From Peoria and Timbuctoo, from Haifa and Halifax, and from more remote regions, namely Brooklyn and the Bronx, we have been receiving numerous requests to publish new of interest to soccer fans.
A soccer fan is something of a freak. He takes his sport more seriously than the most rabid baseball rooter and if he happens to live in the Bronx he follows his team whether it wins or loses. In this respect he is akin to a Dodger enthusiast. For years the Flatbush fans have followed the Flock despite the antics of a clown like Stengel or, as in years gone by, Babe Herman or Hack Wilson. Likewise, the football fanciers from the territory north of the Harlem have withstood the vagaries of wind and rain so common in the Bronx and have listened to argument after argument, yet they are still het up about their game.
But taken by and large, we have here in the city one of the finest collection of soccer fansâ€”not under glasâ€”but alive and kicking like a fight crowd at the Garden after one of the typical Eighth avenue decisions.
WEALTH OF GOOD MATERIAL
There is a reason for this. Some of the best soccer talent in the United States is harbored here in little old New York.
From all outward appearances these fans would rather see an amateur team play than a professional game. This may account for many of the pros turning amateur these days. The pro soccerites figure they’ll be sure of a cheer at least and as a result play a much better game, not having to worry about their five dollar salary check at the end of the week. This accounts, too, for the fact that if a professional ball club wishes to attract a really large crowd to their games they book two amateur clubs as prelims.
TWO LEAGUES IN NEW YORK
However, to get down to the real thing. There are two leagues in the city of any real importance to the Jewish soccer fan. They are the American Soccer League, which is the professional division and the German-American League, the amateur organization.
The first of these associations has eight teams playing in the metropolitan area and has a great many Jewish players in its fold. The second group contains the three most prominent amateur Jewish soccer teams. The fact that such excellent ball clubs should be in a German league has caused endless discussion during the past few months. These great teams play a brand of ball that is swift, aggressive and highly technical and certainly more spirited than a number of professional clubs we have seen.
The Hatikvohs, the Jordans, and the Hakoahs reign supreme and usually have the cream of the Jewish amateur talent playing for them. Recently the Hakoahs and the Jordans merged, combining the best characteristics of both organizations. The Hakoahs are in the premier division of the Metropolitan soccer league.
There is need for a good Jewish soccer league today. Some have started in the past but they have not proved very successful. As a result the Jewish clubs have been forced to align themselves with the best amateur group in the city, specifically, the German-American League.
A short time ago the combined Jordan-Hakoah applied for membership in the Liga Division of the G. A. L. but were denied. They then linked themselves up with the metropolitan division.
MANY HAVE PLAYED ABROAD
Many players in both leagues have received their training in this game in the sport capitals of Europe. Vienna, the city that is famous for its wine, music, and wienerschnitzel, is also the city of football champions. A great number of soccer stars in this country learned their fundamentals abroad and by the time they came to America they had mastered the finesse and technique which a really good player needs.
The majority of the players on the Hakoah-Jordan eleven were born in Europe and developed their game abroad.
Before the merger of the two great amateur Jewish clubs these representative soccer teams played heads-up ball. Last year the Hakoahs were the league leaders in the race for honors in the “A” division of the German-American League. The Jordans, a comparatively new club, nevertheless had the best young talent in these parts. Their team played one of the finest brands of football that we have ever seen in the East. This group played on the style of the former Hakoah All-Stars and as a result had a great following in the Bronx. The fans, as we mentioned before, would rather see these Jordans play than watch a pro team cavort on the field.
Max Sholom, who at one time played with the Jordans, is only one of the expert goal booters on the team. Others are the Liss boys, Max Slone, brother of the great Phil, and Max Ruback.
From the original Jordans, now on the combined Hakoah outfit, there came Jack Nagler, who played in Vienna several years ago, and who, in our estimation, is the best technician in amateur ranks. It is said of him that he “can make a soccer ball talk.” Chester Marks, former all-scholastic while in high school, is another star soccerite on this club. Sid Breitbart is one of those talented all-round men you find on every good team. He is such an adept at this sport that he can be put in any position and shine. He is twenty years old and hails from Europe where he learned the game.
Kid Liss, who played for his junior high eleven and who is a soph in high school, is following in the steps of his older brother. Abe Rothman, another youngster who has shown a great deal of promise, played for James Monroe high. He, too, learned his technique in Vienna.
MANY JEWISH STARS PROS
The New York Americans and the Brookhattan elevents are the two pro clubs with a large representation of Jewish soccer players. They have such crack players as Chesney, Gross, Slone, Atiken, Wortman, Aranauer, Glover and Kuntzner.
Stan Chesney turned down a bid by the U. S. F. A. to play in Rome. He couldn’t get the price he wanted and he was sure he could make more playing in his own backyard. Trip or no trip, he said, he had to eat.
Phil Slone, an outstanding player in every phase of the game, plays on the same combination with Siggy Wortman, who owns the most elusive pair of hips in the game.