Saturday, June 6, 2015

Bethlehem Steel

One of the most successful teams in American soccer finds their home in the top tier of US soccer. Bethlehem won 4 US Open Cups in the 1910s, and one in the 1920s. The team survived the soccer wars between the American Soccer League and USSF and the Great Depression, and won the 1935 US Open. Early on, the team was made up completely by workers at Bethlehem Steel. During the Second World War, the team experienced a great boost in play due to the increase of European immigrants. Five straight US Opens starting in 1943 brought their total to 11. The team won their first and only league title in 1955. An ownership group bought the team from the steel company who eventually considered the team a burden. In the contract, they made sure the team wouldn't have a sponsor, and still keep the Bethlehem Steel name. It was the beginning of the end for the team in Eastern PA.  The immigrant system would die out, and the team had to rely on buying players. Bigger markets drew players away from the Steel. In 1962, the Steel were relegated for the first time. In 1973, they made a run to the top league. That only lasted a few seasons before going back down in 1976. In 1977, the team almost folded, and saw them relegated to the 3rd league of US Soccer. It took them until 1997 to make it back to League 2. The Steel finally brought back the glory years by making it to the top tier in 2005. Since then, they bring players through their youth system, then sell them. The most recent success has been the 2011 US Open Cup, the 12th in their storied history.

The team wears the traditional black/white/black on home, then does some version of a red clash. This case, red and white stripes.

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