That some of the shipbuilding plants are determined to go into soccer on an extensive scale and will not confine their playing to the shipyard league to be organized, is revealed by the progress made by the Soccer Association of the Merchant Ship at Bristol, Pa. This organization has been quietly organizing its teams and now comes forth with the announcement that the plant is to be represented by two teams, one to participate in the National League and the two cup competitions and the other in competition among the shipyard teams.
Weeks ago rumors were current that scouts from the various shipyard sections had invaded this territory as well as other territory where soccer reigned the previous year and years before that. It was also said that overtures have been made to several local players, members of the Bethlehem championship team, but that the scouts were unsuccessful in luring the players to the shipyards. The fact that the Merchants now spring on the public two fully organized teams with no doubt a dozen or more second string men for e3ach, would indicate that these rumors had more than ordinary significance to them.
Only recently Manager Sheridan of the Bethlehem soccer team was asked to verify rumors that were especially prevalent in Philadelphia to the effect that the majority of the players with the Bethlehem team last season had severed their local connection and were already signed up in the various shipyards. In response to the query Manager Sheridan replied that practically all of last season players would again wear the Bethlehem colors and as far as he knew not one had even made mention of being dissatisfied with the conditions here or the team they were playing with. Furthermore it is said that with the exception of two or three players, the rest have signed with Bethlehem for the coming season and are anxiously waiting for the ope3ning of the season.
The draft together with voluntary enlistments have played havoc with a good many of the teams in the country and at the same time open up an avenue by which newly organized teams could secure the cream of the players. In many instances where only a half dozen more players remained for the team, the best of these players were lured to the shipyards and since the managers could be a bit choicy in their selections unusually strong teams have been organized. This means that the competition will be as strong if not stronger than last year and that the winners of the cups will not have easy sailing.
The first team of the Merchants will comprise some of the best players in the country and will enter the National league in addition to the two cup competitions. This team will face Bethlehem and as all of the players have been in combat with the local aggregation with some team or other during the past season, they will be more or less familiar with the locals style of playing. Among the players signed by the Merchants Ship is Todd, who it is said was signed with Bethlehem and also played with Paterson, winners of the National League. Daniel Coursey, the former Hibernian-Disstons outside right and Scotty Wilson, also of Disstons. Harry Pearce who is playing second base for the Philadelphia Nationals, and who it is said intended joining the Steel Workers force, will tend goal for the National League team as soon as the Phillies finish the season.
The opening game for the Merchant Ship will be played at Bristol August 31, when Bethlehem, National and American cup champions, will be the opponents in an exhibition game.