PBS39 to Debut ‘Forged in Steel: The Roots of American Soccer’ Documentary

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This 30-minute special, chronicling the history of Bethlehem City Football Club, will premiere at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 9.

Bethlehem, PA. – July 5, 2019 – PBS39 will debut Forged in Steel: The Roots of American Soccer at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 9, 2019. This 30-minute documentary chronicles the history of America’s first soccer dynasty, Bethlehem Steel FC. This special reveals the story of the team through the eyes of historians, soccer enthusiasts and super fans.

“The Lehigh Valley is rich in history,” Tim Fallon, Chief Executive Officer at PBS39 said. “Reminders of Bethlehem Steel are all around us, but the impact the company had on soccer in the United States often goes unnoticed. We are proud to share this fascinating history with our viewers.”

The original Bethlehem Steel FC was one of the most dominant teams in the history of the sport. This “super team” acted as a catalyst to establish soccer as a major sport in America. Some historians credit Bethlehem Steel FC with saving the sport in the United States after the Great Depression. Players were originally ordinary steel workers, but when Bethlehem Steel made the commitment to have a company team, they sought out the top players from around the world and hired them to work at the plant. Now, almost 100 years later, the Lehigh Valley has become a hub for fans of the sport.

“The excitement surrounding the Women’s World Cup is proof the Lehigh Valley is craving this type of content,” Yoni Greenbaum, Chief Content Officer at PBS39 said. “It is time to share the significant role our area continues to play in the soccer world.”

PBS39 photojournalist Dan Ray spearheaded this project with contributions from Stefan Fulton as well as the station’s leadership and production teams. Historical images were provided by Larry Sheridan, son of the original coach of Bethlehem Steel’s soccer team. The documentary will also feature interviews with the current Bethlehem Steel FC team, Philadelphia Union MLS and organizers of SoccerFest at the ArtsQuest Center on the SteelStacks campus.

Forged in Steel: The Roots of American Soccer will premiere at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 9. The special will re-air at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 13 and again at 7:30 p.m. on August 6. The documentary will also be posted in its entirety on PBS39.org/Soccer. Visit PBS39’s program guide to find the correct channel number for your over-the-air, cable or satellite provider.

About PBS39
PBS39 acts as the catalyst to promote civic engagement, and to fulfill the regional needs of the Greater Lehigh Valley through its dynamic communication platforms and resources. PBS39 Reporter Corps TM journalists are embedded in the ten counties that make up the Greater Lehigh Valley. The PBS39 Reporter Corps TM creates community-focused content for PBS39 News Tonight and for the PBS39 digital platform. PBS39 and the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley are partnering to fund and fulfill the regional literacy initiative Lehigh Valley Reads. This campaign is working to ensure all Lehigh Valley students read on grade level by the end of third grade by 2025. PBS39, part of Greater Lehigh Valley Public Media, is a community-owned public media station serving eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. PBS39 is licensed in Allentown to the Lehigh Valley Public Telecommunications Corporation. For more information, visit PBS39.org.


Information provided to TVL by:
Nicole Harrell
Public Relations/Promotions Manager, PBS39