As of now, the colleges (and most prep and high schools) start their soccer schedules in September and wind them up toward the end of November. This means that they are in direct competition (for public interest) with the World Series and football. Soccer games usually are played around noontime on fields outside the football stadiums and the early arrivals for the featured games sometimes are beguiled into watching the soccer game for a few moments, usually without any idea of what teams are playing.
In the spring, soccer would have no such competition. Of course, there is lacrosse and baseball and track and field, but in the colleges these sports are as spectator-hungry as soccer itself. There is another thing to be said (perhaps not too loudly) for spring soccer: it would provide an excellent conditioner for the football players now barred from spring practice in many colleges. There is still another thing: with football out of the picture, soccer would have free access to the big stadiums with all their accommodations for the comfort of the fans.
Testing the spring soccer thesis, SI correspondents have taken a sampling of expert opinion around the country and herewith, as material for discussion by the delegates in St. Petersburg, are some of the findings:
At Yale, Soccer Coach John Marshall said he was in favor of scuttling any tradition, habit or practice that decreased spectator interest.
At Princeton, Coach Jimmy Reed was dubious: "You would have to compete with baseball and lacrosse which are on a pretty firm footing right now."
At Harvard, Carroll Getchell, business manager of athletics, feared the competition of lacrosse, baseball, tennis and track and field and pointed out that the Harvard soccer coach, Bruce Monroe, is also coach of lacrosse in the springtime.
In Chicago, Alvar Hermanson, University of Chicago soccer coach, thought spring soccer would be worth trying. "Things can't be any worse," he said. "We played Indiana for the conference title last fall and there weren't more than 150 spectators."
At the University of Pittsburgh, Tom Hamilton, manager of athletics, and Leo Bemis, the coach, considered that spring soccer would be impractical.
On the West Coast, Stanford, California and the University of San Francisco pointed out that Rugby has staked its claim to the spring season. At UCLA, Soccer Coach Jock Stewart's first reaction was "Good idea, but it would never work." Then he got to thinking about it and exclaimed: "It's a wonderful idea. I think I'll go to work on it!"
In St. Louis, where the high schools and municipal teams play soccer into the spring, Dent McSkimming, a sportswriter for the
whose soccer writings have won him election to the soccer Hall of Fame, said: "Spring soccer may well be the salvation of soccer in the colleges. What can they lose?"