A blog dedicated to chronicling the history of SC Green White, a soccer club founded in Chicago in 1956.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


The year started off with a bang for S.C. Green White. While the front pages of the Chicago Daily News trumpeted the news that Alaska had just been proclaimed the 49th state of the union by President Eisenhower, the weekend magazine section of the paper was about Chicago's ethnic soccer boom.

And which team was featured in that Chicago Daily News Weekend cover picture? A certain German team with Green and White uniforms. (Oh sure, there's also another team in that picture, but let's not get bogged down by those details).

Green White still had it's core of (mainly Donauschwaben) German players, they also added a few other nationalities. Hungarian-American Alex Gyurko played his first game for Green White that season. "That team was so good, I played mostly for the reserves."

Despite the all-German nature of the club, Gyurko (photo) said he always felt like he belonged. "I came from Austria-(Linz-Wells-Salzburg), so I spoke some Austrian German and in those days -the meetings used to be in German. But everybody was very friendly. I was by myself--I had no family or relatives in the state, and they went out of their way to make me feel very comfortable, especially the Metzingers, Martin Schneider, Al Schwartz and family, the Zimmers and many others--the whole board and all the players. I made life long friends."

With a brand new club president at the helm (Paul Wenson), Green White charged into what would become their first year in the top division of both the indoor and outdoor leagues.

Adam Kaempf remembers it well. "When we moved up to the Major Division from the First Division, that was one of the highlights of my soccer playing life. We were new, we didn’t even know each other when we started, and we built that together."

It was a slightly different game at that time, a more offensive-minded attack.

Klaus Kilian explains, "In those days we had a different system. We played two fullbacks, three halfbacks, and five forwards. I played mostly defender.”

Another defensive minded player was Toni Filian. When the opponent was the Slovaks, his assignment was always the same. “He was our Murphy stopper," Kaempf says. "(Slovaks striker and U.S. National Team Member) Eddie Murphy was one of the best players in the league; big tall guy, and Toni was this little guy, but he stopped him cold.”

For other players it didn't go as well. Hans Metzinger broke his leg, all but ending his soccer career with the Green White first team.

But Green White played on. With star players like the Laxgang and Kaempf brothers, and Steve Zimmer, the team was competitive every game. But as the year ended, Green White found itself near the bottom of the standings.

They would have until the fall of 1960 to save their spot in the Major Division.

Elsewhere in Soccer

1959 also marked the beginning of the modern era for collegiate soccer in America. The NCAA staged their first ever Men's Division I Championship tournament. Eight teams participated. Saint Louis University beat Bridgeport 5-2 in Connecticut to win the championship.
(Photo: 1959 Saint Louis Championship team)

Green White Youth

A long time Green White member made his debut for the Juniors in 1959. "That was my first year," Joe Schlenhardt (photo) remembers. "The coach was Hans Bauer. The trainer was Andreas Laxgang.”

But that wasn't the only youth team in 1959. The end of Hans Metzinger's playing career with the first team was also the beginning of his coaching career with Green White youth. In 1959 Green White fielded their first Juvenile team, a younger group of boys--not quite old enough to play for the Juniors.

Green White Social Life

Green White has always been about more than just the soccer.

“We all went to each other’s weddings," Adam Kaempf says. "We were all together all the time.”

One of those weddings took place in 1959. Two prominent Green White families were merged forever on November 14, 1959 when 19 year old Maria Kirschner married 21 year old Stefan Zimmer at St. Alphonsus church (photo). Stefan, of course, was one of the star players of the team. Maria's brother Toni was one of the founding members.

Weddings were in the air. Fellow Green Whiter Nick Willer married his wife Lori on the same day, and in the exact same church, just an hour later.

Many Green White weddings followed the next few years.

“We were all approximately the same age," Hans Bittenbinder reminds us. "We all got married approximately the same time, and we all had kids around the same time, so we naturally had a lot in common.”

Those common bonds would serve them well as Green White began the 1960s.

Green White Babies

*Two future professional soccer players who both grew up playing for Green White were born in 1959: Robert Meschbach and Joe Filian.

Other Green White babies born that year included...

*Christine Metzinger

*Eddie Spaeth


*Inge Schneider

Elsewhere in Chicago

~Hugh Hefner bought a mansion located at 1340 N. State Parkway in 1959 after he divorced his first wife Millie. He dubbed it "The Playboy Mansion". The brass plate hanging over the door said it all: 'If You Don't Swing, Don't Ring.' Lots of people rang. A veritable Who's who of Chicago's hip young society eventually stopped by the mansion. In his book "Kup's Chicago," Irv Kupcinet described the scene as he witnessed it..."There are voluptuous Playboy Bunnies in his office, his reception rooms, his swimming pool, and throughout his lavish North State Parkway mansion. And they are enticing decorations at his Friday night parties, which start at Midnight, and continue until sunup.”

~Just a few blocks away, 1959 was also a big year in the history of improvisational comedy. Second City was founded that year.

~Chicago also welcomed a reigning British monarch for the very first time in 1959. In July, Queen Elizabeth II came to Chicago for the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway. She and Prince Phillip sailed down the new seaway in the Britannia royal yacht.

Coming next month: 1960. Green White plays a dramatic game on the final day of the season to determine it's fate in the Major Divison, the Northwest Expressway opens, a new U.S. president is elected, a football team moves out of town, and the first rock and roll station moves into town.

As always, if you have any thing to add or correct in this month’s installment, please drop me a line at amishrick@yahoo.com. I consider this a group project, and a work in progress, so we can add and subtract until we get it all exactly correct. If you have photos you’d like to contribute, please do.