by Fred. Nonnemacher
It was a unique crowd that gathered around the festive board at the Kurtz last night, the guests of H. E. Lewis, vice president of the Bethlehem Steel Co., and showered praise on the plant's championship soccer aggregation on the eve of their departure for foreign lands for a series of exhibition games and uphold the reputation established in the last four years and the good name of the City of Bethlehem, the state and the grand old flag, representing the country under which they will wage their battle on strange soil.
A more glowing or fitting tribute could not have been bestowed on any athletic group as that conveyed in the sentiments expressed by the able speakers called upon to inject the spirit of courage and confidence into the hearts of the players who tomorrow morning will board a steamship at New York and set sail on the first leg of their foreign tour.
Never before in the history of soccer in the United States has any one club been returned the champions of the United States for four consecutive years. By virtue of this wonderful record the players have rightfully earned the honor to travel overseas and combat for international honors.
H. E. Lewis is given unstinted credit for the wide expansion and interest in the game throughout the country. "Why, I had never seen a soccer game before I came to Bethlehem," remarked the daddy of the game here following the reception. "I was an American Rugby player and only became interested in soccer when I journeyed to the athletic field with one of the shop foremen, more to participate in outdoor exercise than to really participate in the game. It was then that I became aware of the intricate features of the game, especially when I found how difficult it was to locate the ball. I was frequently tripped and was the victim of many other tricks."
As a token of appreciation for the part he has played in the advance of the sport, Lewis was presented with a golf club, a "brassie" and a set of balls, the gift of Thomas W. Cahill, secretary of the United States Football Association. The gift was presented by the Mayor Arch. Johnston, who in a jocular way remarked "that since Mr. Lewis finds soccer too strenuous for active participation, he has taken to the 'old man's' game and I feel sure the give is most appropriate."
Gathered around the festive board were the players and guest, the players occupying the entire one side of the table facing the speakers. The foot disposed of, Mr. Lewis assumed the burdens of toastmaster and briefly told the history of soccer in Bethlehem during the last six or seven years. "You have brought a lot of credit to our town," he said, "and are going abroad to uphold the name of the Bethlehem club, the city and the country."
"It is with great feeling that I came here tonight," said Rev. James Robinson, who was the first speaker called upon by Mr. Lewis. "When you go abroad remember it is not individual playing that has brought the wonderful achievements, but the team. You are to represent us and say "here's the type of game we play in America. Come back with the [...] keep your temper and play like good sportsmen and when you do come back the people will rally and support the game."
R. A. Lewis, also a vice president of the plant, when called upon was referred to as the man who helped when we all scratched our head and didn't know what to do. The remarks of Mr. Lewis, while wishing God-speed and success, covered a phase up to this time still untouched, in which he urged the players to look forward to the future. Referring tot he shipbuilding concerns making luring offers he said: "We are going to look after you when you are not kicking the ball. You are coming back here where all are cultivating good trades and we are going to make your next year's work just as pleasant and profitable as the past."
D. H. Wilson, city solicitor, explained the difficulties in securing the passports, after which A. N. Roberts, more familiarly known as "Newt," reminded the players that "this is the first trip abroad that you do not have to worry about the cash."
Mayor Arch. Johnston extended the good wishes of the towns folks and dwelt forcibly on the outstanding essential to reach the heights of success, that of reputation, character and entering the daily pursuits with the same determination as that displayed on the soccer field.
He said: "The interest your concern has in you and your interest in the concern has made this trip possible." Before concluding he spoke briefly on the efforts of the city fathers for a better community, the plans in mind, such as good streets, good lighting, better parks [...]age, and remarked that with the aid of the people these achievements would b e accomplished before they vacated. Dwelling on the recent revised tax, he stated that it was necessary to bring these things about and make a better community.
Thomas W. Cahill, secretary of the United States Football Association, who assumed the management of the Bethlehem Steel team on the t rip and who is held responsible for their conduct, was called and said:
"This isn't a time for me to say much. Whether I will have much or little to say when we get back is up to the team. It is an old aphorism of sport that good teams make good managers. And I am depending upon the Bethlehem Steel Co. team to prove me a good manager on the trip."
Other speakers were D. A. Petty, H. A. Lehman, associated with the D. H. Wilson and who assisted in securing the passports, Henry Costello, former Cornell football captain, A. H. Fosdick, Jimmy Campbell, captain of the team; L. W. Lewis, chairman of the soccer committee, and William Sheridan, manager of the team, who will have complete charge of the training on the trip.
A neat medal was presented tot he players and guests, which the players are to wear continually throughout their trip.
The gathering included: Mayor Arch. Johnston, Rev. James Robinson, H. E. Lewis, Thomas W. Cahill, R. A. Lewis, D. M. Petty, A. N. Roberts, A. H. Fosdick, H. J. Costello, L. W. Lewis, Frank T. Boyle, Fred S. Nonnemacher, Lou Evans, William Stark, William Sheridan, Robert Graham, Harry Ratican, George McKelvey, James Easton, Sam Fletcher, John Ferguson, William Duncan, Bert Horsfell, Fred Pepper, Tommie Fleming, James Campbell, Arch. Stark, William Forrest and Thomas Murray. and "Bobby" Morrison.