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

Sunday, September 30, 2012


In 1968 Green White made history by having their first ever "Player of the Year". That honor went to John Woolfe. At the Sport, Radio and Press Ball he was given the trophy by the former coach of the German National Team, Sepp Herrberger himself.

This was the write up about John in the 1968 "Gruen Weiss Vor" newsletter...

John was born in Manchester, England, a famous soccer town. In fact, as John tells us, the soccer team Manchester United was in the top of the first division. John went to high school at Mt. Carmel and later St. Gregory's College, where he majored in math. Right now he works for material control at Motorola.

John has been playing soccer since he was "knee-high to a grasshopper," about the age of two or three. He played in the Northeast of England vs. West game, which was a testing for the Olympics.

In March of 1965, John came to America. One day he read in the newspaper that a soccer team by the name of Green White was playing against the Lions. He called George Kaempf, who told him to come out and see the game. John liked the guys, found a regular schedule, and signed up.

When asked if it sometimes feel strange that everyone around him is speaking German he said: "No, soccer is the same all over the world. I understand all the dialogue in a soccer game. Anyway, some people speak English to me, and although I know a couple of German words, I wish I could speak it better."

His favorite soccer players are Adolf and Florian Bachmeier from the Kickers, and Ed Murphy of the Mustangs, whom he really learned a lot from during an indoor game.

Among some of John's favorite activities are skiing and tennis. He belongs to a ski club at work, which takes up a great deal of his time. But, of course, his favorite sport is soccer, which we all approve of. We hope he sticks to it!

Naturally, John will stay with Green White.

1968 marked the first season that Green White did not participate in any indoor games, because the indoor league folded. But when outdoor season rolled around, the team was tremendously strong. Leo Skorochod pointed out that in addition to the player of the year, and the incredible captain Adam Kaempf, the future looked bright because of young up and comer Rudi Mayer (photo). "We simply have the best players in the league playing for Green White."

The first team played in the finals of the Open Cup against the Olympics, and came up just short--a 2-1 loss. Nick Wirs said after the game: "So close, and yet so far".

Green White avenged that loss in the regular season, beating the Olympics 3-1, but once again they ended the season in second place, one point behind Schwaben. Adam Wambach spoke for the fans when he said: "We have been a bridesmaid much too often, let's be a bride for a change!"

Manager Horst Melcher promised a championship for the next season.

Green White youth

There were so many kids that wanted to play for Green White, a "B" team was added to the youth side. Alex Gyurko volunteered to take that team, called the Midgets. They traveled to Springfield and won 1-0.

The older boys team was incredible. One of the stars on that team was a goalkeeper named Hartmut Ritter. He played tremendously well, leading the team to 5-1 win over Schwaben in the opener. But that was just the start. It was a season of complete and total domination, which featured wins with scores like 12-1 and 17-0. In a game against Tabor, Green White won 16-0, and Hansi Mayer scored six goals. He added another three in the 10-0 win against Hansa. At the end of the season their goal differential stood at 63:5, and they were the champions of the league.

The Junior team (the oldest youth team) was also very strong. The goalkeeper for the Juniors, Mike Winter, was even chosen for the U.S. Junior National team.

Green White Off the Field

The social calender for 1968 was jam-packed once again: Ski trips to Rib mountain (in January—which included a rowdy all-night birthday celebration for Joe Laxgang, and a broken foot for Helen Wambach) and Alpine Valley (in February) and Michigan (in March), another table tennis tournament (in February, in which Green White kicked the Kickers butt), another Dating Game night (March), and even a trip to Canada over Labor Day weekend.

Hans Bittenbinder was the president in 1968, but nobody wanted to be the treasurer. After much debate, Eckhard Kaempfer finally agreed to take the position, and Wilhelm Franz took over Kaempfer’s secretary position. In the fall, Marianne Oswald was named Miss Green White.

The Women's Club was led by president Stella Polaretzki (and fellow board members Hilde Kaempfer, Joanna Kraemer, Hedi Klaus and Helen Hertl). Their big event of the year was a beach party at Montrose Beach, followed by an indoor beach party at the Green White Clubhouse.

While the club did manage to have it's share of fun, they were all too aware that a war was going on in Vietnam. Guenther Lepprich came back safe and sound, and reported: “I was plenty scared and lucky.” Pfc Dittmar Dittrich was still serving there, and Green White player Nick Wirs was drafted, and shipped off as well. He corresponded with the club while he was there.

GW Babies

*Moni Zimmer (photo)

*David Kaempf

*Gabrielle Kelm

*Anita Ruterschmidt

*Karin Naumann

*Walter Melcher

*Steven Schwarz

In Pop Culture

~"Hey Jude" by the Beatles was the #1 song for 9 weeks, and the biggest hit of the entire decade.

~The best picture at the Academy Awards went to "Oliver!"

~The highest rated show on television was "Laugh In"

Elsewhere in Chicago

~In April, Chicagoans on the west side rioted after Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis. Chicago was not alone. There were riots in Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, Kansas City, Newark, Washington, D.C., and many others. Across the country 46 deaths were blamed on the riots.

~In June, after winning the California primary, Robert Kennedy said "On to Chicago". Those were his last public words. He was assassinated moments later.

~In August, Mayor Richard Daley opened the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. On that Monday night demonstrations were widespread. On Wednesday night, the police beat some marchers unconscious and sent at least 100 to emergency rooms while arresting 175. Mayor Daley famously explained: "The policeman isn't there to create disorder, the policeman is there to preserve disorder."

Next month: 1969

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.