Hey Bethlehem, Let’s Start a Soccer Beef

Robby Brumberg

Hey, Bethlehem: Let’s start a soccer beef

Bless your hearts, Bethlehem.

Just FYI, that’s what Southern folk say right before they’re about to launch a polite but scathing broadside at you—or, in this case, ignite a sizzling mid-tier soccer beef.

You think we’re gonna take it easy on you, just because you’re named after the birthplace of our dear sweet baby Lord and Savior? Nah, man. Let’s get this USL feud cookin’:

Beef point No. 1, steel

Credit: Birmingham Legion FC

I see that you call yourselves the “Steel City.” This is awkward, but, uh <Forest Gump kid on bus voice> name’s taken. 

Birmingham is STEEL CITY, USA. Do you even smelt, bro? 

We have an active iron ore strip mining operation in our backyard (don’t tell the HOA, please). My kids eat small amounts of steel for breakfast. 

We the real deal steel superstars. Word is that Hugh Jackman—who’s actually from Opp, Alabama—made the 2011 sport drama “Real Steel” as a tribute to his home state. Everybody knows he’s just clownin’ with that Australian accent.

But seriously, Bethlehem: Don’t step to our steel supremacy; we’ll put all your furnaces on blast. 

Beef point No. 2, soccer

I think we have only like six guys on the team right now, and we haven’t released our home jersey yet, but best believe that our squadron will be ready for you next weekend. 

We’re gonna take you out to the woodshed behind Dwight Schrute’s beet farm. Our boys are gonna go RUMSPRINGA all over that ass for 90 minutes—and possibly for an additional handful of minutes after that, depending on how much time your players spend feigning injury throughout the fixture. 

You might be thinking: “What do these Alabama boys know about soccer? Don’t they just do FOOTBAWL, Civil War re-enactments, meth and armadillo hunting?” 

We might be a bit late to the party for most things, but we are here for the soccer. We know all about “cynical challenges,” “howlers,” “hitting the woodwork” and “squeaky bum time.” We’ve been busy Googlin’ all sorts of things about the beautiful game. 

If you could just explain the offsides rule one more time before our match, that would be great.

Beef, but maybe buds?

A Squonk: Someone from PA – please explain… please!

Obviously, we have our problems here in the South. But you’re not perfect, are you Pennsylvania? Sure, you are the birthplace of Hershey’s Kisses and Dan Marino, but you face serious challenges as well. I know from the TV about that Lebanon Levi fella and his gang of Amish youths terrorizing your community. We’ve all heard about the menacing Squonks that lurk in your forests.

Perhaps we’re not so different? Maybe we’re more suited for brotherhood than beef? 

I tell you what: For our first match, we’ll bring a bunch of XX-marked jugs filled with potent grain alcohol. You can bring your jarred preserves or whatever. We’ll bond over soccer, talk about steel, exchange rocking chair best practices, and a friendly rivalry will be born. Or, perhaps, a bitter feud lasting centuries will be sparked. 

Either way, it’ll be fun. We’ll see y’all next weekend.

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