Saturday, November 30, 2013
By 1982, Green White's home field was no longer Welles Park. Green White had been sharing the field with the Fichte Rams, and now the city was also allowing other teams to play there, so it was crucial that Green White find another place to play. They found some fields in Northbrook, but they knew it was only a temporary arrangement. The fields were being lent to the club for nothing, and it was only a matter of time before they were reclaimed.
Luckily for Green White, that season they had a player on their team named Paul Weaver. His father, Everett Weaver, was a big supporter of Green White, and put his time and money where his heart was. Mr. Weaver (as everyone called him) helped spearhead the search for a new field and a new clubhouse.
Helmut Filian was running the youth program for Green White at the time. "I spent days with Mr. Weaver driving around and scouting locations. We went all over the place; north, south, east and west. He kept finding potential spots for us, but none of them were quite right."
"We had a location on Northwest Highway," Hans Metzinger says. "And another one near Higgins, and another that is now used by United. We even looked at an old airfield. There was a lot of land there, but I said--'Where can we put the fields?'”
Finally they got a big break.
That was no small project. This was a project that would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and would require hundreds and hundreds of man hours of work. Once again, Mr. Weaver came to the rescue.
"We didn't think we could raise that much money," Hans Metzinger recalls, "but Mr. Weaver gave us a check for $80,000. That was a good start. I remember Mr. Mokran gave us a lot of money too."
"Everybody from the club gave whatever they could give," Hildegard Kaempfer remembers. "A lot of us had kids going to college, so we didn't have a lot of money, but we still gave whatever we could."
"We did a big fundraiser at a nearby hotel," Helmut Filian adds, "the biggest one we've ever done. We had a big club at that time, and everyone contributed."
But securing the financing was only part of the process. There was still the challenge of converting the vast rocky ground into playable soccer fields. It turned out to be a bigger challenge than anyone realized.
“The biggest problem with the land was there were lots of stones," Klaus Kilian says. "We spent so much time and effort getting all of those stones out of there.”
Luckily a few of the Green White members had their own businesses, and they enlisted the help of their workers. "Helmut Filian sent his work crews over to help, and so did I," Hans Metzinger recalls. "We excavated the land with 50 men. We had lots of engineers. Horst Melcher, Eckhard Kaempfer, Toni Kirschner, Franz Stadler, they all helped out. Mr. Schmaltz made something to mark the fields with, and he went out there and marked it. Simon Andres, Konrad Meschbach, Helmut Filian, and Stefan Zimmer were the ones that really created those fields and got them ready to go."
“It was horrible at first," adds Helmut Filian. "We seeded it and re-seeded it. We spent a fortune trying to get it playable. The board declared that we were going to have a grand opening, so we really had to work hard to get it done on time. I took two weeks of vacation just to work on it, and so did a lot of the other guys.”
"These two fields closest to the clubhouse weren't even the hardest ones," Metzinger remembers. "We called the field on the hill the potato field because it was about as smooth as a potato and craters and holes all over it."
And if that wasn't enough, the club was still searching for a clubhouse. They almost bought a home nearby, but they kept looking at that little Corp of Engineers office.
"The Army Corp of Engineers was going to tear it down," Kilian says. "It was a mess. They had the whole garage stacked to the ceiling with garbage, and they had a makeshift office here. There was only one bathroom in the middle of the house.”
Again, Mr. Weaver came to the rescue.
"Mr. Weaver found them a better place to go, and convinced them to let us take over this house instead of tearing it down," Hans Metzinger remembers, "but again this was going to cost us a lot of money and effort to improve it. A lot of man hours. Every single worker, every single penny came from Green White.”
"We did it all," Klaus Kilian says. "We tore down walls. We made the kitchen. We dug out the basement. We built the deck. We did it with our own hands. Hans Metzinger was our project manager. He was the superintendent. He led the whole project. We had to do a lot of structural work, because the middle pillars that are in the clubhouse now is where the back wall was…and it was a load-bearing wall."
“Klaus did all the plumbing," Metzinger adds. "Rolf Albrecht did a lot of work. Tony Filian. We poured the concrete. We paid a few of the younger guys to help out. Eddie Speth was there. Stefan Zimmer was there. Polaretzky. Nick Willer and I did the whole deck. Franz Fernbach. You name it, everyone was out there.”
Even the players got in on the action. John Dunkas was on the first team at the time.
"After practice," Dunkas recalls, "they handed us shovels and said start digging."
There was one last touch before the fields could be christened. Once again, Mr. Weaver stepped up with one last grand gesture.
"He donated the lights," Helmut Filian says. "That was his gift to the club."
When the Grand Opening occured, something had changed forever.
"Hans Metzinger donated a construction trailer because I wanted a hot dog stand," Helmut Filian says. "We painted the trailer green and white, and when it was done we had our chuckwagon. When we finished painting it, we put our logo on there. It was the first time we had ever called ourselves ‘Green White Mt. Prospect’ and that’s what we’ve been ever since.”
(Photo: The Green White chuckwagon. Maria Zimmer at the window. Green White Ladies Team members Sonja Melcher, Moni Zimmer, and Miss Green White 1982 Arlen Mayer say hello)
Green White On the Field
Maybe it was because he had been spending so much time working on the fields, but when it was time for the national Donauschwaben Tournament in 1982 (in Cleveland Ohio), Hans Metzinger Sr. laced up his boots and played with the team. The 52 year old entered the game in the second half of an open match against Cleveland Concordia and scored two (2) goals in the 4-2 win, much to the consternation of Mr. Haller, Sr. of the Concordia Club.
The Green White first team had a good season, led by the player of the year, Roberto Arceniega, but once again it was one of the youth teams that was the pride of Green White in 1982.
The U-12 Boys team, led by coach Joe Schlenhardt, won the state championship for the second year in a row, despite losing many of it's star players from the year before to the older team. Peter Kaempfer was the captain of that team. "It was a great team," Pete recalls, "Although it hurts to realize my greatest sporting achievements were behind me by the age of 12 (laughs)"
Elsewhere in Soccer
The 1982 World Cup was held in Spain. The two finalists were Italy and West Germany. The West Germans made it to the final by beating France in one of the most dramatic games in World Cup history. The game went to overtime and in the first few minutes of overtime, the French scored two goals to take a 3-1 lead. The Germans only had 12 minutes to come back, and come back they did. Karl Heinz Rumminigge scored to make it 3-2, and then in the 108th minute Klaus Fisher tied the game with a dramatic bicycle kick. They then won the game on penalty kicks.
But in the finals, luck ran out for the German side. Led by Golden Boot winner Paolo Rossi, the Italians prevailed 3-1.
In Pop Culture
*The number one song of the year was "Let's Get Physical" by Olivia Newton John.
*The Academy Award for best picture was given to "Ghandi"
*The top rated television show of 1982 was "60 Minutes"
Elsewhere in 1982
~John Hinkley was found not guilty of attempted assassination by reason of insanity.
~Princess Diana and Prince Charles welcomed the birth of their first born son, William.
~The first issue of "USA Today" hit the newsstands.
~Cyanide-laced Tylenol killed seven people in Chicago. The murderer was never captured.
~The first artificial heart is transplanted into dentist Barney Clark. He survived for 112 days.
~The first episode of "Cheers" airs on NBC.
Coming next month: 1983.
As always, if you have any thing to add or correct in this month’s installment, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.