The sincerity of the Bethlehem soccer club in its effort to assist strengthening member clubs and its pronounced activity in the interest of the new Eastern Soccer League is exemplified by an announcement made today of wholesale transfer of players to other clubs in the loop. As a result the big Bethlehem squad dwindles down to fourteen players among which fortunately are quite a number who can adapt themselves to any position.
The relative weakness of the majority of the clubs in the league is quite apparent. However, the management of these clubs are making every effort to secure new talent. And to speed along these efforts to strengthen the club Bethlehem has been quite charitably included in the work.
The transfer of players will not inflict any inroads whatever on the strength of the home team. Furthermore the players retained are in the majority veterans who have battled many grueling games for Bethlehem in the American Soccer League and are popular with the home town followers.
Philadelphia gets the majority of the former Bethlehem players. Among those who were transferred to the city of brotherly love and who will probably be seen in harness for the first time over the coming weekend are Hugh Reid, a fullback, Willie Barrie and John Delaney, halfbacks, Walter Jackson, W. Purgavie and Johnny McGrillen, all three forwards.
Tom Adams, of Newark, in spite of his efforts to strengthen his team has found the going rough, but will also profit by Bethlehem's generosity. Adams was the victim of a wholesale raid made on his players last Friday and was hard pressed to sign up enough players for the game here last Saturday afternoon. Bethlehem is not transferring any of its players to Newark but until Adams can get organized and field a club of merit, Arthur Robertson, a general utility man, and Joe Mulhall, a very promising forward, will be loaned to the Jerseymen for several weeks. It is also understood that McClure, a goalie, is negotiating with the sanction of the Bethlehem management, for a job with the New York Rangers.
While fans will probably regret the leaving of some of the above players, nevertheless the players more or less welcomed the change for up until recently when opposition was not so hard and they were used more freely, many were chaffing under idleness and expressed a desire to be active.
The players retained from what was once the biggest squad in big league soccer are training this week for the invasion of the New York Celtics to Bethlehem on Saturday afternoon. The locals played the Celtics in New York last Saturday and won by the score of 4 to 0. However, it is understood that the Gotham Irishmen will be a much improved team for the game this weekend.
The interest manifest in the new league in the Metropolitan district is apparent by the negotiations now underway to secure ground large enough to cope with the attendance expected when Bethlehem journeys to New York to meet the Hakoah. The latter have been playing to crowds of six thousand, the capacity of Starlight Park. It is believed that with Bethlehem as the opponent the number will be more than double and will probably establish a new record for attendance at a league game. Effort is being made to secure Lawlsohn Stadium, Columbia University, for the game.
In the game to be played here on Saturday afternoon, Fred Pepper has been assigned as the referee.