"In Defense of Soccer"


(Ed. Note--The Crimson does not necessarily endorse opinions expressed in printed communications. No attention will be paid to anonymous letters and only under special conditions, at the request of the writer, will names be with-held.)

To the Editor of the CRIMSON:

It is with some interest that the members of minor sport teams--and there are a few-- have been awaiting the forthcoming decision by the H.A.A. as to whether or not it will support these athletics in the future. The original statement from the H.A.A. proposed the abolition of most of the minor sports including soccer, or, as an alternative, the sport levy of $10 on every undergraduate. A further development of the solution to this problem was suggested by an undergraduate who proposed the seven-point program which favored not only the $10 levy but also "the abolition of H.A.A. support for all Jayvee teams and for polo, fencing, lacrosse, and possibly soccer." This undergraduate is further quoted as saying that "he feels that these sports are an acquired taste since there is little training in secondary schools, and so could be dispensed with." If soccer is to appear on this list, I feel that many of the other minor sports should also be included in this program. It is interesting to note, for example, that more secondary schools in the East have soccer teams than swimming teams; that almost every high school in the East has its own soccer team; and that statistically almost twice as many freshmen candidates those last fall turned out for soccer as for boxing, wrestling, or hockey at the beginning of the winter season. In spite of this fact, the proposer of the seven-point program recommends that "possibly soccer" be dropped from the H.A.A. and that the less popular sports of boxing and wrestling continue under the old policy of financial support by the University.

The popularity for soccer in America, which seems to be doubted, is shown by the existing Intercollegiate League and the recent founding of a New England Intercollegiate League of which Harvard is a member.

Those of us who have had first hand experience with the coaches of minor sports appreciate the strong sentiments of the commentator who wrote "it seems a pity to lose a coaching staff which it has taken so many years to build up." The ability of the soccer coaching staff can best be judged by looking over the records which the team has made for the past five years. This record needs no comment, but we might state in passing that the Harvard soccer team has ranked as one of the three highest in the Intercollegiate League for the past five years: a record which few other Harvard teams can boast. Obviously if this record is to be continued we must have our coaching staff in the future.


It has often been intimated that soccer should be discontinued because of the lack of gate receipts. But before this can be seriously considered as an objection to the sport, the soccer field should be inclosed with some fence other than a wire fence. Few people will pay an entrance fee to see a soccer game when they can watch it just as well from behind a wire fence without paying a cent. The result is that every Saturday afternoon there is a line of spectators watching from the sidewalk of the street and almost nobody in the stands.

The policy of sports for exercise and pleasure seems to be fading into the discard. The H.A.A., by withdrawing its support from minor sports, lays more emphasis on football. If a man wants both exercise and training at the same time, he will have to go out for a major sport, whether he likes that sport or not. The boast of the Hygiene Department of "Athletics for all" is rapidly becoming revised to "Athletics for all football players" or "Athletics for all who can afford them." John Dorman '36.