The Hakoah soccer team raised the blue and white colors of the Zionist flag over the field of international sport at the Polo Grounds, Sunday. This occasion was an auspicious one for the Hakoah. The first team of Jewish athletes to compete as Jews in this country beat an all-star team from the New York Football Association by 4 to 0.
Despite the threatening weather 28,000 saw the Jewish football players overwhelm a team made up from the various clubs of the New York Association, representing fifteen different nationalities. Among the spectators were representatives of all of the peoples who make up New York, for soccer is the one sport that is really international.
Lawyers, consuls and diplomats, financiers and men of industrial prominence, sportsmen and society folk attended the game.
In Mr. Nathan Straus’s box were Mrs. Straus, Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Straus, Jr., Dr. De Sola Pool, Health Commissioner Harris, Benny Leonard, and Dr. and Mrs. Henry Moskowitz. Dr. Moskowitz originated the idea of bringing the Jewish team to this country.
On the other side of the field, George Schmidt, the representative of the Austrian Minister to the United States, joined in the demonstration. His box was draped with the colors of the Austria and the United States. Further along the tier were Dr. Sylvester Gruszka, the Polish Consul, and Dr. Jarslav Novak, the Czechoslovakian Consul. Louis Lipsky, president of the Zionist Organization of America, was present.
The Hakoah team came down the steps from the Giant clubhouse first. They were led by the Hebrew Orphan Asylum band. After swinging along the south side of the field the team, carrying the joined American and Jewish flags, stopped in front of the box of Nathan Straus. Dr. Valentine Rosenfeld, vice-president of the Hakoah Club, made an address of thanks to Mr. Straus for his aid to the team. Dr. Eugene Felix then addressed Nathan Straus Jr. The latter replied. The band then played the “Star-Spangled Banner” and the “Hatikvah.”
Crossing the grass, the team next stopped in front of the Austrian box where the Austrian anthem was played. Dr. Ignatz Koerner, founder and President of the Hakoah, made a speech to Mr. Schmidt.
Benny Leonard, who has done much toward creating respect for the Jew in sport, kicked off the ball. He pointed to the sky which was rapidly clearing and then to one of the Zionist flags, “Look,” he said, “the same colors are in the sky.”
The occasion was a great reception for the Hakoah eleven, and as great a reception for the game, but a much greater gathering would have packed the stands if it hadn’t rained up to within an hour of game time. Many ticket holders did not attend, for the ticket sale was close to 30,000.
Throughout the first half the teams went scoreless, the Hakoah kickers testing their opponents’ strength and playing a safe defensive game. When the Viennese stars found that the New York players did not have the team play which they expected to face, they cut loose early in the second period and scored three goals within a space of five minutes. Their combination work at this time was clever and effective and they displayed the soccer skill for which they are noted on the Continent.
Captain Moriz Haeusler and Alex Neufeld weaved their way through the New York defense with pretty combination work and uncovered an attack which kept the play in the New York territory during the greater part of the second half. There were numerous lively scrimmages in front of the goals, swift accurate passing from foot to foot and a marvelous use of heads in deflecting the ball from one player to another.
New York’s attack was at no time closely enough organized to be effective, but the players at times broke up the swift and intricate rushes of the Hakoah offense. Erie Levin, who played right back for New York, was the most dangerous of the local players, and many times he came between Hakoah and an impending score.
When Neufeld made the first score the crowd broke into cheers and from that time until the end the ball traveled up and down the field to the accompaniment of enthusiasm. Captain Haeusler made the second score.
The cheering for this score still filled the air when Grunwald drove the ball in the third count. Just before the end of the match Schwartz passed to Wortmann, who made the final score.
New York’s sallies at the Hakoah Goal found a barrier in Fabian, who took extreme chances and played far out at times to check the approaching attack. In the first half Findlay and McChesnie shot the ball at the Hakoah goal but the shots were either high or wide. The marksmanship of New York was far off the line throughout the game and its teamwork was noticeably limited, but the individual efforts were always menacing to the attack of the visitors.
The game was cleanly contested in spite of the hard play, and the only violations were the rough bumps which unintentionally follow such heated competition. Many times when the Hakoah kickers smashed against the New York defense, the visitors were bowled over on the turf.
When the whistle blew the crowds poured into the field. They rushed down to the clubhouse and surrounded it, tossing their hats into the air and cheering.
This game is the forerunner of two interesting developments in sport. It is a step in the direction of Jewish participation, as Jews, in the Olympic meets.
Soccer devotees from other nations see as a result of this game considerable impetus to the growth of this form of football in the United States. The experts were predicting that yesterday’s contest is the first of a long series of international soccer games that will, in a few years, attract the same enormous crowds that are drawn to soccer games in Europe and in South America.
The lineup was as follows:
HAKOAH (4) NEW YORK (###)
Fabian G Bai###
Pollak R.B. Lev###
Gold L.B. H###
Eisenhoffer R.H. Murp###
Drucker C.H. Hoil###
Hess L.H. Vargin
Neufeld O.R. Findl###
Haeusler I.R. G###
Grunwald C. Re###
Wortmann I.L. McChes###
Schwarz O.L. Gle###
Goals–Neufeld, Haeusler, Grunwald, Wonmann.
Referee–Charles Creighton. Linesmen-Joseph Cunningham and James Cunningham Times of halves–45 minutes.