It wasn't a good day for soccer. But it was Army-Navy. And for all the rain and fog and skidding and sliding, the game went furiously on: not good soccer, but a show of spunk and spirit with Army Captain Scotty Adams sparking an attack that put the cadets before the Navy goal 10 minutes into the third quarter. There was an exchange of short passes until Tommy Turner, Army manager, jumped up from the bench and yelled: "Cut out the pattycake, boot the ball!" Carl Bossert, Army's outside right, couldn't possibly have heard him, but boot the ball he did and it slithered off Navy Center Half Joe Armstrong and into the net to tie the game at 1-1.
That was all the scoring, and at the end of the regulation time the referee ruled that the fog and the darkness made overtime periods impractical. Everyone agreed that it was probably the best way to resolve an Army-Navy game on a mean and miserable, but somehow wonderful afternoon.
By itself, the Army-Navy game did nothing to betray what is the best-kept secret in U.S. sports: the game of soccer is booming among boys of school and college age. Without benefit of ballyhoo, it is going great guns in the high schools, the preparatory schools, the colleges, on the playing fields of public parks, amid the halls of ivy and down by the gashouse.
LET FOOTBALL BEWARE
At Brooklyn College in New York, Coach Carlton Reilly has 2,100 soccer players among a total of 3,500 male students. Deerfield (Mass.), typical of the eastern prep schools, has 226 soccer players busy on nine playing fields. In St. Louis, 3,000 boys from 11 to 18 play on 163 soccer teams in leagues of the Catholic Youth Council. In Seattle, more than a thousand boys are similarly engaged.
Scores of high schools around the country have given up football and taken up soccer. Says Joseph Barriskill, secretary of the United States Soccer Football Association, "I believe that more boys are playing soccer today than are playing football."
More and more colleges are exploring the game. The University of Pittsburgh has taken it up and so have Kentucky, Florida, Virginia and Ohio Wesleyan. In Southern California, a five-team conference has been formed and already it plans to add three teams next year. The University of Chicago, arch foe of that other pigskin devil, plays soccer with enthusiasm.
Altogether there are eight college conferences around the country. A total of 197 colleges have fielded soccer teams, including those not affiliated with any league or conference.
In the school and college field, the prime moving force in spreading the soccer gospel is the National Soccer Coaches' Association of America, now headed by Brooklyn College's Carlton Reilly.