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Association Football as a Sport.



[We invite all men in the University to submit communications on subjects of timely interest.]

To the Editors of the CRIMSON:

The recent increase in the popularity of association football and the growing disfavor with which American football is regarded all over this country, has necessitated at last that soccer should be given a serious try-out at Harvard. Those, who know it, can testify that it is the equal of any out-door game.

The superiority of the game over American football is shown by the fact that it contains all the essentials of a true sport; the best of healthy out-door exercise, the greatest enjoyment to the players during the entire season as well as during the contests, the tremendous interest of the spectators, all of whom can appreciate the fine points of this game. Forty thousand people attend an American football game. Of these, the students and perhaps half the others understand the science of the sport. What do the rest come for? One who sees a well-played soccer game for the first time can understand and appreciate at once its fine points.

There is no unnecessary roughness in soccer for cleverness depends not on butting into one another but upon taking the ball away from an opponent with the least bodily contact. The game necessitates athletic sense, perfect physical condition, agility, speed, a cool head, and a calm temper. Men of any size or weight can play this game. Agility, however, is indispensable, for the ball is propelled by every part of the body, except the arms and hands, which makes skillful use of the head and of both feet necessary. When the scientific control of the ball has been mastered, soccer offers more attraction both to the players themselves and to the spectators than a game in which the essentials of true sport are lacking.

The reason that the present day American college student knows so little about the game is that it is not the sport taken up by the small boy as soon as he is able to play any game. The recent adoption of the game by the public schools of Boston, whose example is being followed even by some of the boarding schools, however, assures Harvard an ever increasing quantity of men who have already mastered the rudiments.

It is not necessary to compare soccer to American football, nor is it the intention to boom the game by using American football as a buffer. We are but attempting to give an idea of what possibilities are open to every student, who has any athletic ability, to learn a game which he will not only find enjoyable in college, but will also be able to continue after he is graduated. W.S. SEAMANS, JR., '11.

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