The Pride of Black Diamond

1956 – Around the World and Close to Home

Soviet troops crush an anti-Communist uprising in Hungary. Althea Gibson becomes the first Black American to win a Grand Slam tennis title at the French Championships. The Yankees' Don Larsen pitches the first perfect game in World Series history. Housing discrimination in the Madrona/Denny Blaine neighborhoods of Seattle eases when some residents begin to quietly sell to Black or Asian families. Albert Rosellini is elected to his first term as Washington governor. Seattle’s Pete Rademacher wins the heavyweight boxing gold medal at the Melbourne Olympic Games.

The Pride of Black Diamond

When Vic Weston was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame, it effectively cemented Black Diamond and the miners, machinists, aerospace assemblers, shipyard welders and other everyday laborers of his day into the foundation of our state’s footballing history. For if one asked Weston about his upbringing, it is rooted in Black Diamond and the company coal towns of east King County and their devotion to the game.

“It was in 1910,” Weston began telling reporter Vince O’Keefe of The Seattle Times in 1971, “an Englishman named Jack Evans sent to Seattle for some balls and got us started. In the next few years Black Diamond became the soccer capital of the Northwest. When we weren’t winning the championship, the lads down at Carbonado were.”

Weston was Black Diamond, through and through. His parents arrived there among the early wave of Welsh and Italian immigrant miners, in 1889. Vic (Victor Albert), the ninth of 11 children, was born in 1897. Footballing, whether playing with balled-up rags or cans, was very much in the Black Diamonders’ blood well before the proper equipment arrived from the city. By 1911, their first season in the Northwest League, they were champions.

Weston, at age 16, was among the first American-born players to find his way onto the field in that league. His younger brother Rufus soon joined him. During World War I, when Black Diamond fielded a very young side, the league’s power shifted from the mining towns to the Seattle shipyard teams, bolstered by an influx of top players whose day job was constructing naval and merchant vessels.

Weston moved to Seattle for work as a meter reader for Puget Sound Power & Light, but the love of the game was strong.

“I wasn’t supposed to get Sundays off, but my foreman was a kindly soul. He told me I could have the day off if I lined up the cars’ first,” Weston said to O’Keefe. “So, I’d get up at 4 a.m. line up the cars take the old No. 6 streetcar to Yesler and Occidental from there, ride the bus to Carbonado.

“The return bus from Carbonado would be gone before the game ended. Then I had to take a bus to Tacoma switch to the interurban and get off at Georgetown and hike a mile home. Twenty hours for one soccer game–but it was worth it!”

A top player, Weston’s services were always in demand. He later played for a fledgling company team of Boeing Aircraft, and he was a regular in picked teams that faced all-stars from British Columbia. When his playing days ended, Weston began officiating and coaching. He was a long-serving secretary to the state association and was elected mayor of Black Diamond.

Everyone around the game, even those on the East Coast, grew to know of Vic Weston. With that canvas of abundant good works, it came as no surprise when, in 1956, he was the first Northwest-born man inducted to the United States Soccer Hall of Fame.

ADULT AMATEUR
Northwest Champion
Portland State 0:2 Norselander Vikings
State Men's Champion
Norselander Vikings 6:3 Scotty’s Fish & Chips
State Knockout Cup
Buchan Bakers 1:0 Norselander Vikings

1956: The Pride of Black Diamond

Vic Weston's path to the National Soccer Hall of Fame illustrates the profound effect of European immigrants on establishing a soccer culture in Puget Sound.

Vikings Held But Clinch Anyway
February 5, 1956

After winning seven straight, Norselander Vikings are held to a 1-1 draw by Buchan Bakers but clinch the second half title anyway, setting up a rematch for the overall championship.

Vikings Victorious in Northwest Final
April 15, 1956

For the second time in three years Norselander Vikings return home with the Northwest championship after blanking Portland State away, 2-0. Hans Dahlberg feeds Per Saeje midway through first half for the lead. Larry Peterson doubles it on a second-half breakaway. It was also an all-Vikings final in 1954.

Sacred Heart Claims Wickman Cup
December 2, 1956

Sacred Heart wins the Wickman Cup, emblematic of the CYO Cadet Bantam League junior championship, in second replay at Lower Woodland via a tiebreaker. For the third consecutive meeting Sacred Heart, coached by Gus Zadra, and St. George’s draw after regulation, this time 2-2. Corner kicks in overtime eventually decide the matter with Sacred Heart on top, 3-1. The two sides tied 1-1 and 2-2 in the first two tries. Henry Arnoux scored twice in the second replay. after drawing the first time, 1-1. St. John’s wins Midgets championship over Briscoe, 1-0.

Sacred Heart Loses Oldershaw on Aggregate
December 16, 1956

Seattle's Sacred Heart is vanquished by Vancouver's North Shore All-Stars, 7-2, at Lower Woodland, giving the Canadian boys the Oldershaw trophy. Sacred Heart had won the rescheduled first leg, 2-0, the day before, but lose, 7-4, on aggregate. The original first leg at West Vancouver’s Ambleside Park was postponed due an icy pitch.

Bakers Take Seafair Friendly
August 4, 1956

Despite being in between seasons, the Buchan Bakers defeat the Royal Canadian Navy side, 6-1, in a Seafair exhibition match at Lower Woodland. Freddie Cieslicki and Tommy Strachen, a pair of Army corps mechanics from Larson Air Force Base in Moses Lake, star for Buchan. Over 500 Canadian officers and sailors aboard four ships arrived in port the day prior.

Vikings Prevail in Five-a-Side
April 8, 1956

In a dramatic finish to the 13th annual Five-a-Side tournament, Norselander Vikings defeats Marpole Royal of Vancouver, 2-1 in overtime, at Catholic Memorial. A record crowd watches Bob Simonsen find the winner. He also got the decisive goal when the Vikings won a year earlier. A young St. John’s side reaches the fourth round before falling to Buchan. Twenty-five nationalities are represented on the 24 tournament rosters from Washington, Oregon and British Columbia.

Buchan Edges Norselander for State Cup
March 25, 1956

Buchan Bakers win the state championship by beating Norselander Vikings, 1-0, at Catholic Memorial. Tom Economou scores 10 minutes in, and substitute keeper Don Rostron saves a first-half penalty attempt by Hans Dahlberg en route to the shutout. Economou had scored four goals in Buchan's 7-2 semifinal win over Scotty’s Fish & Chips.

All-Stars Stymied by St. Andrew's
March 18, 1956

Although loaded with attacking prowess, the State League All-Stars cannot beat Jock Copland. The St. Andrew's goalkeeper denies Andy Phillips and George Goers on seemingly sure chances and the Canadian club wins the friendly, 1-0, before one of the largest crowds of the season at Catholic Memorial.

Weston Enshrined in National Hall
July 8, 1956

Vic Weston of Seattle is named to the U. S. Soccer Football Association Hall of Fame at Pittsburgh's Penn Hotel. Weston, who starred for Black Diamond as a player before becoming long-serving secretary to the state association, becomes the state's second representative in the hall, joining Barney Kempton. He is enshrined along with Willie Anderson of New York during 40th annual AGM. Weston is unable to attend the induction, so referee committee chair Harold B. Farrow accepts on Weston’s behalf. Farrow cites Weston’s unselfish services in promoting the sport.

Vikings Pummel Bakers for League Title
February 19, 1956

Runaway second-half victors Norselander Vikings pummel first-half winner Buchan Bakers, 7-2, for overall league championship at Catholic Memorial. Viks (7-0-1) had finished 6 points clear of Scotty’s and Buchan in the second half.

Vikings Attacking Might Wins First Half
December 9, 1956

After being held to a lone Larry Petersen goal in Week 7, Norselander Vikings run rampant on the attack in their final two games of the state league's first half. The Vikings tied Buchan, 5-5, the following week and now clinch the title by smashing Norden Club, 7-2. They go 8-0-1 to finish three points clear of the Bakers. Norselander wins five trophies plus the Five-a-Side prize for 1956.

Vikings Score Six in Cup Final
March 11, 1956

After going down a goal early, Norselander Vikings respond in force to win the Puget Sound Power and Light Cup, 6-3, over Scotty’s Fish & Chips at Catholic Memorial. Larry Petersen's hat trick and Hans Dahlberg's brace bring the Vikings back. Hans Klein also scores. Andy Phillps scores twice and Doug Massey once for Scotty's.

On this Day in History