With the strongest teams in its history, the National Football League closed its circuit at a meeting held on Sunday in Newark, N. J., by granting franchises to ten soccer clubs. With these clubs entered the National League for the coming season looms up as strong as either of the two cup circuits, in which most all of the National League teams will probably be entered. Games next season promise to be the hardest fought in years and attention directed toward lifting the honors held by the Bethlehem Club. Manager Sheridan's contingent are among those who have been awarded a franchise. Owing tot he league having a record number of clubs, for it is the first time that ten clubs have played in that circuit in any one season, it was decided to play a two-game schedule with home and away games, the same as last year. Those who will play in the circuit the coming year are New York Field Club, of New York; Paterson, of Paterson, N. J.; West Hudsons, of Newark, N. J.; Erie A. C., of Newark, N. J.; Morse Dry Dock, Newark, N. J.; Merchant Shipbuilding team, Harriman, Pa.; Babcock and Wilcox, Bayonne, N. J.; Bethlehem, of Bethlehem, Pa.; and Disstons, of Philadelphia.
West Hudsons, Erie A. C., Robins Dry Dock and Disstons are new clubs to the league. Disstons, however, were members two years ago, the season that they had the honor of being the only club in the East to lower the colors of Bethlehem, the national champions. West Hudsons, which has been reorganized, was always one of the leading teams in the country. The two dry dock teams, Robins and Morse, were in the field last years and were recognized as two of the strongest in the shipyard teams. With such a great outfit indications point to the National League games the coming season being above the ordinary. Bethlehem won the title last year, while Merchants' captured the runner-up position after playing off a tie for second place with Paterson, runners-up in the National and American Cup series.
Merchants will only have one team this season. Therefore, they should be in a position to place an all-star eleven on the field. Several of last year's players have already placed their John Hancocks to a form and as others will be secured prior to the opening of the season to strengthen the team.
The National Challenge Cup competition this season will be divided into sections, eastern and western, with the two surviving teams playing in the final round. The National Cup, together with twelve gold medals, will go to the winners with silver medals to the runner-up. The following dates have been fixed for the completion of the various rounds of the competition.
Preliminary, on or before October 26, 1919.
First round, on or before November 16, 1919.
Second round, on or before December 21, 1919.
Third round, on or before February 8, 1920.
Fourth round, on or before march 7, 1920.
Semi-finals, on or before march 28, 1920.
Final, on or before April 18, 1920.