In spite of threats emanating from American Soccer League headquarters, the Bethlehem soccer team is going ahead forgetting entirely that such a league is, or ever was, in existence and working hard for the opening game in the new professional league organized on Monday and which will celebrate its inaugural over the weekend with the opening games.
It was learned that after considering favorably the name of the United States Soccer League, the new organization, acting on the advice of the United States Football Association, later decided to adopt the name of the Eastern Soccer League. The National Commission pointed out the possibility of conflict with other leagues known as the U. S. League and also decided that Eastern Soccer League would be more representative of the teams included in the circuit.
Bethlehem was able to keep its players fit in the exhibition games played while plans were being made for the formation of a new circuit and should be ready for a hard game against the Giants here on Saturday afternoon. The clash will bring together two of the most formidable teams in the league at this time and the schedule makes wisely arranged for this setto. This will enable the other clubs who now are scouting for talent to improve the strength of their teams by the time they face either one of the former American Soccer League clubs.
The respite in league campaigning served Bethlehem to a good advantage. With a host of new men included in the squad, the exhibition tilts presented the opportunity of giving all a chance to show their wares and this was done. It also gave these new men an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the Bethlehem style of play.
The Bethlehem team opens the new league season here on Saturday and on Sunday will meet the Giants at Starlight Park in New York. It is quite apparent that the home club will field its strongest lineup, determined to win the opening game and get away to a flying start.
Although no lineup has yet been definitely selected it is quite likely that Edwards will be in goal with J. Barrie and Allan the backs. The halfback line will no doubt have the veterans Carnihan and MacGregor in their positions with either Delaney or W. Barrie for the odd position.
While frequent changes have been made in the forward line for the exhibition games the old standbys will likely be given preference with Gillespie and Jaap on the right wing, Stark, center forward, and Rollo and Massie on the left. Jaap has been nursing an injured leg but will probably be in condition to start.
James Armstrong, secretary of the League, to whom was left the arrangement of the schedule for the eight charter clubs, gave out the program for the first round next Saturday. The following are the pairings:
Bethlehem vs. New York Giants, at Bethlehem.
I. R. T. Rangers vs. Newark at Dyckman Oval, 207th Street, New York.
Philadelphia Centennials vs. Hispano F. C. of Brooklyn, at I and Tioga Avenues, Philadelphia.
A return match between the New York Giants and Bethlehem will be played at Starlight Park on Sunday. The home grounds of the New York Celtics are at the Queen's Park Casino, Astoria, L. I., and of the Hispano F. C., at Secony Oval, Greenspoint, Brooklyn.