The Globe -- Bethlehem
Thursday, September 13, 1928
A Swing Along Athletic Row

A Blast to Soccer Interests
"Because of the heavy schedule this season, the American League members decided not to enter the national cup competition this year. The cup competition is conducted annually by the United States Football Association." That and no more comes from soccer league headquarters in Boston and might suffice for the average fan but underneath the surface it is believed there is more to it than merely an extensive schedule. Strange, that with the extensive schedules of the past, room was always found for the blue ribbon soccer classic of the country. In dropping out of the National Cup tie, the American Soccer League is divorcing itself from all outside soccer interests in the United States and the one big feature which stimulated interest far greater and drew much bigger gates than any other soccer competition in the country. The action of the league is not entirely surprising to those who have followed closely its doings. For the past several seasons, or, in fact, ever since the season of 1924-25, there has been internal strife between these two bodies and every year threats of severing relations were hurled back and forth.

The Real Reason
The league may base its actions on an extensive schedule, but the real reason for withdrawal might probably be attributed to selfish motives and a conflict of personalities. Record attendance for soccer have been established in the National Cup tie games. In this competition every team in the country was entitled to compete. The league from time to time made frequent demands which were contrary to the original policy and most of these demands were acceded to. One of the most important was to eliminate the league clubs from the early round of competition. That a permanent break would occur seemed inevitable and now the time has come. Many soccer followers in the country will consider the action as a direct slap at the growing popularity of the sport and eliminating one of the most dominating incentives in stimulating interest. In the interest of the booting game, it is hoped that the action be further discussed and considered and if relations can again be established that they be founded on a harmonious basis that will be permanent.

Money Mad Managers
One cannot help but believe that the selfish motives of many team owners played an important part in the action taken. The division of the receipts more so than the so-called extensive schedule, which in reality is not any more extensive than it has been in past seasons. The U. S. F. A. broke in for a cut in the final rounds. The competing teams split even on the gate receipts. In league competition the home team can hog on most of the receipts, the percentage going to the visiting club being hardly worth consideration. By reason of this action, the annual intersectional competition in which the survivors of the western and eastern competition met for national honors, will no longer prevail.

A Traditional Classic
The National Cup tie competition was really the first important step taken in the development of soccer in this country and in operating the sport on a more organized basis. The first cup tie was played in the season of 1913-14 and was conducted annually since then with the exception of the season of 1924-25. That year the U. S. F. A. and the league were at odds and the league withdrew. Fortunately, conditions were adjusted the following season and the league clubs re-entered but from that time on relations between the two bodies were not as amicable as many were led to believe. Bethlehem, competing in every one of the National Cup ties, won the championship five times.

Lewis Club Intact
The campaigning of the league clubs will now be confined to the league race and the cup tie conducted exclusively for the clubs in the league. In the latter competition the H. E. Lewis cup will remain intact. Unless provision is made whereby the big time western clubs meet the winner of the eastern series, the question of national supremacy will always be a disputed question. Only in exhibition matches, probably, will these clubs come in contact with each other. It seems hardly conceivable that the league should throw out a competition which by its vast attendance was evidence of the interest manifested and undoubtedly the most popular of all soccer classics in the country. It's about time that personal grievances are set aside, personalities forgotten and the powers that be combine in their efforts and work for the interest of soccer as a whole.

Bethlehem Steel Soccer Club