Circumstances developing in the last several days indicate that an effort is being made to wreck the Bethlehem soccer team and that another wholesale raid on players is contemplated. No player desertions have as yet occurred, but according to advices from New York and confirmed locally this morning, three of the Bethlehem players left for Fall River, of the American Soccer League, last night ostensibly to discuss terms. What the ultimate outcome will be cannot be determined at this time.
The belief is general that Fall River has an emissary in this city who in secret is negotiating with the players . Efforts to determine if there is such a representative and who it might be have been to no avail.
The players who threaten to desert the local club by their action in leaving to discuss terms are Dave Edwards, goalie, and Jimmy and Willie Barrie, fullback and halfback, respectively. Only recently William Barrie was transferred to the Philadelphia team and if the terms should prove attractive and the players decide to play with Fall River, the Phillies will also suffer.
The loss of players at this time threatens severe inroads on the strength of the club, particularly on the eve of one of the most important games to be played by Bethlehem this season in the new Eastern League. On Saturday afternoon on the home grounds the local booters are scheduled to meet Hakoah, the formidable Jewish organization which is the contender to Bethlehem for the league honors.
The game will positively be played, is the announcement of the management this morning, although it may be necessary to make some drastic changes in the lineup and possibly recall one or two players loaned to other clubs. Insofar as the goal-tending is concerned the team has McClure to fall back on. It is the one back position that is causing most concern, especially so since Allan is partly crippled since the game last Sunday.
Apparently players are viewing their contracts lightly for in the case of each of the three men who went to Fall River they are under contract and honor bound to play for Bethlehem. In the case where American Soccer League players are concerned, contracts were [...] when the clubs violated their agreement with the United States Football Association and this opinion was upheld when the injunction proceedings instituted by the New York Nationals against Wortmann, a Jewish player, was dismissed.
The violation of a Bethlehem contract is a different matter. The Bethlehem team, a member of the Eastern League, has not violated any agreement with the U. S. F. A. and, therefore, the contract is binding and the basis for a substantial legal entanglement.
There is another angle which players should consider and possibly was overlooked by the three men who left to discuss terms. What should the situation be if a reconciliation is effected in the soccer controversy? Deserting players could except no consideration whatever. It is not positive that a reconciliation will be effected, but sentiment voiced quite recently is strongly in favor of arbitration which, if it materializes, would reconcile the warring factions.