Footnotes II

Posted on September 24, 2012 12:04 am

A second group of footnotes, odd facts too small for an entire post:

—Who is Erwin Kostedde, and what does he have to do with American soccer history? He’s the other side of the coin. He is a dual American-German citizen who, unlike Thomas Dooley, Fabian Johnson and others, played for Germany. West Germany, actually. Kostedde, a forward, grew up in West Germany after being born in 1946 to a German mother and an American GI father. He could have chosen to play for either West Germany or the United States because of his dual citizenship. He chose West Germany, and played three games for it in 1974 and 1975, when he was 28. He was in the midst of a career that saw him play more than 10 years for first-division teams in Germany, Belgium and France, including three seasons each for Standard Liege in Belgium, Werder Bremen in Germany and Borussia Dortmund in Germany.

—It’s probably more accurate to refer to the “new” New York Cosmos as the “newest” New York Cosmos. Why? In addition to the star-studded team that played from 1971 to 1985, there also was a soccer team called the Cosmopolitans in New York in the 1890s.

—At the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay, the United States team came onto the field for each of its three games singing “The Stein Song,” a college drinking song that had been written at the University of Maine by student Rudy Vallee and which was one of the most popular songs in the United States in 1930 (despite Prohibition, or maybe because of it).

—Immigration has had huge effects on American soccer, but the number of players who have scored goals for the United States national team against the countries where they were born is still quite few. By my count, there are three. Hugo Perez scored for the United States against El Salvador in a World Cup qualifier in 1989, Thomas Dooley scored for the United States against Germany in a U.S. Cup game in 1993 and Frank Klopas (above) scored for the United States against Greece in a friendly in 1994.

—Chicago Sparta, an ethnic team based in that city’s Czech community, is not one of the most famous American soccer teams. It only won the U.S. Open Cup once, in 1938 (although it also tied for the title in 1940) and it never produced any nationally famous players. Still, one aspect of its record is hugely impressive. Sparta reached the eighth-finals of the U.S. Open Cup (the final 16) a total of 22 times between 1927 and 1951, including one amazing stretch of 18 years in a row. It reached the quarterfinals 17 times, the semifinals 10 times and the final three times. Sparta was not a nationally famous club, but it was a great one nevertheless.

—A sign of changing times in soccer is the fact that in a World Cup qualifier between the United States and Mexico in Mexico City in 1949, a Mexican player intentionally missed a penalty kick. With a 3-0 lead early in the second half, Mexico could afford to be generous, but still, can you imagine that happening today?

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