The Soccer Stake
While cup titles are more preferable to big professional soccer teams, league honors as a rule more truly size up the merit of a club. One defeat and out, the condition in the cup play, may catch a team on its off day and quite often the better team is dropped. In league campaigning it is the display of consistency that counts for meeting each of the rival factions on four different occasions there can be no excuses of being continually off color. Bethlehem Steel, champion of the league last season, has an opportunity today to practically clinch the title honors for the first half of the league schedule. A victory over the Hubmen will at least assure no worse than a deadlock for with a win the Steelmen will be topping their Massachusetts rivals by four points. And with but two more games to play to complete the first half schedule,. Soccer fans will focus their attention on the doings at Boston today and Fall River on Sunday.
Baseball Magnate an Executive
The American Soccer Leagues has been sorely in need of some executive who has had experience in the promotion of big professional sports and for that reason the announcement that Charles A. Stoneham, president of the New York Giants and owner of the New York National soccer club, has been elected vice president of the American Soccer League is a welcome one. Let it be hoped that his voice and influence will be as weighty in soccer as it is in big league baseball. An executive who cannot be influenced by personal motives but one who will work for the interest of the soccer league as a whole is what the American Soccer League needs.
Perhaps Quite Wrong
A forecast which may sink into oblivion and not be worth the breath to make it is that soccer interest in league campaigning will dwindle at the tail end of the season, based on what seems to be an absurd arrangement of the second half schedule. At a meeting in New York the other night the league decided on a 28-game schedule for the second half of the season. It needs no mathematician to figure that it will practically be an impossibility to play that number of games without infringing on the baseball season and to do the latter will certainly be suicide to the interest of soccer. Instead of closing the season with interest at fever pitch, the circuit will most likely close shop with enthusiasm dormant. Four months are set aside to conduct the balance of the schedule. During that period the moguls will have to contend with weather conditions that will hardly be as open as the first four months of campaigning. February and March are usually snowy and blustery months and quite a few postponements can be expected. But weather conditions with the pronounced threat of snow and icy fields are secondary to the other obstacle that will impede progress of the league games. Cup competitions are always given preference and with 28 games the National and American cup competitions are thrown in. The latter, too, is extended in that a home and home game will be played in every round whereas last season the home and home game on the goal scoring basis was in vogue only in the semi-final and final rounds. And last but not least there is to be a round robin series between the division leaders of the first and second half of the season. The latter games to climax the season and which in our opinion will suffer from the standpoint of interest and attendance. The writer may be all wrong and if so will extend a most profuse apology at the end of the season, an apology which in the interest of the league and the individual clubs, it is hoped will be necessary.
Suggestions of an 18-game schedule giving each club an at home and away game against each member, it is understood, were made but turned down. Sentiment seemingly favored the 28-game schedule. However, that can easily be accounted for since many of the clubs don't have a chance whatever of appearing in the round robin series and probably their attitude is inspired by a selfish motive. With no chance of playing in the round robin series, it is only natural that one would be interested in his own investment and want to play as many games as possible. However, there is another angle and one that seems far more weighty. That is to keep soccer interest in the league campaigning on edge from start to finish. Eventually it will be to the interest of all league teams. The suggestion might not be amiss to discuss the schedule for the following season. Then with the outcome of the winners in doubt, it is probable that sentiment would favor a curtailed schedule, so that the season could be concluded before interest drifts to the national pastime.