The Globe-Times – Bethlehem
Tuesday, December 28, 1926
A Swing Along Athletic Row

”What’s Wrong With the Marksmen?”
Fall River soccer fans are at a loss to understand the seemingly complete reverse of form displayed by the Fall River soccer team when on the road. They are asking “What’s wrong with the Marksmen?” claiming that when playing at home the three time league champions are the “best team in America.” That may go for Fall River, but Bethlehem fans certainly have a different opinion. In referring to Fall River’s disappointing showing when defeated by the lowly Phillies, and then taking the bumps from Brooklyn, both referred to by Fall River experts as “mediocre” clubs, the Fall River Herald submits the following:

“The question on the lips of every soccer fan in this city today is: “What is the matter with the Fall River football club?” On its own grounds, it is a world beater. Away from home, most any old club appears able to lower the colors. “What’s wrong?” they are asking. On paper, the club is one of the strongest, if not the strongest in the league. On the stadium pitch it seems to bear out the claim on paper. On a foreign field, it’s an entirely different story. It’s about time they snapped into it, is the way the Fall River supporters feel about it today. From what we can learn, the management feels the same.”

Can Morale Be Ebbing?
Last year Fall River won the championship, losing only one game during the entire league season. Quite a record. In fact in winning the bunting for three successive years Fall River lost less games than the number dropped this year. On paper the talent looks the stuff but a team must have something more than playing ability. IT must have spirit and morale. Last year Fall River went into games feeling that it could not lose. The morale was at high tide. Bowled over by some of the mediocre clubs in the American League – referring to two defeats at the hands of the Phillies – has probably smothered the dead sure confidence of the club. Fall River is still in the running, but it is not believed that the Marksmen will be dangerous. At present the club is tied for third place with New Bedford, with Boston in second place and holding a well earned advantage. The Hubmen, it is believed will prove the real contenders, although Bethlehem’s advantage in the percentage column would indicate that to lose out now, with the schedule half completed, a collapse of the entire team would be necessary. Fall River’s only chance to retrieve champion honors will probably be in the National Cup competition and the records disclose that while Fall River ran riot in league competition, the team has not been so hot in recent cup tilts. Perhaps it will again hinge on Boston and Bethlehem. These two clans, at any rate, look the best in their respective districts.

Seventeen Years at Soccer
Johnny Walders, referee of the Bethlehem-Philadelphia soccer game in this city on Saturday, is an official who is a credit to the game. Johnny doesn’t claim to be infallible in “calling ‘em” but one thing the fans can rest assured of and that is when he does make a decision he feels that he is correct Perhaps there was room to criticize one or two of his decisions in Saturday’s game. There always is room to criticize from the standpoint of a partisan fan, but Walders did his stuff and did it well, certainly earning the tribute dropped by a veteran soccer enthusiast, “The best referee in the country.” In the many games in which the writer has seen Walders officiate, he could not say that he leaned either way. Such officials are needed to help make soccer. He is fearless, quick and precise in tooting his whistle and is not in the least perturbed by threatening demonstrations of players protesting any decision he has made. IF he is wrong, he is ready to admit it and if necessary make an adjustment after consulting his assisting linesmen. It is known that Walders was associated with soccer in this country a good many years, but not how many until Saturday, when after exchanging holiday greetings with the veteran enthusiast, and a former player in Walders’ day, that the latter remarked, "Perhaps I’m slowing up after seventeen years." Walders may think so but not the fans or the players who have seen him and with whom he has worked.

Bethlehem Steel Soccer Club