E. G. Grace, president of the Bethlehem Steel company, sends word that he would pay the expenses of a tour of the country by the Bethlehem soccer team, national champions, and the Belgians, who have been asked to come here.
The above dispatch received here by the Associated Press this morning practically confirms that the Bethlehem soccer team is favored as the opponents of the Belgians upon their arrival in this country and that games between the champions and the overseas squad will not only be confined to the sport week drive to be staged in New York city but that games will be played in the principle cities and army cantonments in the East, New York, Washington and Philadelphia being among those favored.
Just what arrangements were made by Mr. Grace have not yet been submitted to Manager Sheridan but in an interview with the latter together with Mr. H. E. Lewis, vice president of the Bethlehem Steel Co., and a devoted soccer enthusiast, it was learned that the steel workers stand ready at any time to assist in any project that may have any bearing on the war.
The matter was brought up with the Bethlehem soccer officials by Thomas W. Cahill, secretary of the United States Football Association, who will be in charge of the soccer games that are to be included as part of the program in the United War Work Campaign. The suggestion was made that if soccer games between the Bethlehem champions and the Belgians were staged in the principle cities in the East together with at the different army cantonments it would in addition to brining in large gate receipts furnish a delightful sport for the soldiers. This proposition was looked upon favorably and was thought advisable that wherever the soccer team would be any benefit in the war, the officials as well as the players, would gladly volunteer their services. As far as the Bethlehem team is now concerned it is practically certain the contests will be staged. However, it is not definite relative to the Belgian team and an answer is awaited to the cable which was recently sent by the committee.
By playing these games it is not believed that it will in any way interfere with the schedule arranged in the cup competitions and National League race. Most of all these games are arranged for Saturdays and it is believed that there are enough open dates on all schedules to squeeze the war charities games without any interference. Then again it is pointed out that it is most likely that the games with the Belgians would be played some time during midweek. The Bethlehem squad would no doubt suffer a severe handicap in the competitions and the extra games might have a tendency to throw them out of the running in capturing the laurels again this season. It would mean a good bit of hard work in addition to taking chances of being injured. However, they are all willing to take those chances, knowing that in doing so they are not only doing their bit in turning out munitions but they are giving all of their time to a worthy cause.