Although the Bethlehem soccer team officially launches the Eastern Soccer League season on Sunday afternoon in combat against the New York Hakoahs on the latter's home grounds, the Bethlehem team will be anything but at full war strength for this game.
The delayed absence of several of the veterans and new acquisitions is causing the management no little concern. Fortunately, however, with the players on hand the club by shifting men in certain positions will be able to field a formidable side.
The recent departure of William Gibson, crack fullback, has put the club in a bad way in this department. Gibson was suddenly called to his home in Scotland and is not expected to return until the middle of September.
He is but one of the players missing and upon whom Bethlehem is relying for success this season. Joseph McDonald, a right back, is one of the new acquisitions. McDonald starred with Cowdenbeath, Scottish League, First Division Club, and was expected to report by this time. However, the newcomer has immigration problems to contend with and as a result will not arrive until some time in September.
Willie Reid, too, is absent and the club is much concerned relative to his whereabouts. Having had no word from the flashy veteran halfback, it is presumed that probably he is now on high seas en route to this country from his home in Ireland and may show up in time to get into harness for the Hakoah game.
Massie, an inside forward, who spent the summer in Scotland, is also involved in immigration problems and will not return here until some time in September. However, his difficulties were known and as a result his failure to arrive earlier is not unexpected.
Two players who have been in this country for some time and starred with outlaw teams in the American Soccer League who will probably don the uniform of the locals for the time on Sunday are Bob Curtis, former Brooklyn crack forward, and William Findlayson, big and aggressive center halfback who starred with Sam Fletcher's Providence Club.
The imperative need for talent to meet the Jewish outfit, reported to be stronger this season than ever, makes it necessary for both Curtis and Findlayson to make their debut in the opening game. Curtis in all likelihood will play in Massie's inside position while Findlayson may have to pinch hit as a fullback, paired off with "Billy" Allan.
Insofar as the remainder of the team is concerned the accurate goal shooting Archie Stark, Tommy Gillespie, Johnny Jaap and either Rollo or Purgavie, will comprise the forward line. The first line defense will have Bob McGregor and "Bill" Carnihan among the players available while for custodian Beveridge will be in goal.