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

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


In many ways, 1972 was one of the best years in Green White history.

It all began with the first team. In his debut season as the First Team coach, Stefan Zimmer molded the team into a successful unit immediately. With a good mix of young players (like Captain Rudi Mayer, his brother Hans, Hans Marx, and Peter Mathes) and long-time stalwarts (like Joe Laxgang and Nick Willer), Green White dominated the First Division of the NSL and were promoted once again to the Major Division. Then, in the fall of 1972, Green White was named the team of the year at the annual Sport, Radio & Press ball.

In addition to the team honors, some of the individual players were honored as well. Peter Mathes was named one of the top five players in the league (4th place), and Rudi Mayer was named the player of the year (the Sepp Herberger award). He was personally handed the trophy by Sepp Herberger himself. The former German National Team coach (1954 World Cup Champion) brought along his former superstar player Uwe Seeler (the star of that team).

The two German soccer legends also wanted to personally witness some of their former countrymen play the game here in America, and as part of their tour of German soccer in Chicago, they came by the Green White fields at Welles Park on Montrose and Lincoln the next day.

It's hard to overstate how momentous this occasion was to the German soccer loving members of Green White. Klaus Killian was there, and explains just how big of a deal this was...

"I met Sepp Herberger when he came here. I had my picture taken with him (left). And I met Uwe Seeler, and got my picture taken with him too. They were really nice people—such down to earth guys. Herberger was like a father figure to all of us. What a thrill it was to meet him.”

At the time, nine out of ten Chicagoans would have walked right past Sepp Herberger, despite his worldwide fame. The unassuming kindly old man came from a part of the sporting world that most of America hadn't yet embraced. Sepp Herberger became an important part of spreading the word. The Sepp Herberger Committee that sponsored the Sport, Radio & Press ball every year as a fundraiser, donated thousands of dollars to promote youth soccer in Chicago. By 1972, that total was already more than $20,000.

Green White Youth

The Green White youth program was flourishing in 1972. All of the teams performed well, but the Midgets A team (yes, they really called them that) had a particularly great year. The entire team was recognized for their first place finish at the Green White Anniversary party, and one boy in particular was singled out. His name was Frankie Schmaltz (The German newspaper "Eintracht" was on hand to chronicle his big night and publish this photo). Frank's name would be a Green White mainstay for many more years.

(Green White also chose a Miss Green White--her name was Monika Schmidt, and she was a senior at Jones Commercial High School)

Green White Babies

*The Gyurko family had twin boys, Peter & Mark. Of course they would eventually wear the Green & White colors. The Schlenhardts also welcomed a son and future Green White player, Mike.

*Fellow future Green White players Chris Salatino, Tom Czop, and Erik Bender were also born in 1972.

Elsewhere in Soccer

*The European Cup was held in Belgium in 1972, and the host nation made it to the final four, but they ran into the West German juggernaut and lost 2-1. The West German team led by Franz Beckenbauer went on to beat the Soviet Union and claim the 1972 European Championship. Gerd Mueller scored twice in that final game.

In Pop Culture

~The number one hit of the year was "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" by Roberta Flack.

~The Best Picture of 1972 was "The Sting" . (The Oscar was awarded in 1973)

~The Top Rated Television show was All in the Family

Elsewhere in 1972

~Alabama Governor and presidential candidate George Wallace was shot at a political rally in Maryland.

~President Nixon had a great year. He went to China on a historic trip, and he won re-election by the biggest landslide in American history. On the other hand, five men were apprehended by police in an attempt to bug Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C.’s Watergate complex. That was the start of the Watergate scandal.

~Two trains colided in Chicago, causing the worst commuter train crash in city history. 45 people died and 332 were injured.

~The 1972 Summer Olympics were held in Munich. Mark Spitz won seven gold medals, but these games will always be remembered for something else. The tragic murder of the Israeli athletes by Arab terrorists.

Coming next month: 1973

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.

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