We have crossed many milestones some broad and others more specific. Noting a passage of time and celebrating an anniversary can become commonplace.
Does doing something for a long time make it matter more?
What was golden about 50 Years of Sport and Soccer in 1972? Was 1997’s 75 Years of Soccer comparable at all to the rarity of a diamond?
Before 1922, soccer for the German Hungarians was played for kicks at club picnics. Immigrants who found a home at our club brought the love of the sport with them and introduced it to a new generation. The first organized team in 1922 played exhibition matches only until the fall of 1923 when they entered the Allied League.
From this start no one could have known that this club would still be invested in the game 100 years later. For many years, the German Hungarians have been known across the whole nation by soccer men and soccer women as a strong and storied amateur soccer club. So too, we are known as soccer folk by our friends in cultural communities; locally amongst the German-American clubs of Philadelphia and Vicinity, in all of North America by Schuhplattler and Trachten Vereine of the Gauverband, and by our Liewi Landsleit in the clubs of the Landesverband der Donauschwaben.
And we are known internationally as well. A story we like to tell was told to us by Juergen Schumann who played for us in the 1970s. A German who later in life returned to Europe, once said “I tell people all over. I played for the greatest soccer club in the world, the German Hungarians in Philadelphia, PA.”
Read the history from 50 and 75 years. Many things will become evident but none more than the sheer number of individuals who have contributed to our club’s dedication to soccer. Playing 100 seasons of soccer requires much more than time. What made 1972 golden and 1997 shine like a diamond were our players, our coaches, our referees, our administrators, managers, chairmen, our presidents, and the many member-fans who have cheered us on.
Now, today, we celebrate 100 Years of Soccer for those same reasons. We reflect with thanks to the many people that got us here. We also recognize our players today that carry on the traditions on the field with our leaders that guide them.
Steve Paul and Michelle McFadden restarted, built, and still maintain our Women’s team when it would have been easier to throw in the towel. Without them there would not be a 2016 United League Women’s Championship, a 2017 Women’s State Cup Championship, nor a 2019 State Indoor Cup finalist. Without this great father-daughter German-Hungarian team there is no modern women’s soccer at our club. On top of that Michelle serves the United Soccer League of Pennsylvania (USLPA) as General Secretary, and Financial Secretary. Steve also serves as Treasurer of the League.
Jason Karasow is an example of the kind of player the German Hungarians hope to always find. His story in our club starts as a youth player and can be traced to reserve team and eventually full time in Major Division. He has served as Captain of the team, and now today, Head Coach. Once in a while when he’s needed, we still see his name appear on a roster. He’s a supporter of our dance group, writes article recaps of the men’s seasons, and is the unofficial soccer alumni liaison. In his communications with the players on our first team, Jay consistently reminds them what playing for a club means and can mean when a team comes together.
Werner Fricker III likes to say that in 2007 he was recruited to assist the Major team because they “needed someone to do paperwork.” Sixteen years later he’s done leaps and bounds more than that. Our true General Manager, Werner knows more about managing an amateur team than anyone in our area. From paperwork, to uniforms, travel, fees, match rules, and field scheduling he is our foremost authority. He works closely with Jay weekly to get our players on the field looking the best and ready to play. Together they are a team that along with a great talented pool have shown recent success. On top of that Werner is the President and the Games Commissioner of the USLPA.
These great examples we have today of cooperation in organizing our club in sport will hopefully be of use to our next generations that will take up the cause. As a club we no longer have soccer teams because our existing members wish to play (We do have some that do but they will always need to be bolstered by new players). We continue with soccer today because it is an essential part of our club traditions. We continue because we provide a place for athletes to play, for them and their families to belong. We continue because our teams represent us and give our members something to be fans of. Our members have a unique opportunity as fans. Other sports fans who cheer for the Eagles, or the Union, or Barcelona may say “we won,” or “we lost” when teams like this play. The difference is, when our members say it about our teams, it really is true. Each time one of our teams’ steps on the field there’s a whole group of members that contributed to them being able to do so.
Doing something for a long time doesn’t itself make it matter. Learning from mistakes and successes, bringing more of us into the fold and pushing ourselves further than those that came before is what makes it matter.
Michael N. Fricker
The featured image from our archives shows the 1954 Second Division German Hungarians that played in the Philadelphia League. Werner Fricker Jr. shared with me that this group claimed to have had “no fans” and the 11th man was tasked with snapping this quick photo. In the German Hungarians each of us has a role to play.
SAVE THE DATE:
March 10, 2023 – 7-11pm
The Waterfall Room- 2791 Southampton Road Philadelphia, PA 19154
More Information about the schedule, price, and reservations will be available here.