The same as the rest of Pennsylvania, Bethlehem is a city that’s crazy in sports. It is home to remarkable sporting venues and equally amazing sports teams. While there is no professional team for major sports that considers Bethlehem as “home,” the people’s passion for different sporting disciplines can never be denied.
Although there is no NFL team from Bethlehem, there’s a semi-professional football team that is well-loved by its residents. They call themselves as the Lehigh Valley Storm. The city is also the home of the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks. Playing at Stabler Arena since 2011, it is a Professional Indoor Football League team.
But the city has a brief taste of professional football from 1996 up to 2012, when the Philadelphia Eagles conducted their preseason training camps in the city during the summer. They utilized the football facilities of Lehigh University.
Notable Sporting Venues: Stabler Arena
No doubt the most popular sporting venue in the city is the Stabler Arena inside Lehigh University. It is a consistent and regular host of different athletic events as well as musical gatherings. Aside from the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks, Stabler Arena is also the home of the Lehigh University collegiate basketball team.
High School Sports
The Lehigh Valley Conference is where the Bethlehem-area high schools like Freedom High School, Liberty High School, and Bethlehem Catholic High School all compete in athletics. Most schools also have their respective programs in different sporting disciplines with varsity teams and in individual sports.
A Bit of History
It is also worthy of mentioning that the city of Bethlehem Pennsylvania was once a popular place for American soccer. This was in the earlier part of the 20th century when a professional team called the Bethlehem Steel F.C. won the 1918-1919 championship of the National Association Football League or the NAFL. They won the same title three more times, specifically during the 1920-21 season, 1926-27 season in the American Soccer League I, and the 1928-29 season of the EPSL II. The team during that time was composed of some British imported players. Aside from the championships, the same team holds history as having been the very first American professional soccer team to competitively play in Europe. This happened during its tour of games in Sweden during the 1919 season. Another distinction is the National Challenge Cup title, which it won five times starting in 1915.
Sports in Bethlehem today is thriving, just like most other cities in the state and the whole country. The thing is the city’s educational program happens to be in support of bringing in the culture of sports to students starting from the primary level up to the collegiate levels. As a result, many young residents and students of the city turn out to be exceptional in many sporting disciplines. And it is only a matter of time when the city eventually builds its own professional team playing in a major sports league, be it basketball, baseball, soccer, or football. And with all the facilities within the city, that would be possible sooner than later.