1957 – Around the World and Close to Home
The Space Age begins when the Soviets send Sputnik into orbit. Meanwhile, humankind’s first artificial satellite circles the planet every 96 minutes while within Earth’s atmosphere three Boeing B-52s, all built in Seattle, circumnavigate the globe nonstop in just over 45 hours. Elvis Presley, the newly-crowned King of Rock and Roll, pays Washington a visit for the first time, staging three late-summer concerts in Spokane, Tacoma and Seattle, gyrating and performing hits singles such as "All Shook Up” and “Hound Dog.” Elvis pulls over 16,000 to Sicks’ Stadium, the overwhelming majority being teenage girls. Ten days earlier, a larger and much different crowd came to the ballpark to see Yakima’s Pete Rademacher, an Olympic gold medalist, fight (unsuccessfully) for the heavyweight title versus holder Floyd Patterson.
Ripple Effect of a Revolution
Soccer’s a world game and in the jet age the planet seems to always be shrinking. Just weeks after the Hungarian Uprising, refugees begin arriving on in America, many with uncanny skills shared with those of the world-renowned Magical Magyars and their initial introduction of total football. By springtime they are finding their way to fields in Seattle.
Some of the Hungarians were professionals or members of the military-sponsored clubs back home, and others were aspiring amateurs with occupations ranging from musician to electrician. They are eager to absorb American culture, attending pro hockey and college basketball games, but soccer is part of their fiber.
Franck Ebelle, 21, of Budapest is a typewriter repairman. Says Ebelle: “It felt really good to play again.”
Istvan Biro, 29, played for Budapest Lokomotiv of the second division. Biro rates local soccer as good but nothing close to the level he left, where crowds were 5,000-10,000.
Tibor Farkas, formerly of Debrecen Lokomotiv, is anxious to form a team of fellow countrymen, stating, “We hope to get in a league here next year.”
The refugees first congregate in 1957 as a state first division club under as United Milk, sponsored by Stephen Balough, the Hungarian-born president of United Milk Service.
In reality, it would be two years before a primarily Hungarian club forms. It will be worth the wait.