America taking to soccer


June 1, 1927
Willie Paterson, son of Mr. Alexander Paterson, manager of Dunfermline F.C., who has returned to Dunfermline on a visit after a season’s play in America, has some interesting observations to make on the game in the States, as compared with football in this country.

Willie, who formerly played for Cowdenbeath, Derby County, and Coventry City, intends to return to America at the end of July, having been fixed up by the New Bedford Club for next season.

The way of the footballer in this country may not be an easy one, but he is confident that in America it is much harder. Climatic conditions, he says, are the chief stumbling-block to the footballer.

Play in hot sun.
At one part of the season play is rendered extremely arduous by a broiling sun, the thermometer registering about 100 degrees in the shade at times. At another, conditions are frigid in the extreme, and, no matter how active you are, it is impossible to keep warm.

“Your very nostrils get frozen,” Paterson remarked. Another thing is the hard ground. The Betlehem ground is the only one he has seen with grass.

Football is becoming more popular in America every year, and Willie is optimistic that the game will continue to make headway there.

Spectators’ part.
“The roughness of the game in America is due to the spectators. American football enthusiasts,” said Paterson, “are keen at mustard – too keen at times. Hard knocks are often going on the field, and, when as is sometimes the case, disgruntled spectators take to bottle throwing, there is plenty of excitement.”

The substitute system in America, by no means a bad system, is also due to a great extent to the attitude of the American spectator, who does not like the idea of 10 men fighting against 11. Abuse of the system is safeguarded against by a rule which prohibits the replacing of an injured player after a quarter of an hour from the end of the game.

To overcome the adverse climatic conditions, Paterson suggests that the playing season in America ought to be altered. At present it starts in September, and continues till the middle of May. If play stopped at the end of November, and was restarted at the beginning of March, the player would not have the ordeal of playing in the period when the weather conditions are cold in the extreme.

Paterson a success.
In spite of these drawbacks, Willie is by no means dissatisfied with American football. He has got on very well during the season, and has been in demand as a centre. He started with Springfield, a comparatively new club, and was later transferred to Fall River, from which club he was secured by New Bedford, his present club. He had a total of over 30 goals to his credit during the season. The financial side is good.

There was quite an array of Scots footballers in the liner in which he came home. They included Dave Edwards, formerly of Morton; Tom Gillespie, Preston North End; Andrew Rankine, Cowdenbeath – all of Betlehem Club; James White, Motherwell; John Caldwell, Clydebank, Robert Rock, Aidrie; James Leonard, Cowdenbeath; William Hyslop, Morton; and Alex Donald, Partick Thistle, of Indiana Flooring. Most of these will be returning for next season.
(Dundee Courier: June 1, 1927)

Willie Paterson, New Bedford.
willie-paterson-american-soccer

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