WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Certain phrases are in use in our club community. They seem to always be floating around my head. (I don’t know if that happens to you or if it’s just my strange mind.) For example when I was organizing the pieces of this article together in my head, the phrase that stuck there was this, “Hundreds of Teams, Thousands of Players.” There is a ring to that and I searched my archives of German-Hungarian and general soccer documents to find its author. To no avail I might add. Most likely I heard another German-Hungarian-for-life say it in one of the countless hours we spend talking about ourselves; our club. (If it is yours let me know.)
In my search I found something similar although, so I’ll transpose it here, with attribution.
“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.” (Werner Fricker, Jr.) This is from the opening of a piece that Fricker wrote entitled “Hallowed Ground” that we ran in the Progress last year. This lengthy introduction aside the meaning of the line is what this is all really about. The German Hungarians as an organization has a history of drawing players, administrators, and coaches alike to our sport community. Where are they now?
It seems to be Hall of Fame season and a number of former GH men have been inducted recently to various Halls both locally and across the nation. Former players Mark Ozoroski, and Rich Reice were inducted to the Bucks County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday April 9th.
Ozoroski started his full-time Majors career in the 1991-92 seasons and he played in the televised 1993 US Open Cup Final for the German Hungarians in Indianapolis. Werner Fricker, Jr., Major Team Manager from 1988 to 1999 said, “He was known to be a very good player coming out of the midfield often to create and score goals.”
The Reice family including Richie all played youth and adult soccer at the club. Richie was a really good player and went on to play with the Fury in the NASL.
On March 24th Tony Rod was inducted into the North Catholic Soccer Hall of Fame class of 2013. Tony played continuously for the German Hungarians from the early 2000s until just recently.
The South Eastern Pennsylvania Soccer Hall of Fame, formerly the Philadelphia Oldtimers Soccer Association holds the slogan “Honoring the past, Building the Future.” Dating back to 1947 there is an extensive list of inductees that have been honored over the years. Glancing over this list you will find over 60 inducted have ties to our club in some way. This year one more will be added. On May 11th at the annual banquet at the Cannstatter the 66th class will be honored. Joe “Rock” Rudy is among the names listed.
Rudy joined the club in 1987 when the re-building of the major team was being taken very seriously by a group of administrators seeking new younger players that could connect with the past traditions and success. The 75th Anniversary of Soccer Souvenir Book reads, “Joe Rudy contributed greatly to the club’s success. Joe gave the best years of his adult career to the German Hungarians.”
Fricker spoke to Rudy’s strength as a player, “he was a strong and disciplined player who could read any situation, it was difficult to knock him off his game, he would be dangerous on the attack and disciplined on defensive man marking.”
It has just been announced the Peter Vermes has been inducted into the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame on the Veteran Ballot. He played for the club in the 1987 season. Vermes, after his return to Rutgers University, became a full time member of the US National Team, and was a member of the US World Cup Team. In 1988 he was named US Soccer Federation Player of the year. Vermes is currently the Head Coach of the MLS team Sporting Kansas City.
Vermes when talking about Philadelphia native Bobby Convey playing in the MLS for Kansas City, told Philly.com in January of 2012 about the dedication to soccer in the Philadelphia area. “I know that mentality. I played in Philly for a number of years with the United German-Hungarians. Just knowing that mentality there, I think it’s good, and I think it’s good to bring it into our team here.”
Vermes is the fourth Man with ties to our club to be inducted to the National Hall of Fame behind, Walter Bahr, Alex Ely, Werner Fricker, and Emil Schillinger. He told Soccer by Ives, “Soccer is the consummate team sport and being inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame is certainly indicative of that. It is humbling and a great honor”
Michael N. Fricker