A Look at Bethlehem PA’s Local Sports Scene
Pennsylvania as a state has a long history of sporting success. While the bigger cities and towns dominate the spotlight, the smaller ones have its fair share of highlights, too. In this article, let’s have a look at what Bethlehem has to offer for sports.
This amazing city in the Lehigh Valley region is home to premium athletics facilities, primarily found in its two schools, Moravian College and Lehigh University. To add to that, there’s a school district dedicated to developing young and student athletes through different programs for different sporting disciplines. The three most popular sports teams that consider Bethlehem as their home soil are the Lehigh Valley Storm, Lehigh Valley Steelhawks, and the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Lehigh Valley Storm is the city’s pride in local sports. It is a semi-professional football team based in Bethlehem. But aside from the storm, there was a professional indoor football team called the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks that played their home games in the city, specifically in Stabler Arena. That was in 2011. But the most popular of them all is the professional football team, Philadelphia Eagles. This team from the National Football League actually had their training camp in Bethlehem from 1996 up to 2012. They utilized the facilities of Lehigh University for pre-season camp. However, the team ended the contract in 2013 to go in favor of a camp that’s closer to South Philadelphia.
Today, the Lehigh Valley RFC rugby union team plays its games at home in Monocacy Park in the city.
Not a lot of people know that in the earlier days of the 20th century, the city was actually a popular destination and home of American soccer. In fact, a corporate team was established, which was then called as the Bethlehem Steel team. The same team won the championship in the National Association Football League back in the 1918-1919 seasons. The team also won three more national championships for the following decade, specifically in 1921, 1927, and 1929. But since soccer was still a relatively new sport at that time, the Bethlehem Steel was mainly composed of British imported players. What’s amazing though is that they carry the distinction as the very first American professional soccer team in history to have played in Europe. The last major accomplishment of the team was winning the National Challenge Cup.
Hosting Local Sporting Events
But the most important sports venue in the city is the Stabler Arena, found inside Lehigh University. It is the same place where the city depends on when it comes to hosting local sporting as well as other events, the most common of which are athletic and musical gatherings. Aside from the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks, the arena is likewise home to the collegiate basketball program of Lehigh University.
High School Sports
Finally, there are several high schools within the bounds of Central Bethlehem that actively participate in sports, particularly for the Lehigh Valley Conference. These schools are Freedom High School, Liberty High School, and Bethlehem Catholic High School.