The Globe – Bethlehem
Tuesday, December 10, 1918
When the Soccer Whistle Blows
By Sita Dell

The soccer touring bug has now infected the Merchant A team and announcement is made that William T. Wilson, president of the Merchant Shipyard Athletic Association is completing arrangements for this team to tour St. Louis and Chicago during the Christmas and New Year holiday. It is planned for the team to play three games at St. Louis and probably two in Chicago, while they will also arrange one or more games before coming East. Negotiations are also being made to tour Buffalo, New York and Canada later in the season.

Bethlehem is also slated for a trip during the holiday season and with the Merchants also gone, the East will be deprived of the two strongest teams in the country. In billing themselves as ranking among the best playing outfits gathered together it would be no surprised to see placards announcing their coming flared in the biggest print possible – “The Team That Forced Bethlehem to Two Fifteen-Minute Extra Periods Before Being Defeated by 3 Goals to 2.”

Should the Merchant A trip and the Bethlehem F. C. decide finally on their pilgrimages into Western territory it will be the third time that Eastern soccer teams have invaded that country. The first one to make the trip was the old Tacony team the year they won the American Cup. Bethlehem also toured the West two years ago.

The zealous ambition of Thomas W. Cahill, secretary of the U.S.F.A. in suggesting these trips as benefiting the sport may lead to considerable discussion in the East. Soccer is virtually just coming into its own in this part of the country and by having the two teams, conceded the best, barnstorming the country, might do the game little good. Years ago when the major league baseball teams followed similar pursuits the magnates finally decided that it was injurious to baseball and now in their contracts insert clauses prohibiting against such events. From reports the projected trip of the Bethlehem team has developed oppositions among New York clubs which have played scheduled games with the Bethlehems, which will be still further delayed by their absences. The account printed under a New York date line and referring to the trip says;

“The Bethlehems are the best drawing card on local soccer fields, and in addition to their games in the national championship are taking part in the American football Association’s cup competition and in the National League race. IN both of these later competitions they are back of their schedule, and the clubs which are being held up are a little resentful that Sheridan wants to take his team away before these arrears are cleaned up.

“However, inasmuch as the team will be absent not over four weeks at most, and that at a time when the weather reduces chances of playing football to a minimum hereabouts, it is thought the opposition will be smoothed out and the consideration of the great service in behalf of the general welfare of the game that will be rendered by such a trip will take precedence.

Bethlehem Steel Soccer Club