Landis
Major league soccer needs a Judge Landis. Unfortunately the sport has not developed in proportions commensurate with such a movement. To be more explicit, it is not big enough to have a Judge Landis at the head. But it will be big enough eventually and the day cannot arrive any too soon. As seen from casual observation at the parks of the American Soccer League clubs, from doings at their meetings, etc., we are convinced that a change in the executive board is well merited, provided, however, that the right men can be secured to take the offices. The business methods have been lax and we wonder sometimes at the stride soccer has taken under these conditions. This is no knock to the sport, but merely fact. And these slip-shod methods of doing business have had a strong tendency throughout the season to inspire discontent. While on the surface harmony has seemingly prevailed, we know that there were some pretty hot battles on the floor in open meeting. Soccer as a business proposition has grown and if the present executives are unable to conduct it, a change is desirable.
Organization Early in July
Whether there will be an upheaval of any moment remains to be seen at the annual meeting in July. It is believed there will be if some of the clubs are at that time of the same mind as today. The league is too big, in the opinion of practically all concerned, but none of the clubs want to forfeit its franchise. It is not big enough for two major organizations and divisional soccer such as conducted abroad is not approved. There is but one thing to be done and that is to drop several clubs. And that is the plan of the New England organization where the sport is conducted at a neat profit. Boston, New Bedford, Providence, Fall River, and J & P Coats are the originators of the new league plan. They have included Bethlehem Steel and the New York clubs, namely, Indiana Flooring and New York Giants. That means the Brooklyn, Newark and Philadelphia clubs are to be given the gate if the league is reorganized under these plans. The layout would comprise a ten club league, in which Springfield, Mass., would be a newcomer. Shawsheen, it is understood, has already been dropped after being a member for one year. One consolation to local fans is that no matter which way the wind blows, Bethlehem will not be eliminated.
Intimate a Split
The Associated Press, referring to the revolt of several members, this morning sends out the following dispatch:
"New York, June 2 (AP) – Possibility of a split in the ranks of the American Soccer League confronted officials of the circuit today as a result of attempts of reorganization of four New England teams. The revolting teams, Boston, New Bedford, Providence and Fall River, are declared by soccer men to be dissatisfied with present officials of the league and to favor dropping the Philadelphia, Newark and Brooklyn clubs. Talk of two leagues for the 1926-27 season was in the air today, but plans of the rival groups were so incomplete that observers considered definite steps might be delayed until the annual American League meeting in July."