The initial National Challenge Cup competition had been favorably received across the country. As a result, when invitations went out this year, 82 teams accepted, almost double the number from last year. All regions of the country outside of California and St. Louis were represented (St. Louis would take part starting in 1918, and California soon after). Many familiar teams made good runs this year. In the fourth round, Brooklyn Celtic, last years runner-up, defeated German F. C. of New York 4-2, and Bethlehem Steel, the defending American Cup champions defeated the Kearney Scots 3-0. Out in western Pennsylvania, Homestead S. W. F. C. defeated Peel Cup holders Pullman F. C. of Chicago 2-1, and in New England, J&P Coats of Pawtucket, RI
defeated Fore River of Quincy, MA 1-0.
Bethlehem Steel hosted the western semi-final, and Lehigh University graciously made their football stadium available. A large crowd turned out to support the steel men as they made quick work of Homestead 4-1. The Eastern final was moved to New Bedford, MA, where Brooklyn Celtic defeated J&P Coats 2-1, keeping alive the Celtics’ hope of avenging last year’s loss. But it was not to be.
Before 7,500 fans at Taylor Field, Lehigh University on May 1, 1915, Bethlehem Steel took command from the start and went on to a 3-1 victory to claim their first national championship. Ford scored first for Bethlehem off a great cross. Tommy Fleming nearly scored the second a short time later, but Mather made a great save to keep the score at 1-0. After a couple more great shots (and saves), Bethlehem went up by 2 when Bob Millar took a cross shot from Ford, tripped, got up, and drove hard, beating the goalkeeper. Bethlehem outshot Brooklyn 24-8 in that first half, and Duncan only had to make one serious save for the steelworkers.
In the second half, Ford banked in a cross from Millar and Fleming, but it was not allowed. The two then clashed in a close match with numerous corner kicks going for naught. Finally, Fleming had his chance when his driving corner kick was handled by an opponent, and Tommy made good on the penalty kick. At this point, the Celtics had their best run of the day, taking the ball to scoring range and hitting the post, following up with a couple more near misses. Finally, McQueen took a pass from O’Halloran who had drawn Campbell away, and worked his way behind the two fullbacks, and beat Duncan with a low hard shot and found the corner of the net. But it was too little, too late. The Celts fought bravely and fiercely but did not find the net again, and Bethlehem Steel got a 3-1 victory and the National Challenge Cup.