The Hallowed Ground We Play on by Werner Fricker Jr.

Soccer is, has been, and always will be a part of my life as it is an integral part of the Club. Just sit back and think of the people that played and trained here on our grounds. Thousands played and trained here, all with a passion for the game. Some were great players, some good players, some simply because they wanted to belong. Some only played to be here on our ground with the other guys.  

A dedicated group of friends and “super fans” come out to watch the Major Team on Sunday Fundays. I attend regularly. It does make for a good time together with friends, having a beer and watching the game, it just makes a perfect day.  

I don’t really recall my first visit to Sunday Funday. I was in a baby stroller in the spring of 1961. I came to watch my Dad play on the hallowed ground I spoke of earlier. I also do not recall the result of the Game or who the opponent was but I am sure we won that game.  

This trek to the club every Sunday was something really special. There were always kids in strollers. Once you were out of the stroller you had free run of the clubhouse and the property, and sometimes the neighbor’s. Most of the boys claim they watched all these great teams play, but I can tell you that while the games were on there was a lot of mischief going on all over the grounds and the neighborhood. Our Moms were in charge back then (Dad’s were on the field or at the Bar) 

And we all got asked such questions such as- did any of you see the donkey? who smashed the rock on so and so‘s head, or who smeared cinders all over so and so‘s car, or who threw so and so‘s, glasses into the —-?? 

To this day no one has admitted to that last one!  

Halftime shows were the greatest. Fans, mostly grown men in suits/ties, sometimes in long winter overcoats would take to the field. All of these guys it seemed played soccer at sometime in their life. There were shots taken on the goal, some great goals and some great saves, crosses from near the corner and some great head shots on goal. The crowd would go wild and enjoyed these antics as much as the real game.  

When you got to the club on Sunday there was an aroma of German Hungarian comfort food. It was noticeable from the entrance to the grounds, it was noticeable in clubhouse. It was not noticed in the dressing rooms. Those of us who had a Dad on the team were permitted in the Dressing Room. Down there, was a smell of high velocity muscle and joint compound grease. We would get in the way down there sometimes which resulted in a lot of yelling by someone and being told nicely that we had to get out.  Back to the comfort food, I liked the hot roast beef, but there was always special schwowe items, always brotwurst (they now call that UGH Wurst), and the fried chicken and string beans were awesome.  OH, and the Bar room, well let’s just say, this room is as special as the grounds we play on.  

As we got older we did watch more games, I believed My Dad played for the greatest soccer club in the world, and I think most of the kids thought the same of the club. We all wanted to play here as well. Most of us became players in the Club’s Junior program. Back then we only owned one field and we played almost all our home games on a public field off the boulevard. We maybe got a chance to play on the great field once a year at Mayfest or Kirchweih. Late on Sundays we played in some of the most intense soccer matches ever to be held. These matches were held indoors in our own indoor facility. This facility was usually referred to by most club members as the Dance Floor. The ball was usually a pair of socks wrapped tightly. Sometimes a real ball was substituted and then again after some yelling by someone we were told to stop.  

There were Sunday Fundays at other club’s as well when our Teams played there. We got chased out of the upstairs at the Bayern where the Donuaschwaben played, we got chased out of the pool area at Erzgebirge, and we got into all kinds of mischief by the train tracks and the mountain behind the Phoenix club. The trips to South Philly, West Philly, Norristown and Reading were really exciting. 

As we became real players we traveled ourselves to other places to play. It was understood though, Sunday you returned to the Club. Since our founding we have developed many players, coaches, referees, administrators and fans. We have also had many seasoned soccer people join our fine club. In the 1970’s Jurgen Schumann joined our Club and our Major Team. Jurgen spent most of his adult amateur career playing with our club, before returning to Germany. A few years ago on a visit, I introduced Jurgen to my sons. He told them of the wonderful times he had at our club.  

Jurgen then told us, “ I tell my friends and people I meet in Germany and Europe, I played with the Greatest Soccer Club in the World, The United German Hungarians in Philadelphia”.  

Soccer Sunday Funday is special.  

I look forward to the next Game! 

By Werner Fricker Jr.   

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