L to R: Werner Fricker Jr. (SEPA Class of 2008), Dave Jones (SEPA Class of 2021), Steve Paul (SEPA Class of 2015), Christina Paul, Lisa Fricker, Jeff Maierhofer (SEPA Class of 2009), Janet Malofiy (President), Sasha Malofiy, & Marlene Fricker.
On October 9 while our dancers were performing in Bethlehem, and our HK band was performing in Fishtown, there was a third group of our club attending the SEPA Hall of Fame Banquet, at the Cannstatter.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Soccer Hall of Fame is an organization “Dedicated to Honoring the Past and Building the Future.” Originally founded as the “Philadelphia Old Timers Soccer Association,” they annually honor players, coaches, referees, and administrators. There are approximately five hundred men and women who have been inducted into their Hall of Fame. Among these inductees there are approximately sixty individuals who have played, coached, refereed, or managed soccer programs at the German Hungarians or have been members of the United German Hungarians.
This annual banquet is great time where present day as well as former members of the Philadelphia area soccer community come together in the form of a reunion to not only honor each other but to spend quality time together. Many old “war stories,” go around and it is just wonderful to spend time together with all these greats in one place at one time.
Like many other activities, the 2020 event had to be postponed. Almost every year since the Hall has existed, a “German Hungarian,” has been honored, and this year was no different. The 2021 Class of the SEPA Hall of Fame included Dave Jones. Dave played most of his adult amateur career at our club. He was a member of several championship teams through the 1990s including the team which played in the 1993 US Open Cup final. Dave went on after his playing career to make major contributions to the game at the youth level and continues to do so today. Like all our inductees, we are very proud of Dave. He is a true sportsman and always speaks about his time at our club with pride. He thanked many others that helped him along the way to become a better player and a better soccer man!
Other inductees into the Hall of fame this year included, Joe Bradley (posthumously), Ray Carbone, Jim Coleman, Sinead Farrelly, Sam Holt, Glen Jaskelewicz, Jess Mannella, and Vince Kelly who was a member of our championship teams in the late 1970s. Kelly was including on our team which was the finalist in the US Amateur and US Open Cup in 1977.
Each year SEPA also honors individuals with several special awards and this year our own Jeff Maierhofer was awarded the Service to Soccer Award. Jeff also had a great adult amateur career at our club and continues to support everything we do in soccer and culture. Jeff dedicates much of his time to developing and supporting the game in Eastern Pennsylvania at the youth, amateur adult, Recreational and professional level.
The Banquet last Saturday was a fun time. I personally really enjoy these events. As always, we from U.G.H. enjoy being together, but to see so many other familiar super soccer folks at one time is just fantastic. There are so many special memories here, from the real old days, to the soccer days of my father’s generation, to my time and the present day. Southeastern Pennsylvania has such a great past, without a doubt we have a promising future. I’m just as proud that my club, the German Hungarians, have played such a huge role in all of this and continue to do so today. This game has been so good to many of us. What we have learned by being a part of the game, the positive experiences and most importantly the lasting friendships we have made through our involvement in the game are unbelievable. I have always believed we cannot work enough to give back to the game, and I know our 2021 honorees would agree with me.
Next year on May 14 the SEPA Hall of Fame will celebrate its 75th Anniversary and in addition to honoring a new class of Hall of Famers, they will be dedicating the evening to honor all 496 members of the Hall of Fame. The United German Hungarians will be supporting that event and we will bring you more information as it becomes available.
You can find more information about the SEPA Hall of fame at sepasoccerhall.com
Werner Fricker Jr.
Featured photo courtesy of Janet Malofiy