Where do I begin?
We talk often about “Heart.” Sometimes we use a variation of the same idea and we say he or she “Gets It.”
Gerhard Mengel told me over the weekend that in 1958 he came to the USA and went to a few trainings and practices with the local soccer clubs in Detroit area. He said that when he came to the Kickers he didn’t see skill in their team but he saw “heart.” Mengel put his hands to his chest to show how big the club’s heart was. (Of course anyone that knows Gerhard won’t be surprised that he said he went on to build skill into what they already had in their hearts)
We see that “heart,” we talk about today not just in Carpathia Kickers but in many clubs in the Donauschwaben Verband. As German-Americans we are never satisfied, but in our “heart,” as a pantheon of soccer clubs lies our greatest potential.
The U.S. National Donauschwaben Tournament and the amateur soccer clubs that are a part of it are great. It can all be better.
We have history, tradition, we play soccer. We have to commit to not just settle. We cannot become satisfied. Clubs need to hold each other accountable. Clubs need to compete and push each other forward. Challenge one another to take the potential in our “heart,” and run towards the goal with it.
Our tournament is our gathering place. It is a wonderful who’s who of Schwobs and soccer while still being equal parts battleground and comradeship.
We need to extend our activity and our heart into a year-long turnout of sport.
“We’ve worked hard for this. As long as we have a tournament we have a future,” – Mike Talan, Landessportleiter
We have the tools.
We have the heart.
We have the potential to be greater with every tournament, with every match, every pass, play, goal, or save than we ever have before.
How often one stares at old-time soccer team photos will dictate whether one knows about the man in the trench coat. This is meant to be an observation “Hey didja ever notice…” as much as it is informative. I have drawn mostly from clubs locally as I happen to have easy access to their images. All the same, look at the gallery to get an understanding for the tall, stoic, and ubiquitous men wearing the trench coats of Harry Fleming.
Bethlehem Steel has become so well known in American Soccer for a club that no longer exists. Still this shot is interesting as it was from a tour the club did of Scandinavia. Notice the gentleman on the right clad in his coat and sporting a cane with his crooked smile.
The German Hungarians first boys team was started on February 5, 1939. Its founder and my personal hero was Ted Kereczmann. He is pictured at the right in his coat. Pictures like this were often labeled “Ted and his Boys.”
In 1960 the German Hungarians won the Arthur “EDU” Locher Cup in the USLPA. Here, later Danubia legend Eric Pohl appears six buttoned in his coat.
The 1954 Reading Americans were champions of the Philadelphia Soccer League. Werner Kraheck (standing far left) would go on to help found the United Soccer League in 1959. Here he is joined by a lanky fellow in a trench coat at the far right.
Between 1961 and 1966 the German Hungarians won every Championship of the United Soccer League. Players like Bill Wilkinson (kneeling far right), Peter Piskei (kneeling far left), and Karl Heinz Guckert (standing second from right) were on the field essentials in those years. The brains of the operation were Jack Dunn (standing second from left), and Werner Fricker (standing fourth from left) but always at their side was Manager Henry Birkenheurer with his trusty Executive Beltless Trench Coat.
The Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals won the 1960, 1961, 1963 & 1966 US Open Cups. The 1963 team had the likes of Alex Ely (standing first on the left) and Walt Chyzowych (kneeling fourth from the left). Coach and Manager Vistyslav Glisovic appears here with his trench coat and shades, hands nonchalantly in his pockets, calm and confident.
In 1965 the German Hungarians won the US Amateur Cup on their field in Oakford. Here is the 1966 team pictured with the cup on that field. You can see the clubhouse in the background and on the far right is player-coach Jack Dunn. Look at that he’s wearing a trench.
Dalarda Hungarians were a club from Northeast Philadelphia that competed in the United Soccer League for a number of years. Their needs obviously required two coats.
Friends and readers the point here is not to make light of these clubs and these men about their fashion. The point is to make note of a different time. One where the staff wore suits, ties and jackets. They looked respectable and business like sweatpants were nowhere to be seen. The ubiquitous man in the trench coat is a symbol of that time. Therefore I salute him.