A quite unexpected, rather severe and sudden blow to the interests of the Bethlehem soccer team was a cable received by the management today, announcing that Matthew McMeekin, sterling left back of the club last season, underwent a change of heart while hobnobbing with his former associates in his native heath and will not return to join the club this season.
The management was under the impression that McMeekin was sailing with Willie Reid, right halfback, and John McGrillen, Irish Internationalist, who are now on the sea en route to join the club. Although these players will return before the opening home game they will not be in condition to assume an assignment.
McMeekin joined the club last year and soon became recognized as one of the best backs in the league. He was a bulwark for Bethlehem on the defense and his sterling qualities earned him a regular assignment on the team. Before leaving to spend the summer abroad he accepted the terms offered him, signed the agreements and seemed perfectly satisfied with all the arrangements. Furthermore, he left the club in a lurch when he withheld his intentions to remain at home until the very last minute.
While the action of McMeekin is deeply regretted on the part of the management, plans are already underway to secure a player who can capably fill the vacancies and if the player now being angled for can be secured, Bethlehem will have a back second to no other in this country to take the position.
The only other fly in the ointment to cause the management undue worries is the action of Dave Edwards, goalie, who is still holding out. Every other player is signed and apparently quite well satisfied with the terms of the club. Should Edwards continue to hold out after the league season gets underway, the club is protected with a quite capable goalie for the opening games since John McClure, formerly custodian for the New York Giants, signed with the team last week.
The team will open with Brooklyn on Sunday afternoon and then come back home to oppose Newark in the Labor Day game. In view of the competition against two strong teams and more so the climatic conditions, the grind is going to be quite grueling for Bethlehem and for that reason the players are devoting themselves to intense training.
In spite of the absence of Reid and McGrillen, the team will not be completely handicapped for talent. Johnny Rollo, a forward originally but who has proven himself worth his weight to the club in the role of general utility, will possibly be assigned to outside left. Chances are that Rollo will be paired off on the left with Massey, one of the new forwards, who went big in the exhibition game against the Giants. The remainder of the front line will be well taken care of with Stark, at center forward; Jaap, inside right, and the dashing Tom Gillespie, at outside right.