Following the trend of other clubs in strengthening for the rapidly approaching American Soccer League season, the Bethlehem Steel F. C. management probably made the premier catch of this season when late yesterday afternoon the name of Archie Stark was added to the roster of Bethlehem Steel players.
To those familiar with soccer activities, the newcomer to the ranks of the Bethlehem clan is by no means a stranger for his exploits in soccer circles the last seven or eight years have been inscribed with those of the most brilliant achievements.
Only after weeks of negotiations was the management successful in closing for his amicable transfer to the Bethlehem club and then the conditions under which this was made possible were not divulged. However, it is known that Stark was anxious to play with the Steel Workers for several seasons and he expressed this desire so keenly that the Indiana Flooring eleven, fearing indifferent playing, decided to waive on his services and Bethlehem was waiting to snare him.
With Stark on the Bethlehem's forward line, the offensive bulwark will be much strengthened and he should fit in nicely in either of the positions vacated by Alec and Walter Jackson, inside right and center forward respectively. In all his career Stark has played a position with the front liners.
Probably his greatest achievement of his career was attained last season when getting away to a bad start he came though for the high individual scoring honors in the American Soccer League. For years he has been recognized as a forward par excellence and ranked among the leading front liners in the business.
Stark has been on the ground for the past several days and expects to locate immediately in Bethlehem with his family. His acquisition at this time is most opportune and he will be seen in a Bethlehem uniform in the opening American League game against the Philadelphia F. C. on the Steel lot on Saturday afternoon.
The newcomer to the local ranks is one of the few players developed in this country that have aspired to a big league berth in soccer. And incidentally Stark enjoyed this distinction for a good many years. He started the game on the sandlots and made his debut as a top notcher with the Erie Club of Harrison, N. J., playing in the old National League, which preceded the American Soccer League. His ability was so pronounced that when in the summer of 1919 t he Bethlehem Steel team invaded Sweden and Denmark for a series of exhibition games, Stark was included in the personnel of players to make the trip.
It will be recalled that on that trip the old Bethlehem Steel machine won nine and lost two games. Stark was originally taken along to alternate for Harry Ratican in the center forward position, but after his first two games with the Steel Workers he made such a favorable impression that he was retained as a regular and proved dominant factor in the victories of the invading Steel Workers.
For several season he was the star forward on the New York F. C. which club was a contender for the honors in the soccer classics last season. When the franchise was sold to the Indiana Flooring eleven, Stark was included among the players who went with the franchise. However, in some manner satisfactory terms were reached by which the new club in the league was willing to waive on his services so that he could join the club he more keenly desired. Stark played with the New York F. C. for four years and it was last season that he won the high individual scoring honors in the league.
Stark played with the local team in the practice game last Saturday and his work was one of the outstanding features. He is fast, accurate in passing and his record of goals scored speaks for itself.