Rise of the Vikings

1959 – Around the World and Close to Home

The United States flag adds two more stars with Alaska and Hawaii becoming the 49th and 50th states, and barely a hundred miles off the Florida coast, Fidel Castro seizes power in Cuba and becomes a Soviet ally. In Washington, the Alaskan Way Viaduct is completed, creating a scenic elevated highway along the Seattle waterfront, the City of Lynnwood incorporates, and the Washington Huskies go 9-1 to reach the Rose Bowl for first time in 23 years.

Rise of the Vikings

At the annual banquet celebrating the best of Washington’s footballing community, Norselander Vikings are presented the sterling silver bowl symbolizing the state league championship. Association president Bob Wylie bestows Evelyn Peterson, who together with restaurateur husband Roy Peterson owned the Norselander seafood eatery and lounge near Seattle’s waterfront, with the shimmering trophy. Peterson promptly presents the victorious Vikings players with the oversize cup, then promptly pours it full of champagne for them to partake and pass around.

It’s a festive springtime affair and the partygoers linger long into the evening. As it turns out, it’s the last call for the Norselander as longtime sponsor the following autumn Loyal Realty attaches its name to the champions, who will repeat. They supplant the lengthy string of British-flavored winners such as Buchan and Scotty's, but the Sixties will be dominated by the rising side, Seattle Hungarians.

On this night, the state brightest new star would not be found in the Norselander lounge. He would have to wait a few years, because Hungarian striker Les Mueller had only turned 16 a few days before.

Mueller, a sophomore at Ballard High School, had escaped with family and some 200,000 others from Hungary in 1956, after the Soviets had violently squashed a would-be revolution. In the fall the muscular, 212-pound Mueller would star as the punishing fullback for Ballard’s gridiron team on Fridays and on Sundays parlay his speed and power into scoring goals in bunches for the Hungarians. During the second half of the season he boasts games of four, five and six goals. That was child’s play for him.

Three years earlier, he had fought alongside his elders during the Battle of Budapest. “Yes, I helped my countrymen fight,” he later told Post-Intelligencer sports editor Royal Brougham. “I was 13 years old, but most of us boys fought the Russians.

“America, it is so much better," said Mueller. “Yes, it was hard at school for awhile. I knew not one word of English when I came here. Soccer I like very much, but also football, baseball and track and field. I am a shot putter in the spring season.”

Mueller would go on to become a junior college football All-American at Pasco’s Columbia Basin College, and later made the Denver Broncos roster and played for the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League. Still, whenever the opportunity presented itself he would return to his first love, soccer, playing in the state league off and on into the mid-Seventies.

Northwest Champion
Norselander Vikings
State Men's Champion
Norselander Vikings
State Knockout Cup
Seattle Hungarians 7:2 E&E Meats

1959: Rise of the Vikings

The Scandinavians interrupt a string of state league titles for Brits but the arrival of Hungarians and their wunderkind Les Mueller signal change is coming.

Barney Kempton, Mr. Soccer, Dies
December 13, 1959

George P. "Barney" Kempton, known as Puget Sound's Mr. Soccer in his prime, dies after a long illness at age 69. Kempton was Washington's first inductee to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1950. He had starred in the state league since his arrival from Ireland (via San Francisco) in 1914. Later, he organized soccer programs in parochial schools as well as the state reformatory. After working as a streetcar motorman, Kempton spent 15 years as Civic Stadium's head groundskeeper.

Carling's Clouts All-Stars
April 19, 1959

Ian Wilson's hat trick paces Carling's of Vancouver to a 5-0 win over the Seattle All-Stars at West Seattle Stadium.

North Shore Bests St. George's
December 6, 1959

Seattle CYO champion St. George's falls to Vancouver's North Shore All-Stars, 2-1, in the annual series between the two cities' youth. North Shore had won the first leg, 5-0.

Big Numbers Put Up
January 18, 1959

Fridy Kristiansen scores 6 goals for Seattle Rendering in a 14-1 demolition of White Eagles, the Russian Community entry. Meanwhile Les Mueller gets 4 in the Hungarians’ 8-0 smashing of United Natives. Six weeks later, Mueller also tags White Eagles for six.

Vikings Recover, Edge Hungarians
March 29, 1959

Norselander Vikings get an overtime winner from Larry Peterson to lift the state championship trophy by defeating the Hungarians, 3-2, at Lower Woodland. It's the first overall title for the Scandinavians since 1950, when they were known as Acme Tyee. Ted Wittenberg's brace canceled out Karmen Koteles's two goals during regulation. Peterson was among the Vikings' injured during the second half of the campaign, when they took fourth.

Misbehavior Doubleheader
November 29, 1959

Referees have their hands full during the Sunday state league doubleheader at Lower Woodland. A penalty call prompts Scotty's Natives to walk-off the pitch with 7 minutes remaining in a tied game (1-1) with the Vikings. In the nightcap, a Husky Soccer Club player is sent off with 10 minutes left vs. Hungarians (ahead, 3-0) but refuses to leave.

Vancouver's Wallace Wins 5-a-Side
April 12, 1959

Wallace Thistles finds the odd goal to win the Five-a-Side final over fellow Vancouver entry Royal Oaks, 1-0. All four semifinalists are from British Columbia. A week earlier, Wallace had beaten state champion Norselander Vikings, 4-2, on a full field at West Seattle.

Kotoles Brace Brings Trophy to Magyars
March 22, 1959

A brace from Karmen Koteles fuels the Hungarians' 4-1 win over E&E Meats (6-2-0) and secures the Puget Sound Navigation trophy for the second half. E&E had only allowed six goals beforehand. Buchan (5-0-3) takes second.The Magyars (7-0-1/56-11 GD) will face the Vikings (5-2-1), first-half victors, in the state league final.

Roosevelt Trophy Goes to Vikings
January 4, 1959

Trouncing cellar-dweller United Natives, 7-2, Norselander Vikings (11-1-1) finishes on top of the first-half table to win the state leagues' Roosevelt Trophy. Seattle Hungarians (11-3-0) finish just one point behind. Gudolph Kjairhem gets a hat trick for the Vikings.

Mueller, Hungarians Rule in Knockout
April 26, 1959

One day shy of his 16th birthday, Les Mueller kicks five goals past E&E Meats as the Hungarians claim the Knockout Cup, 7-2. The Magyars had earlier won a preseason knockout cup, plus the league second half trophy in this, their first season. Born in Budapest, Mueller is a sophomore at Ballard High School.

Loyal Vikings Undefeated in First Half
December 20, 1959

Loyal Realty (formerly Norselander) Vikings complete the first half of the season undefeated (9-0-2), clinching the title with a 3-1 result versus Seattle Rendering. The Hungarians (8-2-0) are runners-up.

Special Awards at Association Banquet
May 1, 1959

Trophies and other awards are celebrated and distributed at the annual Washington State Soccer Football Association banquet. Norselander Vikings are presented the silver bowl for the league championship, and it is promptly filled with champagne for the players to partake. Tore Voland is is honored as the Vikings' top player and Bob Simonsen, 49, is recognized for completing his 25th season with the team.

We never met a man who didn’t like Barney. His cheerful visage was known on every soccer pitch from Vancouver to Portland. Soccer, the game of his native land, has gained a firm foothold here, largely through the efforts of a jolly little man with a red face, cherry-like nose and shock of white hair.
Vince O'Keefe, Seattle Times, on the passing of Barney Kempton
For Cosmopolitan color, nothing on the Seattle scene can match a soccer match. And to the hardy men who play in the Washington State Football Association, most of them immigrants from other nations all over the globe, the Sunday afternoon games bring a touch of home.
Roger Loschen, Seattle Times, describing multinational flavor of Lower Woodland doubleheaders
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